We're unleashing our inner book-worms by presenting you with our essential list of the modern classics you need to read before watching the movie. After all, don't you want to know where some of your favourite big-screen characters came from?
Author Patrick Ness and illustrator Siobhan Dowd collaborated to Carnegie Medal-winning effect on this richly realized slice of childhood Gothic, the emotive story of young boy Conor (brilliant newcomer Lewis MacDougall) struggling to cope with his mother's death from cancer who is visited by a story-telling monster. Add further pathos and tragedy to the tale is the fact that Dowd herself passed away from cancer before the book was published. Rogue One's Felicity Jones and Taken's Liam Neeson lead the acclaimed movie adaptation.
Ben Affleck returns to the gritty territory of author Dennis Lehane following his acclaimed 2007 directorial debut Gone Baby Gone. But whereas that was a harrowing story of abduction, this is a sprawling gangster epic about the cost of success, spanning Lehane's familiar Boston streets and also the sultry climes of Florida, with the all-star cast including Affleck himself, Sienna Miller, Zoe Saldana, Elle Fanning, Chris Cooper and Brendan Gleeson.
Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman are currently hoovering up awards buzz for their powerful roles in this adoption drama. It is in fact based on Indian-born, Australia-raised author Saroo Brierley's autobiographical book 'A Long Way Home', detailing his journey to track down his birth mother. It's a powerful story, vividly recounted, and by most critical accounts the film has done the book justice. Even so, there might (just) be time to squeeze in a read before the film arrives on 20th January.
Mark Renton and the gang are back on 27th January so get amped for their return by diving into Glasgow's underworld in Irvine Welsh's novel Porno. The book has provided inspiration for Danny Boyle's Trainspotting sequel and there's no better way to steel yourselves that by getting re-acquainted with the author's characteristically gritty prose.
Presenting readers with a bold, unflinching depiction of the realities of the Iraq War, Ben Fountain's gripping novel is profoundly humane and deserves to be treasured prior to the unveiling of Ang Lee's movie version released on 10th February. Mind you, who better than the Oscar-winning director of Life of Pi to do the story justice? There's an all-star cast involved including Kristen Stewart, Vin Diesel and Garrett Hedlund.
The first instalment of E.L. James' barnstorming erotic sensation, Fifty Shades of Grey, was one of the bestselling literary sensations of all time. So if you can't wait to get tied up in this February's movie sequel Fifty Shades Darker, get ahead of the game and pick up with the kinky love story between millionaire Christian Grey and winsome Anastasia Steele.
Reputedly Hugh Jackman's third and final solo Wolverine movie, this gritty actioner finds our hero at his lowest ebb, eking out a living in the desert whilst caring for an ageing Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) during a time when most mutants have seemingly been obliterated. If you want to brush up prior to the release of the movie on 3rd March, be sure to read the graphic novel Old Man Logan by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven.
This lavish, live-action reworking of the Disney animated classic doesn't just honour the spirit of its predecessor. Beauty and the Beast is in fact one of the most celebrated tales in all of literature, La Belle et la Bete, written in the 17th century by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve. Over the years, the essence of the story has been redefined and honed but any version of this timeless masterpiece is well worth tracking down prior to the movie coming out on 17th March.
Ghost in the Shell
This might be a bit of a challenge as the upcoming Scarlett Johansson extravaganza isn't so much based on one book as an entire manga franchise. Nevertheless there's an awful lot to get stuck into (including the celebrated 1995 movie adaptation) so treat yourselves and delve into what is held as the high watermark of the genre. Masamune Shirow's futuristic franchise explores the adventures of The Major and we're hoping the film bottles the eye-popping essence of its source material. The film is released on 31st March.
My Cousin Rachel
Cornish author Daphne Du Maurier has provided rich fodder for filmmakers over the years, most famously Alfred Hitchcock who transformed her stories Rebecca and The Birds into all-time classics. The author's broiling, richly Gothic story of romance and family secrets, My Cousin Rachel, comes to the screen this June starring Rachel Weisz and Sam Claflin, so get stuck into one of the master's finest works before you see it.
The Dark Tower
Buzz is steadily building for this adaptation of Stephen King's apocalyptic fantasy, not least because it features the heavyweight pairing of Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey in the roles of The Gunslinger and the villainous Man in Black, respectively. The film isn't out until July, so there's plenty of time to get stuck into King's sprawling series, one that has, to date, encompassed eight books and has been described by none other than the author himself as his 'magnum opus'.
Got a fear of clowns? Then steer clear of the new Stephen King adaptation in which Bill Skarsgard brings to life the dreaded Pennywise, one of King's most demonic and terrifying creations. If you're brave enough to delve into King's doorstep tome then be sure to do so before watching the movie – it's rich in character and scares. IT is due for release in September.
Murder on the Orient Express
The Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie, has been adapted for the screen more than most authors. But that's because her stories continue to resonate, both rollickingly exciting and fiendishly clever in their execution. With Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot's most famous case rolling back onto the big screen this December courtesy of director Kenneth Branagh, there's never been a better time to get stuck into the wonderful world of Christie.
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