Summer Reads before the Coming Movies

What to read next? I’m sure that’s not a question in many readers’ mind as their TBR pile is high. But if you love to read the books before watching the movie adaptations, or looking for summer reads, here are some titles that might pique your interest.

Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple

Fun to listen to, love that voice in the audiobook. But if you’re a print aficionado, this  would make one breezy summer read and a movie to look forward to this fall. Cate Blanchett is Bernadett Fox, with Kristen Wiig and Judy Greer. Directed by Richard Linklater, who gave us the ‘Before…’ trilogy, Boyhood, and many other wonderful films.

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett 

Ann Patchett’s 2001 novel won the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Pen/Faulker Award. A world-renown opera singer is trapped in a hostage crisis and the subsequent events. Based on a true incident in the Japanese embassy in Lima, Peru in 1996-1997. A movie adaptation has been brewing for some years and finally it’s made. Julianne Moore plays the lead role. Directed by Paul Weitz (About A Boy)

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Kevin Kwan’s Crazy trilogy is highly readable. Don’t get turned off by the titles like I was at first. They’re no-holds-barred satires that are bound to be eye-openers to many readers. A modern day, Asian version of Lizzy meeting Mr. Darcy. Movie adaptation coming out later this summer and will be a testing ground for audience world-wide with its all Asian cast and director. “Fresh Off the Boat” TV series star Constance Wu plays NYU prof Rachel Chu, Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger), Ken Jeong (Dr. Ken) are in. Jon M. Chu (Now You See Me 2) directs.

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt

Among the multiple awards Canadian writer Patrick DeWitt won with his 2012 novel was the Stephen Leacock Medal, which means it’s very humorous. A story about the brothers who share the last name Sisters. If you’re into dark but comedic Westerns, here’s your pick. A-listers Jake Gyllenhaal, Joaquin Phoenix, John C. Reily star. Acclaimed French director Jacques Audiard (Rust and Bone) helms. Story takes place in Oregon and California during the 1850’s. Shot in Romania and Spain. That’s movie making today.


Other interesting titles just announced or in development:

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Entitled The Personal History of David Copperfield which I believe was the original Dickens title, is now being adapted once again into a contemporary version. Exciting to see old classics not only survive but getting creative remakes for modern-day appeal. This may not sit well with purists, but hey, our world is changing and spinning crazily every minute, so might as well enjoy the ride. This one stars Dev Patel as David Copperfield. You remember that’s the promising young man from Slumdog Millionaire, and after that, some worthy titles. He’s come a long way. An apt choice, I’d say. Tilda Swinton, Ben Whishaw, Hugh Laurie all in.

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

Benedict Cumberbatch acquired the film rights of Haig’s newest novel even before it’s published. So must be good. Cumberbatch will star as the 41 year-old man who actually has been living for centuries. Must contain some secrets of staying young, or maybe just a condition that you wouldn’t want. British novelist and journalist Haig’s books have been translated into 30 languages world-wide.

“The Judge’s Will” by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s last short story will be adapted into film to be directed by Alexander Payne. The ideal screenwriter for this one? James Ivory of course. Ismail Merchant, James Ivory, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, the literary-to-film triangle, my all time faves. You can read the story right here at The New Yorker online.


And here are some literary titles remade for TV series or movie on the small screen now or coming up:

King Lear by William Shakespeare

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Howards End by E. M. Forster 

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton




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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.

10 thoughts on “Summer Reads before the Coming Movies”

    1. Jeanie,

      I’m not sure if it will come to your area as I doubt it will have a wide release. Another film I forgot to add in here is The Wifeby Meg Wolitzer. I just watched the trailer in theatre so it must be coming my way. It stars Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce and Christian Slater. Looks very good! I might try to get hold of the book first. 🙂


  1. Just catching up after a couple of months of busyness.

    We saw Howards End here early this year, and my reading group decided we wanted to do the book which we will do in a couple of months.

    I remember enjoying Bel canto when I read it, though probably don’t rave over it as much as some do. However, I would be keen to see the film, particularly with Julianne Moore in it.

    The new David Copperfield sounds like a great cast.

    Oh and I saw The wife last week. Greatly enjoyed the film, though I haven’t read the book. I have also just seen On Chesil Beach, which I think captured my memory of the book’s main threads well. I seem to remember more depth in certain areas (of course) but I think it does a good job.


    1. WG,

      You mean the 2017 Howards End? It never came here which is a disappointment, although I’d always take the Merchant Ivory production as the definitive one though. Still remember all the umbrellas coming out of the concert and the Beethoven music. How do the two compare?

      I listened to the audiobook of The Wife and watched the trailer of the movie (hasn’t come to us yet for some reasons, albeit it premiered at Toronto Int. FF last year), and I think this is one of those cases where the movie just may be better than the book. Glenn Close’s performance is gathering an Oscar buzz.

      Another book / movie I highly recommend is Crazy Rich Asians. Don’t get turned off by the title. It’s a really well written trilogy (satire, of course) and the movie adaptation is a milestone since The Joy Luck Club 25 yrs. ago, with an all Asian cast, major studio production, very well done. Shot in Singapore. It opened last weekend here in North America and hit $35 million box office sales. A game changer for Asian American filmmakers and actors.

      Plan to read David Copperfield before the movie comes out. How about a leisurely Read-Along? 🙂


      1. Yes, the 2017 miniseries. I thought, as did my friends, that it was very good but it is a long time since I’ve read the book. I’m sorry but it’s so long since I saw that movie too that I couldn’t compare.

        Thanks re Crazy Rich Asian’s. I’ve heard good things about it. I think it is just opening here this week. I’ve seen trailers and I’m certainly intrigued.

        Close should be in the running for awards this season, I’d say.

        Oh dear, I’m tempted re DC but I’m now 5 months behind in my review copy reading so I really have to try to knuckle down.

        BTW I became a grandparent two months ago… that has involved two trips to Melbourne in two months. Time is getting more pressured.


            1. My son and DIL live in Toronto, and I just checked, that’s 3,414 kms away!! You’re lucky to be so close by. :)) I just might go there more often when I’m a GM. Haha. But for now, I go there for TIFF, yes soon in Sept.


            2. Yes, I know I’m lucky. I have a friend whose grandchildren are in Malaysia and Sweden, and another with grandchildren in Fiji (though returning soon) and New England (US). So, yes, I realise I’m comparatively lucky.


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