17 Books to Read in 2017 (Before They Become Movies)

1. Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

Hidden-Figures-Margot-Lee-Shetterly.jpgMovie Release Date: January 6, 2017

Synopsis: 

Starting in World War II and moving through to the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement and the Space Race, Hidden Figures follows the interwoven accounts of Dorothy Vaughan  Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson  and Christine Darden, four African American women who participated in some of NASA’s greatest successes. It chronicles their careers over nearly three decades they faced challenges, forged alliances and used their intellect to change their own lives, and their country’s future. (Amazon)

 

 

Read it, and read it fast. The film, starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe, hits theaters January 6th.

2. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

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Show Release Date: January 13, 2017

The Netflix Original Series will be off to a bad beginning with eight episodes. Due to the popularity of the books, and Netflix’s success with original content, expect more episodes in the future.

Neil Patrick Harris stars as Count Olaf.

Synopsis: 

A very unfortunate tale of miserable orphans that you, dear reader, should not read. It would behoove you to do something more pleasant with your time, such as frolicking in a field of flowers. However, if you do not heed this advice and read anyway, you will discover the story of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny, three siblings who were left orphans after a tragic fire killed both their parents. The series of thirteen unlucky books follows the children’s misfortunes and their attempts to avoid Count Olaf as he calculates various ways to steal the fortune they inherited.

3. Live By Night by Dennis Lehane

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Movie Release Date: January 13, 2017

Ben Affleck writes, directs, and stars in his second Dennis Lehane adaptation (the first was Affleck’s directorial debut of Gone Baby Gone). Also starring are Zoe Saldana, Elle Fanning, Chris Messina, and Sienna Miller.

Synopsis: 

Boston, 1926. The ’20s are roaring. Liquor is flowing, bullets are flying, and one man sets out to make his mark on the world. Prohibition has given rise to an endless network of underground distilleries, speakeasies, gangsters, and corrupt cops. Joe Coughlin, the youngest son of a prominent Boston police captain, has long since turned his back on his strict and proper upbringing. Now having graduated from a childhood of petty theft to a career in the pay of the city’s most fearsome mobsters, Joe enjoys the spoils, thrills, and notoriety of being an outlaw. (Goodreads)

4. The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman

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Movie Release Date: March 31, 2017

Jessica Chastain stars in the true story of a working wife and mother who became a World War II hero.

Synopsis: 

After their zoo was bombed, Polish zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski managed to save over three hundred people from the Nazis by hiding refugees in the empty animal cages. With animal names for these “guests,” and human names for the animals, it’s no wonder that the zoo’s code name became “The House Under a Crazy Star.” Best-selling naturalist and acclaimed storyteller Diane Ackerman combines extensive research and an exuberant writing style to re-create this fascinating, true-life story—sharing Antonina’s life as “the zookeeper’s wife,” while examining the disturbing obsessions at the core of Nazism. (Goodreads)

5. Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Wonder-RJ-Palacio.jpgMovie Release Date: April 7, 2017

Jacob Tremblay (Room) stars alongside Julia Roberts in Wonder. Stephen Chbosky, the author, screenwriter and director behind The Perks of Being a Wallflower, directs the adaptation.

Synopsis: 

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances? (Goodreads)

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Auggie (Jacob Tremblay) and his mother (Julia Roberts), © Photo by Dale Robinette C Lionsgate 2016

6. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

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Movie Release Date: April 7, 2017

Synopsis: 

What if you had only one day to live? What would you do?

Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life? 

Samantha Kingston has it all: the world’s most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.

Instead, it turns out to be her last.

Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing. (Lauren Oliver Books)

In 2014, Lauren Oliver’s Delirium trilogy (Delirium, Pandemonium, and Requiem) almost became a TV show starring Emma Roberts.

Now,  Before I Fall makes its way to the big screen.

7. The Circle by Dave Eggers

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Movie Release Date: April 28, 2017

Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, and John Boyega star in The Circle.

Synopsis: 

When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world—even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge. (Amazon)

8. The Lost City of Z by David Grann

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Movie Release Date: April 2017

Charlie Hunnam (King Arthur: Legend of the Sword), Robert Pattinson (Twilight Saga, Remember Me), Sienna Miller (Live By Night), and Tom Holland (Spiderman: Homecoming) star in this adaptation of a true story.

Synopsis: 

In 1925, the legendary British explorer Percy Fawcett ventured into the Amazon jungle, in search of a fabled civilization. He never returned. Over the years countless perished trying to find evidence of his party and the place he called “The Lost City of Z.” In this masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, journalist David Grann interweaves the spellbinding stories of Fawcett’s quest for “Z” and his own journey into the deadly jungle, as he unravels the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century. (Amazon)

9. The Dark Tower by Stephen King

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Movie Release Date: July 28, 2017

Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey star in The Dark Tower, a quasi-sequel to the last book in the Dark Tower series, The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower.

