Read It Before You Watch It: Fall Films Based on Books

From classics to contemporary fiction, books are the basis for a bumper crop of films this fall. Read the original stories before you see the films and see how the two compare. Or shake up your book club routine by pairing a novel and a film to inspire spirited discussion. Here are just a few of this fall’s film releases adapted from books.

Book cover for Cloud Atlas by David MitchellCloud Atlas” (2004) by David Mitchell
This bestselling novel recounts the connected stories of people from the past and the distant future, from a nineteenth-century notary and an investigative journalist in the 1970s to a young man who searches for meaning in a post-apocalyptic world. To say that making a film based on this book would be challenging is an enormous understatement, but if anyone can do it, the Wachowski siblings can. Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and Susan Sarandon all lend their significant star power to this adaptation.

Book cover for Lay the Favorite by Beth RaymerLay the Favorite: A Memoir of Gambling” (2010) by Beth Raymer
Described by its publisher as an “eye-popping and hilarious joyride through the underworld of sports betting,” the film version stars Bruce Willis, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Vince Vaughn.

Book cover for Life of Pi by Yan MartelLife of Pi” (2001) by Yann Martel
I’m not sure how you manage to film a tiger and an injured zebra in a lifeboat adrift at sea, so I’ll certainly be buying tickets for this adaptation of Martel’s novel, winner of the 2003 Man Booker Prize for fiction. Directed by Ang Lee, the film stars newcomer Suraj Sharma, Irrfhan Khan (“The Amazing Spider-Man,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” “The Namesake”) and Tobey Maguire.

Book cover for Wuthering Heights by Emily BronteWuthering Heights” (1847) by Emily Brontë
Yes, it has been done before, but some folks just can’t have too much Brontë. The classic 1939 film starring Laurence Olivier might be the most well-known adaptation, but reviews of this British film indicate director Andrea Arnold’s version not only does the book justice but also makes the story feel somehow new.

Other movies based on books that are due out this fall include “Jack Reacher” (adapted from Lee Child’s “One Shot“) starring Tom Cruise, “The Great Gatsby” starring Leonardo DiCaprio and “The Hobbit” directed by Peter Jackson. What book adaptations are you looking forward to (or dreading, as the case may be)?

About Lauren

Mama, book maven, geek. Now reading "Swimming Home" by Deborah Levy.
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One Response to Read It Before You Watch It: Fall Films Based on Books

  1. Dana says:

    Cannot wait for The Hobbit!!!