Top three books to read before their movies are released
Esin Aşan – ISTANBUL‘Gone Girl,’ Gillian Flynn
Cinema enthusiasts all around the world have been looking forward to David Fincher’s return since 2011’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” The hype surrounding “Gone Girl,” his upcoming book-to-film adaptation is proof of this. However, David Fincher’s directorial expertise is not the only reason behind the high expectations. Ben Affleck, Rosemund Pike (“Pride and Prejudice”), Tyler Perry (of the Madea fame) and Neil Patrick Harris (“How I Met Your Mother”, “Dr. Horrible”) star in this breathtaking psychological thriller. More importantly, the writer of the novel, Gillian Flynn, revisited her story as the screenwriter of the film and she made some minor changes to the ending.
(Release Date for Turkey: Oct. 10)
Why read the book: The dark and fast-paced story follows the lives of the married couple Nick and Amy Dunne. When Nick’s wife disappears after their fifth anniversary, he becomes the primary suspect. What makes the novel stand out is Flynn’s narrative style. The narrative sections, revolving around Nick’s perspective, are interlocked with the letters Amy left behind. The double-framed narrative is a literary device that cannot fully be translated to the big screen (even though Fincher is a master of adaptations and Flynn wrote the script herself). Moreover, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Flynn revealed that she changed the ending almost completely. It is worth reading the book only to decide which ending is better. The thrilling discoveries of the characters’ minds and the multiple sudden U-turns of the plot are some other reasons to read “Gone Girl” before watching the film.
‘Mockingjay,’ Suzanne Collins
The third installment of the four-movie-franchise “The Hunger Games” is sure to draw not only teenagers, but also adults to the theaters, just as the first two films did. Throughout the month of November last year, the posters of the movie were everywhere in Istanbul, in cinemas, billboards, and on the Internet. The film stars the famous trio Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth, and critically acclaimed actors like Donald Sutherland, Woody Harrelson, Julianna Moore, Stanley Tucci and Philip Seymour Hoffmann (who passed away before finishing his scenes, and thus will be incorporated using special effects). The first film of the franchise had not been labeled as a directorial success, but luckily, the director of the second film, which earned higher scores from critics, will returning for “The Hunger Games: - Part 1.”
(Release Date for Turkey: November 21)
Why read the book: It is a Young Adult novel and it features teenagers as main characters, but the plot and over-arching themes concern adults as well. The trilogy focuses on a post-world-war dystopic society where the country, named Panem, is broken into 12 factions and a Capitol. All the factions work to support the Capitol and each year, for the entertainment of the Capitol citizens, “The Hunger Games” are held. During the games, two members of each faction fights to the death, until there is only one person remaining. The first two books focused on the protagonist Katniss Everdeen, and the games themselves, but Mockingjay brings so much more into the picture. Capitol is seeking revenge from the rebels, mostly Katniss herself, and the rebels are not hesitant to fight back. The book is not praised by critics as well-written, but the strong political themes and commentaries are ones to discover. The plot is fast-paced and the novel captures the reader, but what makes the book worth reading before watching the film is the characters, especially the minor ones who unfortunately won’t see enough screen time, and their relationships with each other.
‘The Giver,’ Lois Lowry
The adaptation of the classic novel “The Giver” has been a long time coming. The rights for the movie adaptation of the book were purchased by Bill Cosby in 1994. The cast features masters like Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges, and Alexander Skarsgard (“True Blood”), Katie Holmes and Cameron Monaghan (“Shameless”) will be joining them. This is a predictable star cast, but the film features some surprising casting choices. Although she has previously starred in movies such as Valentine’s Day and TV shows such as “New Girl,” famous pop star Taylor Swift’s inclusion in the cast has sparked debates between fans of the book. The newcomer Brenton Thwaites will play the lead. “Salt” director Philip Noyce sits on the director’s seat.
(Release Date for Turkey: Not announced yet. Release Date for U.S.: 15 August)
Why read the book: It is a classic. First published in 1993, Lois Lowry’s children’s classic has been included in the reading lists of high school English classes all over the world, including Turkey. The story is set in a “perfect” society. There are no diseases or wars. There is no pain or fear. As the reader journeys further into the story, they start to realize that this society is not as perfect as it seems. Members of the society can’t make their own choices. There is no happiness or pleasure. Feelings have been eradicated and the people have to abide by their assigned roles. The only one who holds the memories of true feelings is The Giver. The protagonist, 11-year-old Jonas, is chosen to receive these memories from The Giver. The rest is a captivating story of adventure. Lois Lowry is a master of embellished descriptive details, which cannot be translated into a movie, at least not to this extent. For readers who are willing to discover the world of dystopia, this novel is a must-read and a great one to start with.