This Fall: Read the Book Before you See the Film

UPDATE: This list will be updated whenever there’s new info. So, bookmark it if you like. Just added Lincoln (Team of Rivals), The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. CLICK ON THE TITLES to read my book and film reviews. For others, the link will lead you to info of the production.


Some highly anticipated film adaptations from literary sources will be coming out this fall. Released in this latter part of the year, to be premiered at major film festivals, some of them are poised for the Awards Season next spring.

Here’s an update of these great expectations. The Great Gatsby for some reasons has delayed its release until next summer, so one less book to read if you’re to finish them before the movies come out.  These titles also make good selections for book groups:

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

To premiere in the UK and at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on the same date, September 7. You still have time to read this masterpiece before the film comes out as a general release in November. You may need to read a bit more than 10 pages a day if you start now. But still doable. Update: The Read-Along has just been completed. The film is now screening in selective cities. Read my book reviews here for first half and here for the last parts.


Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

To premiere at TIFF on Sept. 8. Legendary filmmakers Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run), Andy and Lana Wachowski (The Matrix) join hands to make this ‘unfilmable’ acclaimed literary work. Tom Hank, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent…

Update: The film has been released and has received mixed reviews. 

Dangerous Liaisons by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

How about this… The French notorious literary classic Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, published in 1782, adapted into film in the 21st C. with a setting in 1930’s Shanghai, China, helmed by Korean director Hur Jin-Ho, cast with Chinese and Korean actors. I’ve seen two adaptations in the past, Michelle Pheiffer/John Malkovich’s Dangerous Liaisons (1988) and Annette Bening/Colin Firth’s Valmont (1989), but this one strikes me as something totally different.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

In time to mark this bicentenary of the birth of Charles Dickens, a showcase of British talents: screenplay by David Nicholls (Tess of the D’Urbervilles, When Did You Last See Your Father) directed by Mike Newell (Four Weddings and A Funeral, Harry Potter), Ralph Fiennes (The English Patient), Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech), Jeremy Irvine (War Horse)…


The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

World premiere Nov. 28, 2012 in New Zealand for Part 1 of the Trilogy, ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’, ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ in Dec. 2013, and ‘The Hobbit: There and Back Again’ in July, 2014. Peter Jackson attempts to reprise his Rings magic with cast from previous Rings Trilogy Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom… Again, we’ll get to see beautiful New Zealand as setting.


Les Misérables by VIctor Hugo

A film version of the stage musical to be released in December. Directed by Oscar winner Tom Hooper of The King’s Speech. If you want to hear them sing, here’s the chance… Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Helena Bonham Carter, Amanda Seyfried…  The trailer is mesmerizing. Update: The production has just been shown in industry screenings and received euphoric reception. Major contender for 2013 Oscars.


Life of Pi by Yann Martel

To open the 50th NY Film Festival on Sept. 28 with its world premiere. I’m glad this 2003 Booker Prize winning novel by Canadian author Yann Martel finds its film adaptation in the hands of Oscar winning director Ang Lee. From the trailer, I have the feeling that Lee has masterfully grasped the magical realism of the book. Lee’s versatility ranges from Jane Austen (Sense and Sensibility) to martial art (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). I highly anticipate this one, albeit as someone prone to motion sickness, I’m apprehensive about seeing the rough ocean journey in 3D.


Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie. Film Review

To premiere at the Gala Presentation at TIFF Sept. 9. Salman Rushdie turns his Best of the Booker, epic novel into screenplay, working closely with Canadian director Deepa Mehta on the film production. I’m interested to see how magic realism transposes from the literary to the visual, albeit I know full well the two are different forms of artistic medium. For the few of us who had spent four months reading along, I think the only regret we have might be that we can’t go to see the film together.


Mr. Pip by Lloyd Jones

Winner of the 2007 Commonwealth Prize, Lloyd Jones’s character Pop Eye Mr. Watts brings to the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville during the civil war in the 1990s not just Charles Dicken’s Great Expectations, but friendship to a 13 year-old girl Matilda. Film adaptation directed by Chronicles of Narnia‘s Andrew Adamson. And for all you fans of ‘House’, Mr. Pip is none other than Hugh Laurie.


