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13 Books You Need to Read Before They Hit the Big Screen

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, J.K. Rowling

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

This year is huge for book adaptations, with several critically-applauded stories being released onto the big screen. From longtime favorites like The Jungle Book to medical mysteries and war memoirs, 2016 is giving us the perfect excuse to visit our favorite book stores.  While the book is (almost) always better than the movie, here’s to hoping these adaptations come close to their literary counterparts. The following 13 films have the best source material Hollywood could hope for: 

How to Be Single
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

How to Be Single by Liz Tuccillo

Goodreads Rating: 3.3/5
Amazon Rating: 3.7/5

Release Date: February 11, 2016

If you’re looking for a light, quick read, How to Be Single is it. The book centers on Manhattanite Julie as she travels around the world studying female dating habits. It looks like the movie will be more NYC-based, focusing on Julie (Dakota Johnson) and her single friends, which are played by Rebel Wilson, Alison Brie and Leslie Mann. 

The Taliban Shuffle, tina fey,Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

The Taliban Shuffle by Kim Barker

Goodreads Rating: 3.4/5
Amazon Rating: 3.9/5

Release Date: March 4, 2016

Kim Barker’s memoir is about her time as an American journalist, shuffling between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Arriving with very little knowledge of the land or people, Barker found herself falling in love with the countries despite their instabilities. The adaptation, which stars Tina Fey, is called Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. The film seems to fall more heavily on the comedy present in the book and brings in a love story between the character of Kim and a fellow journalist (Martin Freeman). It will also star Margot Robbie and Billy Bob Thornton. 

the jungle book movie
Photo Credit: Walt Disney Studios

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

Goodreads Rating: 3.9/5
Amazon Rating: 4.4/5

Release Date: April 15, 2016

If you haven’t read this classic story from Rudyard Kipling yet, Jon Favreau’s upcoming film adaptation is the perfect excuse to do so. Just in case you aren’t familiar with The Jungle Book, it follows the adventures of Mowgli, an orphan who is raised by wolves in the jungle and is taught the ways of the world by a bear, tiger, panther and snake.

Not only is the story itself iconic, the movie is full of famous names like Scarlett Johansson, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Bill Murray and Christopher Walken. Plus, we can’t wait to see how newcomer Neel Sethi does as Mowgli. 

the bfg
Photo Credit: Walt Disney Studios

The BFG by Roald Dahl

Goodreads Rating: 4.2/5
Amazon Rating: 4.7/5

Release Date: July 1, 2016

Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The BFG combines live action with CGI and we can’t wait to see it. The film tells the story of a little girl who becomes close friends with a friendly giant after he takes her from her home in the middle of the night. Unlike the rest of the giant clan, the outcast BFG is very friendly and just doesn’t have it in him to crunch kids. The story is sweet, whimsical and perfect for the big screen. 

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, J.K. Rowling
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling

Goodreads Rating: 3.9/5
Amazon Rating: 4.4/5

Release Date: November 18, 2016

Written under the pseudonym of the fictitious author Newt Scamander, Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a textbook from the Harry Potter universe that gives a much deeper look at the wizarding world. It also features annotations written by Harry and Ron, detailing their own experiences with many of the creatures mentioned. Inspired by the book, the movie (which marks Rowling’s first screenplay) revolves around Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) as he arrives at the Magical Congress of the United States of America to meet with an official. Somehow his magic briefcase containing dangerous creatures is then compromised. Thanks to its association with the Harry Potter books/films, this one is bound to do well at the box office.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,Ransom R
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Goodreads Rating: 3.8/5
Amazon Rating: 4.3/5

Release Date: December 25, 2016

The cover of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children alone makes it obvious that director Tim Burton is a fantastic aesthetic choice for this adaptation. After losing his family in an awful tragedy, teenage Jacob (Asa Butterfield) follows a series of clues that lead him to an abandoned island orphanage full of kids who can do strange (and dangerous) things. Also on this island are horrible creatures dedicated to destroying the children and Jacob takes it upon himself to keep them safe. The film also stars Eva Green, Samuel L. Jackson, Allison Janney, Judi Dench and Chris O’Dowd.

Sh?saku Endô, Silence,Martin Scorsese,adam driver
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

Silence by Shûsaku Endô

Goodreads Rating: 4.09/5
Amazon Rating: 4.6/5

Release Date: TBA, 2016

Martin Scorsese has been working on his adaptation of Shûsaku Endô’s Silence for quite a while now, but it seems like 2016 will be the year that it’s finally released. Considered by many to be a masterpiece, the historical fiction story takes place in 17th century Japan when Catholicism has been banned and all outside influence is being rejected. During this time, two Jesuit missionaries (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) arrive and endure persecution as they try to promote Christianity and find their mentor (Liam Neeson).

