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9 must-read books that are being adapted into movies this year #WorldBookDay


To celebrate #WorldBookDay, we’ve put together a list of books you need to read before their movie adaptations are released. How many of these literary classics have you already devoured?

1. Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews

Movie release date 1st March

A darkly violent and seductive story of Soviet espionage gets a ripe translation courtesy of Hunger Games filmmaker Francis Lawrence. Author and former CIA operative Matthews' enigmatic spy Dominika Egorova is the perfect fit for star Jennifer Lawrence's sultry screen persona, as she takes the audience on a journey of transformation, from naive ballerina to deadly state-sponsored weapon.

Co-starring Joel Edgerton, Charlotte Rampling, Matthias Schoenaerts and Jeremy Irons, Red Sparrow is set to be a compelling adaptation of an already gripping book.

2. Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

Movie release date 12th March (Netflix)

The first in a series of three books, Annihilation follows a team of four women – a biologist, an anthropologist, a psychologist and a surveyor – as they travel into an area known as Area X. Cut off from the rest of civilisation, the novel follows the group on their expedition, as they attempt to make sense of what happened to those who ventured in before them.

The book has been very well received since its original release back in 2014 and even won the 2015 Nebula Award for Best Novel. The movie is looking to be just as promising, with an impressive cast list including Natalie Portman (Black Swan), Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight), Gina Rodriguez (Deepwater Horizon), Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarok) and Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Last Jedi).

And with Ex Machina director Alex Garland at the helm, you can’t really go wrong. It's being released onto Netflix, not the big screen sadly, but we can still imagine this topping your best-of-2018 lists in a year's time.

3. The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

Movie release date 16th March

A much-beloved family story, Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Peter Rabbit has been translated into 36 different languages, with more than 45 million copies sold worldwide to date. This well-known tale follows a young rabbit and his consistent attempts to break into his neighbour’s garden.

Given the massive success of the book, it may come as a surprise that Potter originally had it self-published, following rejections from several different publishers. And at only 56 pages long, if you’re looking to work your way through this list, this might be the easiest place to start!

Upcoming movie adaptation Peter Rabbit mixes CGI wizardry with live-action, featuring carpool karaoke star James Corden as the voice of our hero, and dastardly villainy coming from Star Wars: The Last Jedi's Domhnall Gleeson as scheming farmer, Thomas McGregor.

4. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Movie release date 23rd March

The first book in Madeleine L’Engle’s Time Quintet, A Wrinkle in Time follows Meg Murry, along with her brother, friend and three astral travellers, on a journey to save her father from captivity. Since its release back in 1962, A Wrinkle in Time has won numerous awards and frequently appears on lists of top books for children.

This is not the first time that Madeleine L’Engle’s work has been adapted for the screen. In fact, Disney themselves released a television adaptation back in 2003, long before this latest big screen iteration was planned. Even so, this looks to be the definitive version.

With an all-star cast including Oprah Winfrey (The Colour Purple), Mindy Kaling (Inside Out), Reese Witherspoon (Wild) Chris Pine (Wonder Woman) and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Belle), as well as director Ava DuVernay behind the camera (helmer of critically acclaimed Martin Luther king biopic Selma), this is easily one of our most anticipated movies of the year.

5. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Movie release date 30th March

Ready Player One is already one of the most anticipated movies of next year, and given the response to the book it’s not hard to see why.

Set in a dystopian 2044, the plot follows protagonist Wade Watts on his search for a virtual reality game Easter egg, with the promise of a fortune to whoever makes the discovery first. Ready Player One was a New York Times Bestseller, and has been translated into over 20 languages since its release in 2011.

The book is a veritable treasure trove of 80s pop culture references and the trailer for the movie is similarly stuffed with icons, from boogeyman Freddie Krueger to Back to the Future's time-travelling DeLorean. With Indiana Jones filmmaking legend Steven Spielberg involved, and a cast including Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies) and Tye Sheridan (X-Men: Apocalypse), we have every hope that the movie will live up to the novel's reputation.

6. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Movie release date 6th April

The title of the movie adaptation may have been changed to Love, Simon, but author Becky Albertalli couldn’t be happier with how the film turned out. Following an early preview of the movie, she shared that "it’s funny and relevant and timeless... It says exactly what I wanted the book to say". 

The plot follows Simon and his pen-pal Blue, and the journey he takes in order to reveal his sexuality to those closest to him. The book has been highly praised for its representation of LGBTQ+ characters and has gained a wide following since its release in 2015. Directed by Greg Berlanti (Life as We Know It) and with a cast including Nick Robinson (Jurassic World), Jennifer Garner (Juno) and Josh Duhamel (Transformers), we have high hopes for this to become one of the feel-good films of the year.

7. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Movie release date 20th April

Published in 2008, this novel follows a writer, and the unexpected bond she creates with the residents of Guernsey island in the aftermath of World War Two. Author Mary Ann Shaffer had originally intended to write a biography, but after being stranded in Guernsey due to heavy fog, her plan changed significantly.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society reunites Downton Abbey co-stars Lily James and Matthew Goode and will be released this April.

8. On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

Release date 18th May

McEwan's poignant and piercing study of a young marriage in crisis is adapted by veteran theatre director Dominic Cooke, making his feature film debut. A typically excellent Saoirse Ronan holds the screen as McEwan heroine Florence, whose honeymoon excursion to the breathtaking Dorset beach of the title with her husband, Edward (Billy Howle) leads to bitter recriminations.

9. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

Release date 19th October

Delayed as a result of Disney's 2016 smash-hit, director Andy Serkis' take on the material, re-titled Mowgli, is poised to be a much darker affair. We're yet to get a trailer and much of the film remains a mystery. However, the pedigree of the source material, not to mention the extraordinary cast, which includes Christian Bale, Benedict Cumberbatch and Cate Blanchett, is sure to get your attention.

Which book-to-movie adaptations are you most excited about? Tweet us your choices @Cineworld.