On The Road by Jack Kerouac

First screened at Cannes Film Festival in May and later in Europe, producer Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptation of this beat generation classic finally comes to North American at TIFF this Sept. Directed by Walter Salles (Motorcycle Diaries) and with a cast including Kristen Stewart, Amy Adams, Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst.


The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

Published in 2007, the book was included in Guardian‘s list of 50 books that defined the decade and shortlisted for the Booker Prize. The story of a young Pakistani working in NYC, graduated top of his class from Princeton, finding love in an American girl, and success on Wall Street, has his world turned upside down after 9/11. The film just opened the 69th Venice Film Festival last night. Directed by the acclaimed, India-born Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding, The Namesake), the film and the book should stimulate lively discussions in your book group. Stars Riz Ahmed, Kate Hudson, Kiefer Sutherland, Liev Schreiber.

Teams of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Film Review.

It has been noted that Steven Spielberg ensured the film rights to Goodwin’s book even before she wrote it. His film Lincoln is partly based on it, an epic production that reportedly involves more than 140 speaking parts. Acclaimed as a strong Oscar 2013 contender, the film portrays Lincoln’s tenacious fight for the passage of the 13th Amendment.


What Maisie Knew by Henry James

James’s novel published in 1897 has its film adaptation set in modern day New York City. It depicts a family break down from the point of view of a six-year-old girl as she is torn between her parents going through a divorce. Film directed by Bee Season and The Deep End’s Scott McGehee and David Siegel, Julianne Moore and Alexander Skarsgård star.



Posts you may like:

Lincoln (2012): Some Alternative Views

Anna Karenina Read-Along: Parts 1-4, Parts 5-8

Midnight’s Children Read-Along

Midnight’s Children Film Adaptation: Movie Review

Life of Pi by Yann Martel: Read the book Before the 3D Experience

CLICK on the following links to my previous posts for lists of film adaptations from other literary titles in development or with film rights sold:

Great Film Expectations

Upcoming Books Into Movies — List 3

More Upcoming Books Into Movies


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If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

26 thoughts on “This Fall: Read the Book Before you See the Film”

  1. Wow — How do you keep on track of it all! I, too, am thrilled about Life of Pi. One of the kids (probably Greg) gave me that book for Christmas years ago and I found it just mesmerizing. Ang Lee is a fine choice! Of course I’m looking forward to Les Mis, and some of the others are very intriguing. Don’t know if I’ll make all the book. Les Mis has been on my “to read” list since Rick read it a year or so ago — and said the musical is just the fluff part — lots of layers, nuance and well written. After visiting Hugo’s house, it moved up the pile a few!


    1. Jeanie,

      I don’t think I’ll read all of the books either. As I’m doing the Anna Karenina read-along, don’t think I’ve time to read many others. But, I just might add in a couple, not huge ones like Les Miserables, but maybe What Maisie Knew. Some I’ll just revisit thru audiobooks. Some I’ve already reread, like Life of Pi. Watch for my review coming up. 😉

      As for Les Mis the film, you know it’s an adaptation of the musical, not directly from the book. But if you click on the trailer, you’ll see the reason why we can’t compare the two forms of medium… they are totally different artistic expressions.


  2. Believe it or not, I just recently ran into the video of Susan Boyle singing that song from “Les Miserables” that got her such notice. Wonderful. And now I understand a little better that whole discussion about her “transformation” – the need for it and wisdom of it.

    I’m really pondering hopping on board with Anna Karenina. If I can get myself caught up with a number of things by this holiday weekend, I may do it. But I’m going to have to focus!


    1. Linda,

      Do click on the link to the trailer of Les Mis I’ve provided in my post. As for Anna K., I do hope you can join us. This will be such an interesting experience… sure like to know your thoughts. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the camaraderie. And you’re absolutely right, I need to focus, albeit I feel it’s an easier read than Midnight’s Children. 😉


  3. This is a wonderful resource for me because every September one of my book groups meets for a whole day to discuss a book in the morning and then, after a very long and lazy lunch, see the film in the afternoon and discuss the adaptation over tea. I’m always on the look out for pairings we might explore and this will provide a starting point for making next year’s choice. This year it’s Graham Greene’s ‘The End of the Affair’.


