Exciting news for book and film lovers: there are some great adaptations coming in 2018.
If, like me, you can’t read the book once you’ve seen the movie, get onto these now!
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie.
An exception, I’m seeing the film on Tuesday but would still happily go back and read the book, as Christie is my escapist happy place. The new film stars Kenneth Branagh, Penelope Cruz and Judi Dench and looks wonderful. All aboard!
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan.
The Adelaide Book Club read this for our trip to Hong Kong this year – a fun read that has been described as Dynasty on steroids. One of those books that I did not love but think it will be better as a film. Good news – the film, starring Constance Wu, will be out in August 2018.
Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman
The movie, directed by Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love, A Bigger Splash) is out in the UK and already generating Oscar buzz. This is a coming-of-age story as Elio (17) falls for his family’s house-guest Oliver. The book has the feel of a Guadagnino film, full of atmosphere – languid Italian summer days – and all the intricacies and faltering steps of first love, with the added complication of being gay. It dragged in parts, but it evokes being young and self-absorbed, and the feel of a long summer, pierced with moments of intensity.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Reese Witherspoon is adapting this for television and I think it’s another one that I’ll enjoy more on screen than I did on the page. There is a lot of heart and soul in the book and a good portrayal of privileged and troubled teens, whitebread parents, and the town of Shaker Heights (suburbia on steroids). Mystery surrounds Mia and an adoption dispute troubles them all. It felt contrived at times, Mia too saintly, Mrs Richardson too brittle and the ending corny, but definitely one to watch.
In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
Another Reese Witherspoon adaptation. I could not put this down – a smart thriller for our time with diverse characters. The clever structure worked well. I thought the hens night a little twee at first, but so did Nora and Nina. Interesting point about how the past can define us. A good easy read, I’m looking forward to The Woman in Cabin 10 and The Lying Game next (both also being adapted for the screen).
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
One of my top books for 2017. I loved this. Wonderfully assured with a great premise – terrorists in Latin American country try to kidnap the President at a party, but he’s stayed home to watch his soap opera. The guests are held hostage. Beautiful, strong writing with music & a sense of humour running through. It strikes the perfect tone. I loved the sensibilities of the characters (Japanese, French, Russian), very funny but still sympathetic. I can’t wait for the movie with Julianne Moore and Ken Watanabe.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Chaffer and Annie Barrows
I enjoyed this book as a cosy read, with an interesting history of the occupation during World War II and island setting. We spent some time in Guernsey last year so I’ll be fascinated to see the movie set there.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
I did not love this book but might have to revisit. Maria Semple is very funny and her observations are spot-on (see for example the first sentence of her recent book Today Will Be Different). The upcoming movie of Where’d You Go Bernadette stars Cate Blanchett and Kristen Wiig so that’s enough for me!
For Younger Readers
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
This is a children’s classic, which I was lucky enough to be given when I was young and very much enjoyed, although I don’t usually like fantasy or science fiction. The film starring Oprah Winfrey (looking incredible) and Reese Witherspoon comes out in March 2018.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
I read this in one sitting. Spirited 16-year-old Starr has to face an adult world of racial violence and unrest, trying to find their identity amidst gang warfare and the ignorance of her ‘white people school’ peers. An important and enjoyable read. Angie Thomas is a former rapper with a poetic voice & wonderful ear for dialogue, & accepts flaws in her characters while letting the truth shine through. Filming has begun on the movie starring Amandla Stenberg.
What book would you like to see made into a movie? I read Sea of Poppies this year and thought it would make a great, colourful film, although it’s perhaps too unwieldy. Another one I’d love to see on screen would be Mothering Sunday (the rights have been optioned by Film 4, so fingers crossed). Closer to home, I think The Dry would be gripping on screen and cinematic with its rural Australian setting.
It looks like there will be a few fun cinema outings next year!