Whether you’re a book lover or film buff, there’s nothing better than getting stuck into a gripping thriller or cheesy romance, be it in hardback or movie form. And with a glut of bestselling novels waiting patiently for their glamorous Hollywood makeovers, it’s time to get stuck in to the original stories before they make their big screen debuts.
We’ve put a couple in here that are in the cinemas now, but the original books are so good, we think you should read them first. From chilling psychological thrillers to steamy, raunchy erotica, these are the books you have to read before you see them on screen in all their Hollywood glory.
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, £3.99 | Amazon
In an attempt to deal with bullying and his mother’s terminal illness, a young boy invents a fantasy world filled with monsters and other mystical creatures. Visceral, dark, sad and beautiful, with an endearing sense of hope. A beautifully structured, layered novel about the internal monsters that will touch most of us at some point during our lives. The film will star Felicity Jones as the mum alongside co-stars Liam Neeson and Sigourney Weaver.
The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman, £13.64 | Amazon
A New York Times bestseller,
The Zookeeper's Wife tells the rather strange story of the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo, Antonina and Jan Zabinski, who helped save hundreds of people and animals during the WWII Nazi invasion. The film adaptation will star Jessica Chastain, Daniel Brühl, Johan Heldenbergh.
American Pastoral by Philip Roth, £9.99 | Waterstones
Ewan McGregor made his big directorial debut this year, with an adaptation of Philip Roth’s Pulitzer prize-winning novel about a prosperous New Jersey glove manufacturer who watches his seemingly perfect middle class life fall apart as his daughter's new radical political affiliation threatens to destroy their family. The film, as you know, is already out, but if you haven’t watched it yet, we recommend reading the original book first.
50 Shades Darker by E.L. James, £6.49 | Waterstones
Whether you’re a
Fifty Shades fan or not, you can’t deny the hype surrounding E.L. James’ best-selling book series, particularly when the film is full of smouldering glances from the gorgeous Jamie Dornan. The second instalment from the erotica collection is due to be released in cinemas early next year – and if you watched/read the first one, you’ll know it ends on a bit of cliff hanger. If you want to see what all the fuss is about, be sure to read the book before the film. You’ll be guaranteed a few giggles if nothing else.
IT by Stephen King, £8.99 | Waterstones
If you weren’t frightened by Stephen King’s terrifying clown horror the first time, then you’ll get the chance to experience it all over again, as another disturbing adaptation of this classic novel is in the pipeline. Tim Curry played the original Pennywise, and there are rumours he’ll star in the sequel, but if you want first-hand horror that will chill you to the bone, then read it in book form. Just beware; you’ll never look at a clown in the same way ever again.
Live by Night by Dennis Lehane, £7.99 | Waterstones
Author of the illustrious novels
Shutter Island and The Given Day Dennis Lehane takes readers on another gripping journey in this powerful, moving tale set in Prohibition Era America. It’s centred around Joe Coughlin – a nineteen-year-old small-time thief in 1920s Boston – who quickly rises through the ranks to become one of the nations most feared and respected gangsters. A journey plagued by violence, double-crossing, drama and pain. Ben Affleck, Elle Fanning and Zoe Saldana will star in the film remake.
Murder On The Orient Express by Agatha Christie, £5.63 | Amazon
Tipped to be one of the biggest Agatha Christie adaptations to date, Kenneth Branagh’s
Murder on the Orient Express has an all-star cast line up, including the likes of Johnny Depp, Judi Dench, Michelle Pfeiffer and Daisy Ridley. Christie’s 1934 mystery novel follows detective Hercule Poirot as he attempts to solve a cryptic murder on board the famous Orient Express. The film won’t be released until next year, so if you want to the experience the story in its original glory, get yourself a copy for the Christmas break.
The Snowman by Jo Nesbo, £7.99 | Waterstones
Jo Nesbo’s best-selling thriller tells the tale of a young boy who wakes to find his mother missing. The house is empty, but outside he spots his mother’s favourite scarf wrapped around the neck of a snowman. When a second woman disappears, suspicions arise and detective Harry Hole is faced with tracking a serial killer for the first time in his career. The dreamy Michael Fassbender will star in the remake of this chilling Nordic noir.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, £6.29 | Amazon
Sylvia Plath’s iconic novel is set to be given a Hollywood makeover, with Kirsten Dunst at the helm making her directorial debut. Dakota Fanning has been cast as Plath’s semi-autobiographical character, Esther Greenwood, a young woman who wins an internship at a New York magazine in the 1950s. Drawing heavily on her own experiences, Plath painfully expresses the difficulties Esther faces living in the city as she struggles with mental health issues. A tormented story of obsession, depression and wavering sanity, Esther embarks on a journey of self-discovery in an attempt to uncover her true identity.
Tony And Susan/ Nocturnal Animals by Austin Wright, £8.99 | Waterstones
Fashion guru-turned-film-director Tom Ford is the brains behind the
Nocturnal Animals adaptation of this utterly absorbing mystery thriller, and whilst the movie will make you squirm with tension, the original story on which it’s based – Austin Wright’s 1993 novel, Tony and Susan – will equally have you hooked. A story within a story about a woman, Susan Morrow, who left her husband, Edward Sheffield – an unpublished writer. Now, she’s enduring middle class suburbia as a doctor’s wife. Bored and uninspired, she receives the manuscript of her ex-husband’s first novel. As she reads, Susan is drawn into a fictional life, which forces her to confront the overwhelming darkness in reality that painfully plagues her. Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams star in the Hollywood remake.
The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin, £11.31 | Amazon
Kate Winslet and Idris Elba are set to star in the remake of this romantic best-selling drama that tells the tale of a surgeon and woman who fall in love after being stranded on a mountain following a plane crash. Having to face the mountain’s treacherous wilderness, the pair must work out how to escape, but with broken bones and plummeting temperatures, the hope of survival becomes increasingly perilous.
Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach, £8.99 | Waterstones
From the bestselling author of
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, this thrilling story set in seventeenth-century Amsterdam, is a tale of romance, lust, power and deception, with an artist at the core of the narrative, who unwittingly falls for a young married woman while he’s commissioned to paint her, in a city in the grip of tulip mania. Soon to be a major film starring Oscar winners Alicia Vikander, Christoph Waltz and Dame Judi Dench.
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