The Book List – What to Read Before You Watch

Are you ready for a summer full of awesome novels and entertainment?  You should be.  Between June and July a number of books are hitting the silver and small screens.  There’s still time lounge on the beach with one of these best sellers in hand before they premiere.

First up, we’ll be reviewing the movie version of JoJo Moyes’ heart-breaking Me Before You in two weeks, so you still have a chance to read it first and, well, get your heart broken. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

thenightmanager_4646x464a_0If you haven’t already watched The Night Manager, get on it.  Based off of the John le Carré book of the same name, the AMC miniseries stars Tom Hiddleston as former British soldier Jonathan Pine, working as a hotel night manager (bet you didn’t guess that!) who’s recruited by intelligence agents to infiltrate the inner circle of an arms dealer, Richard Onslow Roper, played by Hugh Laurie.  Le Carré has a huge following.  I’m not one of them.  I find his writing too dated for my liking, but this show looks intense and entertaining.  And Tom Hiddleston can do no wrong.

Tom Hiddleston as Jonathan Pine (Photo Credit: Des Willie/AMC)


For all you non-fiction and literary fans, be sure to read Max Perkins: Editor of Genius by Pulitzer-Prize winning author A. Scott Berg.  What is this?  It’s a biography about the life of the book editor for lit geniuses like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe.  Release date for the film is June 10th.  The film, titled Genius, stars the always dashing Colin Firth, Jude Law, and Nicole Kidman.

colin and jude
Colin Firth and Jude Law in Genius

Another novel to breeze through before June 21st is Queen of the South, or La Reina del Sur, by Arturo Perez-Reverte.  The bestseller chronicles the rise of Teresa Mendoza from petrified Mexican girlfriend of a dead drug runner to Queen of the South herself – the head of a drug trafficking network in southern Spain.  The book was turned into a successful telenovela by Telemundo.  Now the book and series is being Americanized for the – well – American audience by Fox 21 Television Studios.  The series, airing on USA June 21 at 10/9c, stars Alice Braga (I Am Legend) as Teresa.  You can read more here.  Novel2Screen hopes to bring you a more in-depth look at the book and show as the premiere approaches.

Alice Braga and Jon Ecker in Queen of the South

On the completely opposite end of the spectrum, The BFG hits theaters July 1st.  Maybe the title isn’t as familiar as some of Roald Dahl’s books like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or James and the Giant Peach, but The BFG is a wonderfully imaginative book about an orphan, Sophie, who befriends the BFG (Big Friendly Giant), and together they fight to capture the evil giants, who love to devour humans from Turkey – tasting like turkeys – and from Wellington – tasting like galoshes, of course – and from other areas of the world.  The book is full of ridiculous made-up words that kids will love to hear parents attempt to read.

Ruby Barnhill as Sophie with Mark Rylance as the BFG

The film was directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg and adapted to the screen by the late Melissa Mathison, known for E.T. fame.  So, it’s got some pretty big Hollywood players behind it, and Disney is looking for another smash out of the park with this film.

July also brings us The Legend of Tarzan, which I have no hope for, but who knows?  The Jungle Book was a huge success, so maybe audiences are craving a little jungle fever.  And it stars Margot Robbie, which pretty much means my husband will see it regardless.

margot robbie tarzan
Margot Robbie, quickly replacing Charlize as my hubby’s #1 crush.

Finally, we round out July with Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, set to release July 8th.  It is based on the book Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates and a Thousand Cocktails by Mike and Dave Stangle.  Yup.  Same Mike and Dave as those in the book.  Reviews seem to be all over the place with this book, from loving the comedy, to calling it boring, derivative, and hastily slapped together.  The film stars Adam DeVine and Zac Efron, along with Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza.  My gut tells me it can’t be too horrible to secure this solid cast.  Maybe I can entice Rebecca to see it if I promise one thousand cocktails during viewing. (Note from Rebecca: “That oughta do it.”)mikeanddave

That’s your Book List, folks!  Get reading, then get watching.  Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this line-up.

books 2

Follow Chris on Twitter @ACCooksonWriter or “like” our Facebook page Novel2Screen for more updates on your favorite novel-to-screen adaptations, including weekly recaps of “Outlander”!  

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