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.

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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 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.

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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.”

Rating:

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.

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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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You Should Be Reading: Me Before You

“I will never, ever regret the things I’ve done. Because most days, all you have are places in your memory that you can go to.”

Jojo Moyes‘ 2012 best-selling book, Me Before You, tells the story of a 26-year-old girl from a small English town, Lou Clarke, who has just lost her job in the local cafe. With only one option left at the job centre, Lou is employed as a carer by the wealthy Traynor family, despite having no skills or experience, to help support her struggling family. Here, Lou is placed in charge of Will, a once successful man who enjoyed all aspects of his life, who is now a quadriplegic, paralysed from the neck down after being involved in an accident. As Lou attempts to show Will what life can be like if he opens his mind, Will encourages Lou to live her life to the fullest as an unexpected relationship blossoms.

Set to be released on 3rd June, the film adaptation is directed by Thea Sharrock and stars Emilia Clarke as Lou and Sam Claflin as Will.

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You Should Be Reading: The Divergent Series – Allegiant (Part 1)

“There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes bravery involves laying down your life for something bigger than yourself, or for someone else. Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known, or everyone you have ever loved, for the sake of something greater. But sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it is nothing more than gritting your teeth through pain, and the work of every day, the slow walk toward a better life. That is the sort of bravery I must have now.”

Based on the final book in Veronica Roth‘s young adult dystopian Divergent trilogy, originally published in 2013, The Divergent Series: Allegiant is the third instalment in The Divergent Series of films and is the first in a two-part adaptation of the final book.

Set in the aftermath of Insurgent, Allegiant sees Tris and Four venture outside of the walls that enclose the only world they know, a futuristic Chicago in ruins, for the first time ever. Once outside, old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless with the revelation of shocking new truths. Taken into protective custody by a mysterious agency known as the Bureau of Genetic Welfare, Tris and Four must quickly decide who they can trust, as a ruthless battle ignites. In order to survive, Tris is forced to make impossible choices about courage, allegiance, and sacrifice.

Again directed by Robert Schwentke, and with Shailene Woodley and Theo James in the leads, the film adaptation is set to be released on 10th March.

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You Should Be Reading: The 5th Wave

“We told the stories of our lives before the Arrival. We cried openly over the ones we lost. We wept secretly for our smartphones, our cars, our microwave ovens, and the Internet.”

Written by Rick Yancey and originally published in 2013, The 5th Wave is a young adult dystopia and the first in a trilogy of novels.

Centred around 16-year-old Cassie Sullivan, the story is premised during an alien invasion after an unknown species have executed four waves of increasingly deadly attacks, leaving most of Earth decimated. The first wave saw an EMP wave take out all electronics and technology, the second saw massive tsunamis around the world take out every coastline, the third saw an infection kill off most of the remaining survivors, and the fourth saw “the people in charge” turn their guns onto those left. But there’s still another wave to come, and it’s bound to be lethal. On the run, Cassie teams up with a young man who may be her final hope – if she can trust him – in a desperate attempt to save her younger brother.

With the adaptation released in cinemas today, the film is directed by J. Blakeson and stars Chloë Grace Moretz as Cassie, alongside a supporting cast of Nick Robinson, Maria Bello, Liev Schreiber, and Maika Monroe.

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You Should Be Reading: Room

“In the world I notice persons are nearly always stressed and have no time… In Room, me and Ma had time for everything. I guess the time gets spread very thin like butter over all the world, the roads and houses and playgrounds and stores, so there’s only a little smear of time on each place, then everyone has to hurry on to the next bit.”

Published in 2010 and written by Emma Donoghue, Room is told from the perspective of a five-year-old boy, Jack, who is being held captive in a small room along with his mother. Ma has created a whole universe in ‘Room’, where they have both lived for Jack’s whole life. But when Ma decides it’s time to escape, she risks everything to give Jack the chance to make a thrilling discovery: the outside world.

Set to be released on 15th January, the film adaptation, directed by Lenny Abrahamson, sees Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay lead this story about the unparalleled bond between parent and child.

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You Should Be Reading: The Hunger Games – Mockingjay (Part 1 & 2)

“It takes ten times as long to put yourself back together as it does to fall apart.”

Suzanne Collins’ trilogy of novels, The Hunger Games, is one of the most popular young adult franchises, with the film adaptations being some of the best films over the past couple of years. Now the time has come for the final instalment, the second part of the final novel and the fourth instalment in The Hunger Games franchise, with one of the most anticipated films of 2015, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay (Part 2).

Set to be released on 19th November and directed by Francis Lawrence, with Jennifer Lawrence once again in the lead role, this final book sees Katniss face her biggest challenges yet, as she must become the iconic Mockingjay, a symbol of hope and courage in the revolution, to unify the districts of Panem, fight to save those she loves, and attempt to shatter the games forever.

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You Should Be Reading: Paper Towns

“When did we see each other face-to-face? Not until you saw into my cracks and I saw into yours. Before that, we were just looking at ideas of each other, like looking at your window shade but never seeing inside. But once the vessel cracks, the light can get in. The light can get out.”

Whether you’ve been reading John Green‘s novels for years or not, it’s likely that you will have at least heard of the first novel of his to be adapted into a film, The Fault In Our Stars, which was released last year. This year, Green’s third young adult novel, Paper Towns, is getting the big screen treatment.