The Circle by Dave Eggers
Photo Credit: Vintage Books

The Circle by Dave Eggers

Goodreads Rating: 3.4/5
Amazon Rating: 3.5/5

Release Date: TBD, 2016

This science fiction novel focuses on techie Mae Holland after she joins the world’s most powerful Internet company: The Circle. Everything seems great until Mae begins to realize that as her position gets more public, the company begins to feel more constrictive and dangerous. Though an actual date hasn’t been announced, the adaptation will star Emma Watson in the lead, Tom Hanks, John Boyega and Karen Gillan. 

The Queen of Katwe
Photo Credit: Scribner

The Queen of Katwe by Tim Crothers

Goodreads Rating: 3.7/5
Amazon Rating: 4.4/5

Release Date: TBD, 2016

The Queen of Katwe tells the true story of Phiona Mutesi, a young Ugandan chess prodigy who overcomes all odds to compete at the World Chess Olympiads, and continues on to become a Woman Candidate Master. Called an endearing and heartbreaking portrait of humanity, the critically-acclaimed biography is bound to be a great film, especially since Lupita Nyong'o and David Oyelowo star. 

Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan
Photo Credit: Simon & Schuster

Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan

Goodreads Rating: 3.9/5
Amazon Rating: 4.5/5

Release Date: TBD, 2016

A New York Times bestseller, Brain on Fire is an autobiography that is part medical mystery and part drama. Susannah Cahalan wakes up one morning in a hospital room, under guard, strapped down and unable to speak. She has no memory of being in the hospital for an entire month, a time during which she showed psychosis and acted violently unstable. The rest of the memoir details the rapid advancement of her illness, the countless tests with no answers and the doctors who were finally able to save her life by diagnosing her with a newly-discovered autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack the brain. It is now thought that this disease is what people in the past may have seen as demonic possession.

The film adaptation stars Chloë Grace Moretz in the lead, Jenny Slate, Tyler Perry and Carrie-Anne Moss. 

The Lost City of Z by David Grann
Photo Credit: Vintage Books

The Lost City of Z by David Grann

Goodreads Rating: 3.8/5
Amazon Rating: 4.2/5

Release Date: TBD, 2016

Based on a true story, The Lost City of Z takes place in 1925 when British explorer Percy Fawcett adventured into the Amazon to find a lost civilization, and was never seen again. Fawcett was apparently the real deal—he inspired Conan Doyle's The Lost World—and when he disappeared with his crew, it become a worldwide mystery. To piece his work of nonfiction together, David Grann combined historical stories of Fawcett’s experience with his own journey into the jungle.

Optioned by Paramount Pictures and Brad Pitt’s production company Plan B, The Lost City of Z film stars Charlie Hunnam, Sienna Miller and Robert Pattinson. 

The Light Between Oceans, Alicia Vikander
Photo Credit: Walt Disney Studios

The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

Goodreads Rating: 3.9/5
Amazon Rating: 4.4/5

Release Date: TBD, 2016

Set in Australia, The Light Between Oceans is about a married couple who live on an isolated island as keepers of a lighthouse. Unable to have their own child, they find a dead man and a living baby in a boat that washes ashore. After much thought, they decide to claim the little girl as their own instead of alerting the authorities. Two years later, when they return to the mainland, they quickly discover that their choice to keep the child and not report their discovery has had an awful impact on someone else.

Directed by Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine), the film adaptation is bound to be beautiful and stars Alicia Vikander, Michael Fassbender and Rachel Weisz. 

American Pastoral by Philip Roth
Photo Credit: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

American Pastoral by Philip Roth

Goodreads Rating: 3.9/5
Amazon Rating: 3.8/5

Release Date: TBD, 2016

American Pastoral by Philip Roth is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about a post-war America in the 1960s. Life has always gone well for Swede Levov until his daughter grows from being his little girl to becoming someone capable of savage political activism. Though the adaptation has been through countless changes since plans first began in 2003, it will now be Ewan McGregor’s directorial debut. McGregor also stars in it as Swede and is joined by Jennifer Connelly and Dakota Fanning. 

Mila Pantovich

Mila Pantovich lives in San Diego, CA with her cat and two rats. She graduated from California State San Marcos with a degree in Literature and Writing and a minor in Film Studies. She has written for several publications, including San Diego City News and North Park News, and in her spare time writes film reviews for various online publications. A self-prescribed film/book obsessive, she's curren...(Read More)

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