Every year, book lovers all over the world storm out of the theater chanting “The book was better!” after seeing their favorite literary adventures brought to life on screen. Although this sentiment is often true, we’ll never stop loving that feeling of seeing the faces of characters we loved on the page and watching scenes that were described with gorgeous prose be thoughtfully played out in front of us. So, which books are being adapted in 2019?
Book adaptations make some of the best and most exciting films of the year, and few things make you feel more left out than hearing comparisons to a book you haven’t read. Fear not, though, because we’ve pulled together a list of books that are hitting the screen this year so you can get caught up right away. Head to your local bookstore (or grab whatever device you read on) and devour these pages so you can be part of the conversation.
This Donna Tartt book landed on or near the top of just about every list back in 2013. It even won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2014. Reading this book is no small task, as it clocks in at nearly 1,000 pages. The film’s cast should be an incentive to get caught up, though. The movie follows Ansel Elgort as Theodore Decker, a boy who is taken in by a wealthy family after his mother dies in a terrorist bombing at an art museum. The Goldfinch also stars Nicole Kidman, Sarah Paulson, Luke Wilson and Denis O’Hare, and it hits theaters Oct. 119.
‘The ABC Murders’
It’s not a year of book adaptations without Agatha Christie, the queen of mystery, in the mix. Christie’s class whodunit novels are ripe for the screen and have been brought to film and TV time and time again, but we’re not complaining. Hercule Poirot and his mustache are back, and this time they’re hunting down a killer who likes to slay his victims in alphabetical order. The three-episode miniseries stars John Malkovich as Detective Poirot, along with Rupert Grint and Henry Goodman. It ran on BBC in December 2018 and will hit Amazon Prime on Feb. 1.
Fantasy masters Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett were friends and collaborators, and their swan song together is Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, where the end of the world is nigh and the armies of good and evil are gathering for war. But one angel and one demon have been living among the humans, and they aren’t ready to pick sides. Good Omens stars David Tennant as the demon Crowley and Michael Sheen as the angel Aziraphale, and it lands on Amazon Prime sometime this year.
Louisa May Alcott’s literary classic has been brought to the screen before with great success. You’ve probably seen the 1994 film starring Winona Rider, Claire Danes, Kirsten Dunst and Christian Bale, which was both sweet and devastating. In 2019, Greta Gerwig is sitting pretty in the director’s chair, and the cast is absolutely stacked: Saoirse Ronan as Jo, Emma Watson as Meg, Timothée Chalamet as Laurie, Laura Dern as Marmee and Meryl Streep as Aunt March. Look to revisit the March sisters in movie theaters on Christmas Day.
‘The Call of the Wild’
Yet another classic joins the lineup in the form of Jack London’s 1903 novel The Call of the Wild. This is the tale of Buck, a dog who was stolen from his home and sold as a sled dog in Alaska, where he’s forced to fight other dogs. The author lived in the Yukon for nearly a year, immersing himself in the environment and studying the climate and culture. This live-action CGI film stars Harrison Ford, Dan Stevens, Karen Gillan and Omar Sy and will race into movie theaters on Christmas Day.
2019 seems to be the year of classic literature, and the trend continues with this 1961 satire novel by Joseph Heller. This pillar of American literature takes place in Italy during World War II and follows Yossarian, a US Army Air Force B-25 bombardier, and his experience on the island of Pianosa, in the Mediterranean Sea. The book is headed to US screens through Hulu and stars George Clooney, Christopher Abbott and Hugh Laurie.
‘Five Feet Apart’
Did you cry your eyes out during The Fault in Our Stars or swoon at Paper Towns? Five Feet Apart isn’t a John Green novel, but it’s prime for adaptation. Two teens fall in love but can’t come any closer than five feet to one another. Stella Grant and Will Newman might have broken lungs, but they have whole hearts when they’re together. This tearjerker stars Riverdale heartthrob Cole Sprouse and Haley Lu Richardson and will be devastating audiences everywhere in theaters on March 22.
‘The Woman in the Window’
The latest book to garner Gone Girl comparisons was written by A.J. Finn and has been praised by horror master Stephen King. This domestic thriller was just published in 2018 and follows an agoraphobic child psychologist who sees a crime while she’s spying on her neighbors (think Hitchcock’s Rear Window) and has to convince herself it’s safe to go to the police. Amy Adams snagged the rights to the film and is starring in the adaptation as Dr. Anna Fox, along with Julianne Moore, Gary Oldman and Anthony Mackie. The Woman in the Window arrives in movie theaters Oct. 4.
‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette’
This sweet, smart dramedy from Maria Semple follows a family that falls into catastrophe after the disappearance of its matriarch. Bernadette Fox was a fierce, fiery architect and mom. Her determined daughter Bee embarks on a search for her and uncovers secrets from her own past along the way. Where’d You Go, Bernadette is being directed by Boyhood’s Richard Linklater and stars Cate Blanchett as Bernadette, along with Judy Greer, Kristen Wiig and Laurence Fishburne, and lands in movie theaters Aug. 9.
This heartbreaking, gorgeously written novel follows two sisters from France as they take distinctly separate but equally brave stances during World Word II. Neither the release date nor the actors attached to the title roles have been confirmed yet, but the film’s original 2018 release date was pushed back to 2019. Kristin Hannah’s prose is rich in detail and the story spans years, so the source material has a lot to work with. Here’s hoping we get to see this one this year — the wait will likely be worth it.
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