Every year, hundreds of movies with sizeable budgets and big aspirations are released into theaters. A sizeable portion of these are based on books, which inevitably leads fans of both mediums to decide whether or not to read or watch first. Personally, I like reading first because I like to go into a movie wondering how the writers, directors and actors will interpret the source material and whether they see the characters the same way I do. If you’re like me, you should be pleased to know there are a ton of books being turned into films over the next few years. Unfortunately, that means you need to head to the library sooner rather than later to get started.
What follows is a list of fourteen books whose film adaptations are either already in production or quickly heading in that direction. Some of them probably aren’t your cups of tea, but if you look hard enough, I guarantee you’ll find a few gems among this pile. Beyond that, you’ll probably hit on a few classics worth rediscovering too.
Get out your monocles and get excited. Here’s your 2014 reading list…
The Giver By Lois LowryStatus: Pre-production, but The Weinstein Company has already boldly given The Giver a premiere date. It’s scheduled to hit theaters on August 15, 2014.
Who's Involved: Some major talent is involved with The Giver. Bill Cosby purchased the right for the movie adaptation of the book all the way back in 1994. So far, Salt director Phillip Noyce has signed on to helm the adaptation, and Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges, Alexander Skarsgard, and Cameron Monaghan are all on board to bring the characters to life. The coveted role of protagonist Jonas will go to relative newcomer Brenton Thwaites, who is mostly known for the TV series Home and Away. House of Sand and Fog writer and director Vadim Perelman is behind the screenplay and has been attached to the project since 2006.
Why you should read the book first: Elmore Leonard’s famous 10 rules of writing features the line, "Don’t go into great detail describing places or things," leading into a joke about how Margaret Atwood is an exception. Lowry isn’t Atwood, and she isn’t typically a flowery writer, but The Giver is a book that is chock full of the most nuanced of descriptions explaining everyday life in a utopian society that may not be so utopian at all. Even if the movie capably gets across the book's society, we’ll be missing some of its greatest descriptions. The Giver’s been a key piece of writing in children’s literature for two decades, but its greatest achievement might be that it’s a worthy read for anyone to pick up at any time.