We’ve all heard this complaint before, “The book was better!” I’ve said it myself, more than once, after watching a movie adaptation of a book I’ve enjoyed. For instance, my near rage with The Dark Tower and Beautiful Creatures adaptations. Sometimes I’ve been happily surprised. Especially with adaptations like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Sense and Sensibility.
I’ve curated a list of books that will make their screen debuts from now through December 2019. There’s still time for you to read the book (or in one case, the comic book) before the movie comes out. Then you’ll be able to decide for yourself which was better, the book or the movie.
From DC Comics comes The Kitchen, written by Ollie Masters, art by Ming Doyle, and covers by Becky Cloonan.
Synopsis: New York City, late 1970s. Times Square is a haven for sex and drugs. The city teeters on the verge of bankruptcy, while blackouts can strike at any moment. This is the world of THE KITCHEN. The Irish gangs of Hell’s Kitchen rule the neighborhood, bringing terror to the streets and doing the dirty work for the Italian Mafia. Jimmy Brennan and his crew were the hardest bastards in the Kitchen, but after they’re all put in prison, their wives – Kath, Raven and Angie – decide to keep running their rackets. And once they get a taste of the fast life and easy money, it won’t be easy to stop. THE KITCHEN takes one of the most popular genres in entertainment and, like The Sopranos, reimagines it for a new generation to present a classic gangster story told from a fresh point of view.
Book: Where’d You Go, Bernadette
Author: Maria Semple
Synopsis: Bernadette is a loving mom who becomes compelled to reconnect with her creative passions after years of sacrificing herself for her family. Her leap of faith takes her on an epic adventure that jump-starts her life and leads to her triumphant rediscovery. Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.
Author: Stephen King
Synopsis: The book was made into two movies. The second movie begins twenty-seven years after their first encounter with the terrifying Pennywise, the Losers Club have grown up and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back to Derry, Maine.
Book: The Goldfinch
Author: Donna Tartt
Synopsis: Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his longing for his mother, he clings to the one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.
As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love—and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle. The Goldfinch is a mesmerizing, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends triumph, an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.
Book: The Woman in the Window
Author: A. J. Finn
Synopsis: Dr. Anna Fox, an agoraphobic in New York City, drinks her days away alone in her apartment, watching classic films and her neighbors. When the Russells move into the house across the way, Anna sees the ideal family and spies on them, only to witness a shocking event that changes her life.
Book: Motherless Brooklyn
Author: Jonathan Lethem
Synopsis: Brooklyn’s very own self-appointed Human Freakshow, Lionel Essrog is an orphan whose Tourettic impulses drive him to bark, count, and rip apart our language in startling and original ways. Together with three veterans of the St. Vincent’s Home for Boys, he works for small-time mobster Frank Minna’s limo service cum detective agency. Life without Frank Minna, the charismatic King of Brooklyn, would be unimaginable, so who cares if the tasks he sets them are, well, not exactly legal. But when Frank is fatally stabbed, one of Lionel’s colleagues lands in jail, the other two vie for his position, and the victim’s widow skips town. Lionel’s world is suddenly topsy-turvy, and this outcast who has trouble even conversing attempts to untangle the threads of the case while trying to keep the words straight in his head.
Book: Doctor Sleep
Author: Stephen King
Synopsis: (This book is a sequel to “The Shining”)
On highways across America, a tribe of people called the True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, the True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the steam that children with the shining produce when they are slowly tortured to death.
Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel, where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant shining power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”
Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival.
Book: The Rhythm Section
Author: Mark Burnell
Synopsis: Stephanie Patrick is devastated after her whole family dies in a plane crash. But when she discovers that the downing of flight NE027 wasn’t an accident but an act of terrorism, Stephanie enters the fight of her life to achieve her one goal: revenge.
When she’s recruited by a covert intelligence organization, Stephanie sees a means to an end. Now, with nothing and no one left to lose, Stephanie undergoes rigorous training to become “Petra,” a mercenary terrorist based out of Germany, and “Marina,” an international businesswoman based in London. Her immersion into the world of international espionage teaches Stephanie how to numb her feelings and act on instinct alone. But as her missions become more brutal, and the stakes grow ever higher, she begins to question everything she knows about flight NEO027. Is her organization telling her the truth about what really happened? Is avenging her family worth the risk of her own life? And if it isn’t, will those who created her ever let her go?
Book: “I Heard You Paint Houses”: Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran & Closing the Case on Jimmy Hoffa
Author: Charles Brandt
Synopsis: (Movie title is “The Irishman”)
The first words Jimmy Hoffa ever spoke to Frank “the Irishman” Sheeran were, “I heard you paint houses.” To paint a house is to kill a man. The paint is the blood that splatters on the walls and floors. In the course of nearly five years of recorded interviews Frank Sheeran confessed to Charles Brandt that he handled more than twenty-five hits for the mob, and for his friend Hoffa. Sheeran learned to kill in the U.S. Army, where he saw an astonishing 411 days of active combat duty in Italy during World War II. After returning home he became a hustler and hit man, working for legendary crime boss Russell Bufalino. Eventually he would rise to a position of such prominence that in a RICO suit then-U.S. Attorney Rudy Giuliani would name him as one of only two non-Italians on a list of 26 top mob figures. When Bufalino ordered Sheeran to kill Hoffa, he did the deed, knowing that if he had refused he would have been killed himself. Sheeran’s important and fascinating story includes new information on other famous murders, and provides rare insight to a chapter in American history.
Book: Little Women
Author: Louisa May Alcott
Synopsis: Little Women was originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869. It follows the lives of the four March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy— from childhood to womanhood and is loosely based on the author and her three sisters. Here are talented tomboy and author-to-be Jo, tragically frail Beth, beautiful Meg, and romantic, spoiled Amy, united in their devotion to each other and their struggles to survive in New England during the Civil War.
What book to movie adaptations have you liked best? Least? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below. Happy reading!