Published in 2008, Paper Towns is a coming-of-age story centring on Quentin (Wolff) and his enigmatic neighbour Margo (Delevingne), and their subsequent voyage of discovery. After taking him on an all-night adventure through their hometown, Margo suddenly disappears, leaving behind cryptic clues for Quentin to decipher. The search leads Quentin and his friends on an exhilarating adventure to track her down, where Quentin must find a deeper understanding of both true friendship and true love.

Led by the equally beautiful Nat Wolff and Cara Delevingne and directed by Jake Schreier, the film adaptation is set to be released on 17th August.

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You Should Be Reading: The Maze Runner – The Scorch Trials

“He didn’t care about the others anymore. The chaos around him seemed to siphon away his humanity, turn him into an animal. All he wanted was to survive, make it to that building, get inside. Live. Gain another day.”

The second book in James Dashner‘s The Maze Runner trilogy, The Scorch Trials follows Thomas and the rest of the Gladers through their next chapter. After escaping the maze, the Gladers are told that they are now being taken to safety. But the truth quickly becomes apparent, and as the Gladers search for clues about the mysterious and powerful organisation known as WCKD, it seems that the maze was only the beginning. Now, their journey takes them to the Scorch, a desolate landscape that was once a major city, now scorched to the ground and consumed by a disease known as the Flare. Teaming up with resistance fighters, the Gladers uncover the shocking plans that WCKD has had planned for them all along.

Adapted once again by Wes Ball, the second film adaptation, The Scorch Trials, is set to be released at the beginning of September.

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You Should Be Reading: The Divergent Series – Insurgent

“Cruelty does not make a person dishonest, the same way bravery does not make a person kind.”

The second book in Veronica Roth‘s young adult dystopian Divergent series, Insurgent picks up as Tris and Four, now fugitives, are on the run, hunted by the leader of the power-hungry Erudite elite, Jeanine. In a search for allies and answers in the ruins of a futuristic Chicago and racing against time, the fearless duo must find out what Tris’ family sacrificed their lives to protect, and why the Erudite leaders will do anything to stop them. Haunted by her past choices Tris faces one impossible challenge after another as they unlock the truth about the past and ultimately the future of their world.

Directed by Robert Schwentke and once again led by Shailene Woodley, the film adaptation is set to be released on 20th March.

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You Should Be Reading: The Maze Runner

“Are they changed because they want to go back to their old life, or is it because they’re so depressed at realising their old life was no better than what we have now?”

We’ve all been impressed by the recently popular young adult dystopian franchises of the past few years including the likes of The Hunger Games and Divergent, but now we have a new franchise to throw into the mix – The Maze Runner.

Originally published in 2009 and written by James DashnerThe Maze Runner is the first in a trilogy of books that follows a group of boys who wake up in a place known as the Glade with no memories apart from their names. When the last of the boys, Thomas, joins the group, he soon realises that the Glade is actually a gigantic maze and that the boys not only have to survive on their own, but they have to figure a way out. By piecing together fragments of his past with clues that come back to him in his sleep, Thomas begins to uncover his true purpose, as well as the possibility of a way to escape. But is there even an exit to be found? And is the world outside even one worth returning to?

Directed by Wes Ball, the film adaptation is set to be released on 10th October.

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You Should Be Reading: Gone Girl

“The question I’ve asked more often during our marriage, if not out loud, if not to the person who could answer. I supposed these questions storm cloud over every marriage: What are you thinking? How are you feeling? Who are you? What have we done to each other? What will we do?”

It may have been all about the young adult dystopias over the past few months, but if you want to get yourself into something different then you should be reading Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl.

Published in 2012, Gone Girl is a New York Times Best Seller premised around the seemingly happy married couple, Nick and Amy Dunne. Introduced to the readers as your average husband and wife, Nick and Amy are a couple that you quickly warm to. But when Amy mysteriously disappears, the truth of their marriage slowly unravels. Realising that everything wasn’t as perfect as it seemed, the spotlight of Amy’s disappearance soon turns on to Nick, as he becomes the focus of an intense media circus. But is Nick a man capable of killing his wife? Was their marriage really that bad? Or is the truth far from the whole story?

Set to be directed by David Fincher and starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike the lead roles, the film adaptation is set to be released on 2nd October.

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You Should Be Reading: The Hobbit

“Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway.”

Yes, you should be reading The Hobbit …or at least the final 85 pages of J. R. R. Tolkien‘s classic fantasy story, that is.

From the author of The Lord of The Rings trilogy, and with the same crew behind their film adaptations, the final instalment in a trilogy of adaptations, The Battle of the Five Armies, is set to be released on 12th December.

Although they are all based on the same, single book, The Hobbit trilogy of films began with An Unexpected Journey in 2012, followed with The Desolation of Smaug in 2013, and is set to conclude at the end of this year.

Again directed by Peter Jackson, the final instalment will focus on the final third of The Hobbit book, as the dwarves attempt to reclaim their homeland of Erebor.

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You Should Be Reading: The Hunger Games – Mockingjay (Part 1)

“It takes ten times as long to put yourself back together as it does to fall apart.”

Suzanne Collins’ young adult trilogy The Hunger Games has to be one of the most popular series of novels at the minute. Set in the dystopian and post-apocalyptic nation of Panem, the novels follow lead heroine Katniss Everdeen, a young girl living in the poorest of 12 districts who, volunteering to save her younger sister, is forced to compete in The Hunger Games. Set up by the government in order to maintain peace, the annual televised games see 24 young representatives fight to the death in a specially designed arena, until only one remains.

Once again directed by Francis Lawrence and starring Jennifer Lawrence in the lead role, the film adaptation is set to be released on 20th November.

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