6 Books to Read Before You See the Movies This Summer
Before you buy your overpriced tickets and popcorn, acquaint yourself with the summer’s hottest movies by reading the source material first.
On Chesil Beach (May 18)
Ian McEwan’s 2007 novella of the same name was shortlisted for the prestigious Booker Prize. Set in the early ‘60s, it follows a young married couple whose relationship dissolves because of fears of physical intimacy. This film adaptation, for which McEwan wrote the screenplay, stars Saoirse Ronan (yeah, you’re remember right: She did make her debut in the adaptation of McEwan’s Atonement) and Billy Howle and features gorgeous shots of the English countryside and Ronan proving that she can master just about any accent.
Fahrenheit 451 (May 19)
Throwback to high school, right? First published in 1953, Ray Bradbury’s dystopian novel presents a future American society where books are outlawed and "firemen" burn any that are found. First turned into a film in 1966 by French New Wave director Francois Truffaut, the latest adaptation by HBO studios will feature Michael Shannon and Michael B. Jordan (swoon).
Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot (July 13)
Starring one of the most intriguing real-life celeb couples, Rooney Mara and Joaquin Phoenix, Don’t Worry is based on cartoonist John Callahan’s 1990 memoir about being a quadriplegic and recovering alcoholic. Read the book for a funny take on upsetting circumstances, then see the movie for a terrific cast that also includes Carrie Brownstein and Jonah Hill.
The Darkest Minds (August 3)
In Alexandra Bracken’s 2012 YA novel, a plague kills most of America's children, and the ones who survive are given special powers. Amandla Stenberg stars as 16-year-old Ruby, one of the most powerful, who forms a rebellion to exact revenge on those in power. The book—and the movie—is perfect for fans of Hunger Games-esque stories and badass teens getting stuff done.
Crazy Rich Asians (August 17)
We don’t want to seem biased, but we’re so excited for this movie. Based on Kevin Kwan’s 2014 novel, the film stars Constance Wu as a young woman totally oblivious to the fact that her boyfriend comes from one of China’s wealthiest families—until they travel to Singapore for vacation. The book is an absolute joy, and based on the trailer, the movie will be the same.
The Little Stranger (August 31)
On a slightly more terrifying note is Sarah Waters’s 2009 gothic novel about a country doctor in Warwickshire, England, who befriends an old family of declining fortunes who own an estate that’s crumbling around them and is probably (definitely) haunted. The book dives a bit deeper into themes of evil and the social upheaval of the class system in postwar Britain, while the film is a good old-fashioned, pee-your-pants-scary 90 minutes.