Summer Reading for Future Viewing

NOTE: Just added Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

Some updates on books into films or TV adaptations. Some I’ve read, some TBR.

Under The Dome copyUnder The Dome by Stephen King — Now a new TV series (CBS) produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment, joining the trend of bypassing the big screen to opt for TV production. The future is now as the series has already started airing. First episode with 13.5 million viewers. Could this be a foretaste of the ‘implosion’ phenom Spielberg predicted, TV screen replacing the big screen?


outlanderOutlander by Diana Gabaldon — This wildly popular, NYT bestselling cross-genre series of novels (Sci-Fi/Romance/Historical/Adventure) will be adapted into a TV series. Again, TV is the emerging medium for literary adaptations. Versatile Gabaldon has multiple degrees in science and was a university professor before creating the Outlander book series. She’s also a comic script writer. Here’s her bio.


Winters-Tale-CoverWinter’s Tale by Mark Helprin — Sci-Fi is trending. This one will be on the big screen with some big names such as Will Smith, Russell Crowe, Colin Farrell. But if you are a fan of Downton Abbey, you’d be interested to know this is one of the reasons Lady Sybil met her tragic end. No hard feeling. I wish Jessica Brown Findlay all the best in her pursuit of big screen presence. Take a look at these photos.


The Ocean at the End of the LaneThe Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman — Book published June 18, 2013, film rights of Gaiman’s new novel (this one for adults) about childhood memories had already been snatched up by Tom Hanks’ production company Playtone and director found. That’s Joe Wright who brought us the screen adaptation of Ian McEwan’s Atonement (2007) and the most recent version of Anna Karenina (2012). Have put a hold on the audiobook from the library.


In The Garden of BeastsIn the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson — Again, Tom Hanks had picked up the film rights and he will star in it. Before you say ‘Ha! Self-gratification’, I’d say he’s an apt choice to play William E. Dodd, America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Nazi Germany. Natalie Portman is on board as Dodd’s flirtatious zealous daughter Martha. Michel Hazanavicius, the Oscar-winning director of The Artist (2011), will helm. The book focuses on dry facts and livens up with Martha’s escapades. I can expect how the movie would use them as leverage. But I certainly hope not.


The Monuments MenThe Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel — A different perspective into Nazi atrocities. This time the victims are the art works in Europe. A special force of American and British museum directors, curators, art historians, and others, called the Monuments Men, risked their lives to prevent the destruction of thousands of years of culture under Hitler’s order and for his private gains. George Clooney, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett star. Downton fans, Hugh Bonneville is also in. I’ve seen a doc based on Edsel’s other book The Rape of Europa, which is excellent. I eagerly await The Monuments Men.

Death Comes to PemberleyDeath Comes to Pemberley by P. D. James — BBC will produce this Austen’s Pride and Prejudice spin-off. Will it shift our devotion for Darcy from Colin Firth to Matthew Rhys? Not a chance. So why do it, especially when the book is overwhelmingly lackluster (there’s a new oxymoron for you). Lots of alterations will be needed for it to be put on screen. Here’s my take on the book.


AustenlandAustenland by Shannon Hale — Jane Austen spinoffs have to work extra hard to capture a wider audience, considering there are multitudes in the male population who avoid reading even the brilliant, original author Jane herself. Further, these imaginary sequels to P & P even have to woo female Austen purists. Kerri Russell stars, Stephenie Meyer produces. Maybe Meyer is ok with just reaching her own fans. If you’re not an Austen purist, here’s a beach read for you.


RebeccaRebecca by Daphne Du Maurier — Currently in development by Steven Spielberg’s Dreamworks. Do you think the 1940 Hitchcock film needs a makeover? Who should replace Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine? A new adaptation means drawing attention once again to Du Maurier’s novel, attracting first time readers. Good choice for book group, especially when you can read, discuss and watch movie together after.