    1. Alex, what you’ve described just made me so envious… I’d love to do that with other book/film buffs. Glad this list can be of use to your group. Coincidentally, I’ve posted GG’s The End of the Affair a few months ago, in case you’re interested. Here it is. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment.


  4. I didn’t know Life of Pi was going to be a movie! I’ll be curious to see how they do that one. I began reading Anna K yesterday. I’m reading the public domain version on my Kindle at the moment. Constance Garnett I believe is the translator. So far so good. I have the new translation in print which I will be dipping into from time to time as well.


  5. You are such a mine of information, Arti! I had no idea so many adaptations were coming out, and interesting ones too. I really want to see Valmont and must get to it before watching the new version. It sounds very creative. I’d like to see the Henry James, too.


    1. litlove,

      You’ll enjoy Valmont… with a young Colin Firth, still in his 20’s and with Meg Tilly. This new one coming out, shot in Beijing and Shanghai set in the 1930’s sounds a bit far-fetched, could well be in name only… But of course, just my personal prediction.

      If you’d like to see more titles, including those coming out in the next year or two, you can go to my previous lists here and here.


  6. Every time I see a great novel made into a film I chuckle to myself, as it seems to me that film makers ran out of good material and had to resort to literature. Of course that’s not the case, it’s just a private belief. What a wonderful assortment of films we have to look forward to! Most particularly, in my opinion, Anna Karenina. But, don’t forget that Gatsby will be a film, as will the Hobbit; I know you know that, I’m just saying they could be added to the list of Wonderful Novels turned Into Film in the Near Future. Is there such a list? 🙂


    1. Bellezza,

      Yes thanks for reminding me, I’ve missed The Hobbit, which is coming out in December. The Great Gatsby I did not include in this list because its release has been postponed to next summer. This is a list for films coming out Fall 2012 up to the end of this year, with actual release dates.

      In the past, I’d prepared several lists where I included other titles coming out in the next few years as proposed or where film rights had been sold. Many are in development, i.e., without an actual release date. You’re right, they make fantastic titles for book groups, these include: The Corrections, The Paris Wife, The Emperor’s Children, The Marriage Plot, Rebecca, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society… just to name a few.

      You can find these lists in my previous posts here, here, and here.


      1. Wow – what a thorough site. I will be back again and again I’m sure. I’m very excited to learn that What Maisie Knew has been made into a film – I had NO CLUE. I’ll have to reread that one for sure.
        From what I understand Guernsey is way way on the backburner due to scheduling issues which is a major bummer. Also read somewhere that The Corrections for HBO is either not happening at all or not for quite awhile yet anyway.


  7. I read Cloud Atlas in anticipation for the film, so glad I did as the trailer looks like it complicates the story a little. Some books, however, I think I will find more alluring once I have seen the film, such as Les Mis, or Midnight’s Children – which I have picked up before and not got into.


    1. Alice,

      Glad you found Cloud Atlas trailer good, cause the book has been noted as ‘unfilmable’. Hope it works out fine, albeit I keep reminding myself I can’t compare the two forms of artistic expression. That goes for Les Mis and Midnight’s Children too, esp. that they are almost like epics. Hard to condense everything into 120 mins. of visual experience. But of course, I’m excited to see them all.


  8. I’m trying not to get too excited about the Hobbit, given that it’s going to take three years to see the whole film. Recently saw the Gillian Anderson version of Great Expectation (was that BBC? can’t remember).


    1. nikkipolani,

      You’ve got a point there… trilogy for the Hobbit. And yes, Gillian Anderson as Ms. Havisham. I saw that mini-series too. But I still like the 1946 David Lean directed adaptation the best, up to now, that is.


    1. I read your comment ok, thank you! Glad the list includes some titles that you’re anticipating. I’ve wanted to read What Maisie Knew for a long while but don’t have time to. With Anna Karenina read-along, I don’t have much time for other books. And, don’t think I’ll read thru Les Miz before watching the film. Yes, have you seen the trailer? It’s mesmerizing!


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