From Book Shelf to Big Screen: My Summer Book List


It’s June already and you know what that means. 90 degrees is considered a cool day and there’s never enough sweet tea and/or lemonade to quench your thirst. Ah, yes summer is here at last. Aside from gulping down the above beverages, there are two ways I know how to survive the endless heat these next three months: go to the movies and read good books. I’m still waiting for MOONRISE KINGDOM to get a wide release (Come on Wes, don’t forget the small town cinephiles!), so it looks like I have to go with my second favorite summer hobby.

You could say that every movie was once a book and a quick look at IMDB or CinemaBlend.com will have believing it’s an absolute fact. So I thought it would be fitting to read a selection of the latest book-to-film adaptations set to hit theaters in the coming months. Anything…A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G to avoid the 50 Shades of Grey bandwagon. Is it just me or is this trilogy turning women across the globe into cats in heat? Maybe it’s just me. I’m also going to give “The Hunger Games” trilogy a spin (I only read the first one), but that movie already came out, so here’s my official “Book Shelf to Big Screen Summer 2012 Reading List”.  Any others you’d add?

Oldies but Goodies

I’ve read all three of these novels before in high school/college, but they’re absolutely worthy of a second and third read.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Hits the big screen: December 25th

The book jacket says:  “The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan has been acclaimed by generations of readers.”

IMDB says: Stars Leo DiCaprio as Gatsby, Carey Mulligan as Daisy and Tobey Maguire as Nick and directed by Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge, Romeo + Juliet)

Book or Movie? I barely made it through this back in high school English, so I’m going to take a leap and say that I think this could be a promising adaptation. I vaguely remember the Redford version and I’m not a fan of 3D, but it’s Leo and Baz so it’s going to bound to be a fun time.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Hits the big screen: November 21st

The book jacket says:  “When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes. The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger.”

IMDB says: Directed by Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, Hulk) and stars Tobey Maguire as Yann Martel and newcomer Suraj Sharma as Pi.

Book or Movie? This is a tough one. On one hand, I love love LOVE this book. It’s a bit rough in the beginning but there’s something magical that lures you in to press on further. The second half and final twist still give me chills. I can’t wait to read it again. Might have to chalk this up to a tie if the usually poetic director Ang Lee brings his A game. Still weary of this 3D talk but at least he cast an unknown that resembles the lead character in my mind. I don’t think I could take another Hollywood whitewashing (I’m looking at you, Avatar: The Last Airbender).

Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Hits the big screen: September 14th

The book jacket says:  “Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor. This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion marks the stunning debut of a provocative new voice in contemporary fiction.”

IMDB says: The author Stephen Chbosky is the screenwriter and director. Stars Emma Watson, Ezra Miller (We Need To Talk About Kevin)

Book or Movie? Man, another tough choice. “Classic” may be a strong word but this book definitely spoke to a generation of young people. I can barely remember the plot but I do know that I was truly sad when I reached that final page. Can’t wait to reread it this summer. I haven’t been following the word on the street from Hollywood except that Emma Watson is starring in it. Many of my favorite young adult books have not fared well on the big screen. I’m still so upset with the half-hearted Lovely Bones, but on the other hand this could be as wonderfully faithful as Running with Scissors. Here’s hoping that Perks gets the treatment of the latter since the author of the book wrote the script/is directing the film.

The Wild Cards 

I won’t judge these three books by their covers since I haven’t read them, I promise.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Hits the big screen: Part 1 on December 14th, 2012 (Part 2 on December 13th, 2013)

The book jacket says: ” J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic prelude to his Lord of the Rings trilogy. Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who’s contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure. Bilbo reluctantly joins their quest, unaware that on his journey to the Lonely Mountain he will encounter both a magic ring and a frightening creature known as Gollum.”

 IMDB says: Directed by Peter Jackson and stars the usual LOTR crew (Sir Ian McKellen, Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett and Andy Serkis)

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

Hits the big screen: TBD but it just played at Cannes Film Festival

The book jacket says:  “First published in 1957, this novel epitomized to the world the Beat philosophy. It chronicles a spontaneous and wandering life style founded both on jazz and drug-induced visions.”

IMDB says: The film stars Kristen Stewart of Twilight, Kirsten Dunst and Viggo Mortenson and is being directed by Walter Salles (Brazilian filmmaker being The Motorcylce Diaries)

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Hits the big screen: TBD in 2012

The book jacket says:  “In his captivating third novel, David Mitchell erases the boundaries of language, genre and time to offer a meditation on humanity’ s dangerous will to power, and where it may lead us.”

IMDB says: Co-written/directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski (of The Matrix and V for Vendetta) and stars prime Hollywood players (Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon and Tom Hanks)

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