Far from the Madding CrowdFar From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy — Carey Mulligan’s next literary adaptation after The Great Gatsby. I’m glad she’s got this role, but, can she beat Julie Christie’s 1967 rendition of Bathsheba? The new version will be helmed by rising star director Thomas Vinterberg (The Hunt). Belgium actor Matthias Schoenaerts (Rust and Bone) and Juno Temple (in talks) also on board. I can see that all these remakes of classic films of literary adaptations are geared at a new generation of viewers. And I say, it’s alright. Another movie version just may draw more attention to reading literature.

the-grapes-of-wrathThe Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck — Just as we speak, Steven Spielberg’s Dreamworks is in talks with John Steinbeck’s estate to acquire the film rights, again, to remake another 1940 classic, this one with John Ford directing Henry Fonda. If the talk is successful, which I don’t doubt, who do you think should be in this new version? The book is on my TBR list with East of Eden, which also had plan for a new adaptation a few years back but since no more news had come out.



Upcoming Book to Movie Adaptations

Summer Viewing List

Can a movie adaptation ever be as good as the book?

My Review of:

The Artist

Atonement: Book Into Film

Anna Karenina: Book

Anna Karenina: Movie

Death Comes to Pemberley


Published by


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.

32 thoughts on “Summer Reading for Future Viewing”

    1. Turn the Page Reviews,

      Yes, he’s a versatile actor. Have you seen him in Cloud Atlas? Just found out today Far From the Madding Crowd has a new adaptation coming up as well.


        1. It’s quite good, better than I expected. I haven’t read the book, so maybe that’s why since I wasn’t comparing and judging it that way.


  1. I just picked up the Gaiman book and can’t wait to read it.

    I read most of the Outlander series when I was working in a bookstore a lifetime ago. I initially bypassed it because it seemed to fall under the romance genre and most of the special orders I received went to ladies in their 50’s. Every person who came to pick up their books in the series raved, so I picked up a store copy and ended up buying the first 4 books and I remember waiting in anticipation for the release of the 4th. I think I would give that one a look when it comes out. I ended up marrying a big Scottish Canadian redhead… No influence, I am sure! LOL!

    I picked up the Grapes of Wrath when I knew I was moving to Oklahoma. It was so well written and a very heavy read. I didn’t feel the 1940 film captured the hopelessness and I felt depressed for some time after reading it. At the time of the film, I wonder how people received it with one foot still in the Depression and the other headed toward war?


    1. Michelle,

      You’re be more prepared to watch these movies than I am. I haven’t read any of the Outlander novels, nor Gaiman, albeit I plan to read Ocean. I’m also impressed by your prep. in your move to OK. I’ve read some of Steinbeck’s shorter novels only, but would want to read East of Eden and Grapes of Wrath before the films come out. Have a great summer and enjoy your reads! 😉


  2. So many exciting projects; I didn’t know about the PD James adaptation and disappointed to hear the book wasn’t so great; I’m a fan of her detective stories. Still, as we all know, many a fine film has been made from a mediocre book – and many a mediocre movie has been made from a brilliant book. Good luck to Spielberg I guess; it will be a challenge to make a screen adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath that lands anywhere in the hallowed territory that John Ford and Henry Fonda carved out. And Rebecca too, eh? What chutzpah! I agree a film will bring more readers to the book – look what Baz did for Gatsby sales -and while I’d hardly say we NEED another Rebecca I have to admit I’d love to see Jessica Chastain take on the Joan Fontaine role. I know I know. I’m a broken record about Jessica who, btw, is supposedly NOT being considered for Gone Girl, the adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s thriller that’s in the works. I just posted the news today that director David Fincher wants Ben Affleck for the part of Nick- Fincher and author Flynn are writing the script together; it’s not a done deal yet but it’s looking pretty solid.


    1. Sim,

      You’re absolutely right about the bad book/good movie or good book/bad movie observation. If you’ve read my review of Jame’s book, you’d know I’ve put all the blame on the editor 😦 Some are just facts finding, some are redundant sentences… etc. So, I’m sure the screenwriter can do a lot to make it more dramatic and appealing. As for Jessica Chastain, she’s one of if not my top faves nowadays. And I sure hope she can find some good roles in the coming years. Now as to who best to renew Olivier and Fontaine? Carey Mulligan looks innocent enough to be a good choice I think, as for Maxim, how about Michael Fassbender?


