You Should Be Reading: January 2017

(Written for Filmoria)

Last month began my monthly feature, You Should Be Reading, with the end of what 2016 had to offer in terms of book adaptations. Now it’s time to step into the new year, and to take a look at what adaptations are being released in January 2017.

With two true stories, one delving into the past surrounding a court trial regarding the holocaust and another focusing on present technology as a man attempts to use Google Maps to find his birthplace and family, a children’s fantasy involving a monster that looks like a tree, a historical Japanese fiction set in the time of Hidden Christians, and a crime story about a bootlegger turned notorious gangster in the 1920’s, there’s a huge and varied selection of book adaptations that are being released this month.

You Should Be Reading: December 2016

(Written for Filmoria)

This month sees the introduction of my new monthly feature for Filmoria, You Should Be Reading, which looks at what book adaptations are being released as films over the following month.

If you love reading just as much as you do watching, then this feature will tell you everything you need to know about the upcoming films that are based on books, giving you ideas on what you should be reading in anticipation for the release of their adaptations.

To start things off, December will see the adaptation of two real-life memoirs, firstly with Clint Eastwood‘s nerve-wrenching drama, Sully, and secondly with Oliver Stone‘s political thriller, Snowden.

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You Should Be Reading: Story Of Your Life (Arrival)

“I’d love to tell you the story of this evening, the night you’re conceived, but the right time to do that would be when you’re ready to have children of your own, and we’ll never get that chance.”

Story of Your Life is a science fiction short story written by author Ted Chiang, which is a part of his Stories of Your Life and Others collection, originally published in 2002.

Premised during an alien invasion after multiple mysterious spacecrafts touch down across the globe, linguist Dr Louise Banks is recruited alongside mathematician Ian Donnelly and US Army Colonel Weber by the military to assist in translating communications with an alien race known as Heptapods. As mankind scrambles for answers as to why these aliens are here, Banks tries to distinguish between their two distinct forms of language – the Heptapods’ spoken language, which has a free word order, and their written language, which has a complex structure that a single semantic symbol cannot be excluded without changing the entire meaning of a sentence – a vital study to maintain peace with this mysterious race.

Titled Arrival and set to be released on 10th November, the film adaptation is directed by Denis Villeneuve and stars Amy Adams as Dr. Louise Banks, Jeremy Renner as Ian Donnelly, and Forest Whitaker as Colonel Weber.

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You Should Be Reading: The Light Between Oceans

“There are still more days to travel in this life. And he knows that the man who makes the journey has been shaped by every day and every person along the way. Scars are just another kind of memory. Isabel is part of him, wherever she is, just like the war and the light and the ocean. Soon enough the days will close over their lives, the grass will grow over their graves, until their story is just an unvisited headstone. He watches the ocean surrender to the night, knowing that the light will reappear.”

The Light Between Oceans is a 2012 debut novel by M.L. Stedman, which follows war veteran Tom Sherbourne, who returns home to Western Australia after fighting in the western trenches of World War I in Europe. After meeting and quickly falling in love with the young Isabel, the newly married couple move to an isolated island where Tom maintains the upkeep of a working lighthouse, and Isabel gets used to married life away from her family. But as Tom struggles with his numb emotions from serving in the war, and after the heartache of not being able to start a family of their own, the couple rescue a baby girl who has washed up on an adrift rowboat. Believing their prayers may have finally been answered, Isabel encourages Tom to informally adopt her as their own but, as a man of principle, Tom is torn between reporting the lost child and pleasing the woman he loves. Against his better judgment, he agrees to let Isabel keep the child, naming her Lucy and informing their families that she is their own. But when Tom and Isabel return to the mainland a few years later, they soon discover that their actions may have had devastating consequences for the lives of others.

Set to be released on 4th November, the film adaptation is directed by Derek Cianfrance and stars Michael Fassbender as Tom Sherbourne, Alicia Vikander as Isabel Sherbourne, and Rachel Weisz as Hannah.

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You Should Be Reading: The Girl On The Train

“I have never understood how people can blithely disregard the damage they do by following their hearts. Who was it said that following your heart is a good thing? It is pure egotism, a selfishness to conquer all.”

Written by British author Paula Hawkins, and quickly becoming one of the fastest-selling novels in history after its release in January 2015, debuting at No. 1 on The New York Times Fiction Best Sellers of 2015 list, The Girl On The Train is a psychological thriller that follows an alcohol divorcee, Rachel Watson, who takes the same train to work every single day. As Rachel passes by the same houses, she comes to recognise the people she sees and begins fantasising about the relationships and lives of those that reside there. One of these houses belongs to her ex-husband Tom, who now lives with Anna, who he cheated on Rachel with, and their baby daughter. A few doors down, Rachel spends most of her commute fantasising about the seemingly happy lives of Scott and Megan Hipwell. But everything changes when Rachel witnesses something from the train window and Megan is later found to be missing, presumed dead. Becoming entangled in a missing person’s investigation, Rachel’s involvement promises to send shockwaves throughout both her past and future.

Set to be released on 5th October, the film adaptation is directed by Tate Taylor and stars Emily Blunt as Rachel, Rebecca Ferguson as Anna, Haley Bennett as Megan, Justin Theroux as Tom, Luke Evans as Scott, Allison Janney as Detective Sgt. Riley, and Édgar Ramírez as Dr Kamal Abdic.

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You Should Be Reading: The Girl With All The Gifts

“And then like Pandora, opening the great big box of the world and not being afraid, not even caring whether what’s inside is good or bad. Because it’s both. Everything is always both. But you have to open it to find that out.”

Written by M.R. Carey, based on his Edgar Award-winning short story, Iphigenia In Aulis, and originally published in 2014, The Girl with All the Gifts is a set in a dystopian future in which most of humanity is wiped out by a mutated fungal infection that eradicates free will and turns its victims into flesh-eating “hungries”.

Set at an army base in rural England, a small group of children, who appear to be immune to the disease’s effects, retaining normal thoughts and emotions, are being studied by the ruthless biologist Dr Caldwell. Spending their days in a classroom, taught by the empathetic Miss Justineau and guarded by the ever-watchful Sergeant Parks, the story centres on a particularly special young girl, Melanie. Melanie excels in the classroom and loves each day she gets to spend with her favourite teacher Miss Justineau. But when base falls, Melanie escapes along with Miss Justineau, Sergeant Parks, Pvt. Kieran Gallagher, and Dr Caldwell, and must discover what she really is to ultimately decide both her own future and that of the whole human race.

Set to be released on 23rd September, the film adaptation is directed by Colm McCarthy and stars Sennia Nanua in the lead role of Melanie, Gemma Arterton as Helen Justineau, Glenn Close as Caroline Caldwell, and Paddy Considine as Sergeant Parks.

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You Should Be Reading: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

“I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was.”

The debut novel by Ransom Riggs, originally published in 2011, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a young adult book that combines a collection of vintage photographs with a narrative led by Jacob, a teenage boy who follows clues from his grandfather’s old photographs. Led to a large, abandoned orphanage on a Welsh island, Jacob begins an adventure that spans different worlds and times. But the mystery and danger deepen as he gets to know the residents and about their special powers, as well as the powers of their enemies. Chosen to protect the Peculiar Children, Jacob must discover his own power to save his new friends from the nightmarish Hollows and Wights, who are led by the mysterious Mr Barron.

Set to be released on 30th September, the film adaptation is directed by Tim Burton and stars Asa Butterfield as Jacob, Eva Green as Miss Peregrine, and Samuel L. Jackson as Mr Barron.

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