6 Books to Read Before You See the Movies This Winter
Russian spies, mischievous rabbits and adventurous retirees...all on the docket for our most highly-anticipated book-to-film adaptations this season.
The Leisure Seeker (January 19)
Based on a 2009 novel of the same name by Michael Zadoorian, The Leisure Seeker is about a long-married couple embarking on a journey from Boston to the Florida Keys in their vintage camper—as he struggles with dementia and she struggles with losing the man she’s been married to for more than 50 years. Read the book for a sweet, if sad, love story, and see the movie because the couple is played by the always-wonderful Donald Sutherland and Helen Mirren.
Peter Rabbit (February 9)
OK, so this one’s for the little guys, but still. Based on The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (which was published all the way back in 1902), Peter Rabbit is a part-live-action, part-CGI movie starring James Corden as the titular mischievous bunny as he feuds with Mr. McGregor. The original book should be required reading for kids, but the movie, which also features Rose Byrne, Margot Robbie and Sia, will make for a great (read: quiet) two hours for mom and dad.
Annihilation (February 23)
This 2014 novel by Jeff VanderMeer is the first in a dystopian series called the Southern Reach Trilogy. Here, we meet a team of four women (a biologist, an anthropologist, a psychologist and a surveyor) who set out into the mysterious "Area X" in order to map the terrain, record all observations of their surroundings and avoid "contamination"...dun dun dun. Before you see the movie—which stars Natalie Portman, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson and Oscar Isaac—read the creepy page-turner in one or two sittings.
Red Sparrow (March 2)
Jennifer Lawrence stars as Russian intelligence officer Dominika Egorova in the upcoming movie adaptation of David Matthews’s 2013 spy thriller. We’re sure her performance will be characteristically great, but don’t miss the original text, which was informed by the author’s own experience as a CIA operative.
A Wrinkle in Time (March 9)
Madeline L’Engle’s 1962 science fantasy novel about a teenager who is transported through time and space as she tries to find her missing scientist father is a total classic. This year’s film adaptation was directed by the amazing Ava DuVernay (of Selma and 13th) and stars Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and an up-and-comer named Oprah, so yeah, you should probably see that too.
Love, Simon (March 16)
This sweet coming-of-age story about a teenager struggling to come out as gay is based on Becky Albertalli’s 2015 YA novel Simon v. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. The book is perfect for fans of Rainbow Rowell and John Green, and the movie will make you fall even more in love with its wise, observant protagonist.