  3. Wow — I especially am interested in Monuments Men — I’m fascinated by the Nazi/Art story and Rape of Europa was a wonderful film. (Didn’t read it; it was a book too, right?). Not so hot on sci-fi but there are others that look good here — especially the Hanks ones, but then he generally makes very good choices. The Austens intrigue me, and I haven’t read the James version — was going to look for it at the used book store. All in all a great overview. Thanks, Arti!


    1. Jeanie,

      Yes, I think Monuments Men would be on top of my TBV list. Hope it will come here to Cowtown when it’s released. I saw Rape of Europa on TV and was captivated. It’s based on the book of the same name by the same author who wrote Monuments Men. I’m not a Sci-fi fan either. But was surprised to be enthralled by the movie Cloud Atlas and I must say, by Hanks’ roles in there too. James’s P & P sequel? Maybe read my review first and if you’re still curious, then go for it. 😉 Austenland is a light, quick beach read.


    1. Vidyatiru,

      Welcome! Hope you’ll have the time to catch up with your TBR before the films come out. Hope to hear from you again. 😉


    1. Diane,

      I’m listening to the audiobook of Under the Dome. I’ve already missed four episodes of the TV series, so I think I’ll settle with the book. Stephen King sure is one captivating storyteller.


  4. I just bought Ocean At The End Of The Lane and can hopefully get it read this summer. I rented Outlander from the library but just couldn’t get into it. Does it seem to start slowly? Maybe that’s it. It is such a hit I’m wondering what I am missing. And….N.O. we do not need a re-make of Rebecca. What’s the point? How can they hope to find a better cast than the original…Including Judith Anderson as Mrs. Danvers (she gives me the shivers) or George Sanders as Jack Favell? Impossible.


    1. Grad,

      I just started listening to the audiobook of Dome. It’s quite captivating so far. I haven’t read any of the Outlander books. Michelle above did comment about her reading experience of Outlander. Read her comment and see if it’s helpful. 😉

      As for Rebecca, or Far From the Madding Crowd which I just added in, all these literary remakes are good for attracting a new generation of viewers and to draw them to reading literature. A look at the ripple effects of the new movie version of The Great Gatsby confirms to me that yes, movie remakes can definitely boost book sales, and draw contemporary readers’ attention back to reading the classics and literature.


  5. Haven’t read Under the Dome but husband has and we’ve been watching the show. It’s good enough that we keep tuning in but I wouldn’t call it fantastic. Heard about Outlander just a few days ago. That one will be interesting. Looks like lots of other potentially good ones in store though I am not keen on Grapes of Wrath being remade. Henry Fonda was perfect in it.


    1. Stefanie,

      I’m listening to the audiobook of Under The Dome right now, and it’s riveting so far. Not sure if I’ll follow the TV show since I’ve missed 4 Episodes already. And, I’d like to see what King has written rather than what the screenwriters have done. I’ve just added one more title, and that’s Far from the Madding Crowd, which stars Carey Mulligan. I’m looking forward to it, but not until 2014. Time to read the book first. 😉


  6. So many interesting series and film or TV films to watch for. I think I would like to see Monuments Men as the actors scheduled to play in it are some of my favorites. I was going to read Death comes to Pemberley from my Library then after reading the reviews decided not to – I have too many books on my shelves.
    Right now I am reading “time was soft there – a Paris sojourn at Shakespeare & Co.” by Jeremy Mercer. Jeremy is a Canadian writer who spent time at the famous Paris bookstore as a lodger – I am half way through it and have learnt a lot about the bookstore.


    1. Vagabonde,

      I’m really interested in this Jeremy Mercer book you mentioned. I’ve been to Shakespeare and Co. when I visited Paris a few years ago, and impressed by its owner offering writers to stay there. But you must have been there numerous times since you’ve lived in Paris for a long time. A post on that historic bookstore on Recollections of A Vagabonde?


