By Claire Downs
Summer is here and it’s the perfect time to go outdoors and snap a spine – a book spine that is! But why waste your time attempting to cram too-heady classics or overly fluffy beach-reads, when you can read a book coming to theaters later this year? Hollywood is always on the lookout for great stories to adapt to films, and these books are no exception. And besides, if you read a book before the movie comes out, you can be the one loudly bragging to your friends outside the theater “The film was good, but the book was WAY more nuanced.”
So just like the end of the school year, here is your summer reading list for these upcoming films!
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Published in 1994, this bestselling romantic novel centers around a young English woman named Louisa, who is hired as the caretaker for an affluent and recently paralyzed man in London. The Sunday New York Times Book Review applauded the book, saying “When I finished this novel, I didn’t want to review it; I wanted to reread it.” Grab your tissues, because it’s a real tear-jerker!
Who’s in the movie: Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin (from The Hunger Games and The Huntsman)
Film Release Date: It’s already in theaters! It came out June 3rd – so hit the stacks!
Max Perkins: Editor of Genius by A. Scott Berg
This summer, literary biopic, Genius arrives in theaters with an all-star cast. The book, 1978 National Book-Winner, is an in-depth tribute to Max Perkins, an editor who surrounded himself with literary greats like Fitzgerald and Hemingway, and was deeply entrenched in their personal lives.
Who’s in the movie: Colin Firth plays Max Perkins, Dominic West plays Ernest Hemingway, and Guy Pearce plays F. Scott Fitzgerald alongside Jude Law and Nicole Kidman.
Film Release Date: June 10
The BFG by Roald Dahl
If you were too busy reading Roald Dahl’s other classics like Charlie and The Chocolate Factory or Matilda it’s possible you may have missed The BFG. The story centers around a little girl that befriends a BFG (Big Friendly Giant). Emphasis on friendly being the middle word, okay? Though it’s a kid’s book, it’s only 240 pages and it’s incredibly touching.
Who’s in the movie: Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies) plays the BFG, with Bill Hader and Rebecca Hall in supporting roles. Steven Spielberg directs.
Film Release Date: July 1
Into the Forest by Jean Hegland
Set in the near-future, Into the Forest centers around two teenage sisters struggle to survive in Northern California on the brink of the Apocalypse. It’s a coming-of-age story with strong feminist undertones and it also features women portraying end-of-the-world survivors, something that isn’t seen enough in literature.
Who’s in the movie: Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood star.
Film Release Date: July 22
The Light Between The Oceans by M.L. Stedman
In the aftermath of World War I, a lighthouse keeper and his wife find a baby and a dead body near their home off the coast of Australia. The book, which was a New York Times Bestseller and won the Goodreads Choice Award is getting the Dreamworks treatment in September.
Who’s in the movie: Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander Rachel Weisz
Film Release Date: September 2
The Queen of Katwe by Tim Crothers
The Queen of Katwe tells the inspirational and true story of Phiona Mutesi, a teenage chess prodigy from the slums of Uganda and her path to become a chess champion. In 2012, Dave Eggers selected the book as part of his “Best American Nonrequired Reading.” The movie and book are sure to be of the “feel-good” variety, and you should definitely put the film on Oscar-watch for heart-wrenching performances.
Who’s in the movie: David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong’o
Film Release Date: September 23
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
You’ve undoubtedly seen every girl on the train reading The Girl On the Train. The suspense novel that took 2015 by storm details the gripping story of a woman who believes she knows details about a local crime. After selling millions of copies of the book last year, receiving over 44K Amazon reviews, and making every Bestseller list, this film is bound to be a big one.
Who’s in the movie: Emily Blunt stars alongside Justin Theroux, with performances by Allison Janney, Lisa Kudrow and Laura Prepon in supporting roles.
Film Release Date: October 7
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Set in present-day England, A Monster Calls is a fantasy novel about a boy who copes with his mother’s terminal illness by creating a fantasy world with a monster who tells him stories. Though the book caters to children, much like The BFG, the themes are very adult; New York Times critic, Jessica Bruder wrote, “this is one profoundly sad story.” The book’s illustrations won multiple awards, and definitely inspired the film’s dark and Gorey-esque imagery.
Who’s in the movie: Felicity Jones plays the boy’s mother, with Liam Neeson playing the monster and Sigourney Weaver costarring.
Film Release Date: October 21
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling
Franchise alert! Fantastic Beasts, J.K. Rowling’s newest book (and now movie), will be the first of three coming out in succession, so it’s best to get in on the ground floor. The book is simultaneously a spin-off and prequel to the Harry Potter series – it’s a textbook Harry and his fellow Hogwarts students read in Sorcerer’s Stone.
Who’s in the movie: Eddie Redmayne stars, with performances by Colin Farrell, Jon Voight, and whole cast of young actors making breakout performances.
Film Release Date: November 18
Silence by Shūsaku Endō
Set in 17th Century Japan, the book follows two Jesuit priests who attempt to bring Catholicism to Japan, and face persecution. Endo’s 1967 caused controversy at the time of its release, due to its dealings with racism and religious discrimination. Regardless, Silence won the 1996 Tanizaki prize and has been named “one of the twentieth century’s finest novels.” Since 1991, director Martin Scorsese has been trying to adapt the film, calling it his “passion project.” The novel’s grim and intense tones are sure to be perfect for a gruesome Scorsese flick.
Who’s in the movie: Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson, and Tadanobu Asano
Film Release Date: Slated for this November, but no formal date has been set.
A trailer for Silence has yet to be released.