  7. “The Monuments Men” is the one I’d pull from this list. It sounds fascinating, and of course appeals to my love of non-fiction. Right now, I’ve just started a book I’ve had for months, about a caravansary in – Texas! Once I get it read, it will be time for a road trip. With luck, I’ll finish the book in tandem with a drop in temperatures. 😉


    1. Linda,

      If you’re interested in Monuments Men, you’ll probably like to read In the Garden of Beasts, a bio of U.S. ambassador Wm Dodd in Hitler’s Berlin. It reveals some facts I didn’t know before, such as the aloofness and anti-semitic views of U.S. government and people regarding Hitler’s regime. There were even Nazi demonstrations right in the U.S. homeland. I was a little surprised. This falls right in line with Bonhoeffer’s bio, and his observations during his stay in America. I’m sure the movie will make it more dramatic and entertaining.


  8. I want to read Under the Dome, especially as I’ve heard it is (unsurprisingly) better than the TV show. I’ve not enjoyed a Stephen King novel for a while so I am hoping reading along side this series may help.

    I’m not sure I can imagine Rebecca on screen, especially as I imagine the protagonist looking like the girl on the cover of The Bell Jar. I have a feeling Hollywood would make her too pretty.

    Ultimately, if it gets people reading the books I’m all for the adaptations.


    1. Alice,

      Actually, with the gothic overtone, suspense, and a damsel in distress, Rebecca is a ready film in the making. The issue here is whether loyal fans of Olivier and Fontaine would like to see a new version.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment. Hope to hear from you again. 😉


  9. Thank you for this terrific summary, Arti. I agree with you about the PDJames book — I had it on audio and nearly forgot about finishing it when I got bored at one point. I found that I never really cared what happened or how.

    Some years ago, I read Outlander and maybe a book or two beyond the series. But there are multitudes of characters that I couldn’t keep track of. I do remember the anticipation (on Diana Gabaldon’s blog) when the book was optioned as fans nominated their favorite actor for the part of Jaime.

    May have to borrow a copy of the 1940s Rebecca. I listened to the audiobook a while ago and loved the suspense.


    1. nikkipolani,

      I haven’t read any Outlander, but have known its popularity. So maybe they do have a huge fan based for the TV series. As for the 1940 Rebecca, I took it out of the library and watched it just a few days ago. My thoughts? Wait for the post. 😉


  10. It’s interesting – I tend to think of myself as someone who’ll read very widely, and yet the majority of these books are ones that don’t interest me, not being a sci-fi/fantasy fan. And I like Austen’s original novels far more than the spin-offs. However! I love Rebecca and really hope they produce a wonderful movie from it. It could stand an updated version.


    1. litlove,

      You see, I’m not a sic-fi /fantasy/ vampire/zombies fan, so haven’t read any of the ones on this list. This is the first list I’ve focused more on these genres. As for Austen, oh yes, nothing beats the original. BTW, congrats on your new £10 banknote! Mark Carney who used to be the Gov. of the Bank of Canada, sure did the right thing after taking up his new post in England. 😉


  11. Have been meaning to comment on this for a while now. There are books there I’ve not heard of and that I’d probably not worry about reading first. There are so old favourites there, like Rebecca, Far from the madding crowd and The grapes of wrath that will be interesting to see in new versions. And there are some there that intrigue me and I’d love to read, hopefully before the movie, such as Eric Larson and Edsel. I will of course go see Death comes to Pemberley, if I can, even though the book was disappointing, and Austenland, though I don’t plan to read the book. Thanks as usual for keeping me informed – I know of a few of these but not most of them.


    1. WG,

      Have seen a few indie films in the past weeks. If these go to your area, they make good summer viewing: Much Ado About Nothing, Before Midnight, and Frances Ha. Not from books except the Shakespeare. Eagerly waiting for Woody Allen’s new one Blue Jasmine with Cate Blanchett. Early Oscar buzz for her performance.


      1. Thanks Arti. we’ve seen Before midnight …. Really enjoyed it. I think Frances Ha is coming … I’ve seen flyers but I don’t think the film is here yet. much ado about nothing is here …. And is on our list to see but we may not make it.

        And yes, greatly looking forward to Blue Jasmine …


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