Synopsis: 

The Dark Tower series tells the story of Roland Deschain, Mid-World’s last gunslinger, who is traveling southeast across Mid-World’s post-apocalyptic landscape, searching for the powerful but elusive magical edifice known as The Dark Tower. Located in the fey region of End-World, amid a sea of singing red roses, the Dark Tower is the nexus point of the time-space continuum.  It is the heart of all worlds, but it is also under threat. Someone, or something, is using the evil technology of the Great Old Ones to destroy it. (Stephen King)

10. It by Stephen King

51meixuanql-_sx326_bo1204203200_Movie Release Date: September 8, 2017

Bill Skarsgård, who portrayed Matthew in Allegiant, becomes Pennywise in Stephen King’s It.

Finn Wolfhard, known for his role as Mike Wheeler in Netflix’s Stranger Things, also stars in the adaptation.

Synopsis: 

Welcome to Derry, Maine. It’s a small city, a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry the haunting is real.

They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they are grown-up men and women who have gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But the promise they made twenty-eight years ago calls them reunite in the same place where, as teenagers, they battled an evil creature that preyed on the city’s children. Now, children are being murdered again and their repressed memories of that terrifying summer return as they prepare to once again battle the monster lurking in Derry’s sewers. (Amazon)

It will be the second Stephen King adaptation in 2017.

11. The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin

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Movie Release Date: October 20, 2017

Kate Winslet and Idris Elba star in this adaptation of Charles Martin’s novel. Chris Weitz, the screenwriter behind Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, wrote the screenplay.

Synopsis: 

On a stormy winter night, two strangers wait for a flight at the Salt Lake City airport. Ashley Knox is an attractive, successful writer, who is flying East for her much anticipated wedding. Dr. Ben Payne has just wrapped up a medical conference and is also eager to get back East for a slate of surgeries he has scheduled for the following day. When the last outgoing flight is cancelled due to a broken de-icer and a forthcoming storm, Ben finds a charter plane that can take him around the storm and drop him in Denver to catch a connection. And when the pilot says the single engine prop plane can fit one more, if barely, Ben offers the seat to Ashley knowing that she needs to get back just as urgently. And then the unthinkable happens. The pilot has a heart attack mid-flight and the plane crashes into the High Uintas Wilderness– one of the largest stretches of harsh and remote land in the United States.

Ben, who has broken ribs and Ashley, who suffers a terrible leg fracture, along with the pilot’s dog, are faced with an incredibly harrowing battle to survive. Fortunately, Ben is a medical professional and avid climber (and in a lucky break, has his gear from a climb earlier in the week). With little hope for rescue, he must nurse Ashley back to health and figure out how they are going to get off the mountain, where the temperature hovers in the teens. Meanwhile, Ashley soon realizes that the very private Ben has some serious emotional wounds to heal as well. He explains to Ashley that he is separated from his beloved wife, but in a long standing tradition, he faithfully records messages for her on his voice recorder reflecting on their love affair. As Ashley eavesdrops on Ben’s tender words to his estranged wife she comes to fear that when it comes to her own love story, she’s just settling. And what’s more: she begins to realize that the man she is really attracted to, the man she may love, is Ben. (Goodreads)

12. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

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Movie Release Date: November 22, 2017

Kenneth Branagh directs this adaptation of an Agatha Christie classic, starring himself as Hercule Poirot, Daisy Ridley as Mary Debenham, and Johnny Depp as Ratchett.

Synopsis: 

Just after midnight, a snowdrift stops the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train is surprisingly full for the time of the year, but by the morning it is one passenger fewer. An American tycoon lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside.

Isolated and with a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must identify the murderer – in case he or she decides to strike again. (Agatha Christie)

 

13. Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle

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Movie Release Date: November 22, 2017

Screenwriters Kay Cannon (Pitch Perfect), Scott Neustadter (The Fault in Our Stars), and Michael Weber (The Fault in Our Stars) adapted this set of interconnected stories written by John Green (The Fault in Our StarsPaper Towns), Maureen Johnson (The Name of the Star), and Lauren Myracle (The Internet Girls series).

Synopsis: 

A Christmas Eve snowstorm transforms one small town into a romantic haven, the kind you see only in movies. Well, kinda. After all, a cold and wet hike from a stranded train through the middle of nowhere would not normally end with a delicious kiss from a charming stranger. And no one would think that a trip to the Waffle House through four feet of snow would lead to love with an old friend. Or that the way back to true love begins with a painfully early morning shift at Starbucks. Thanks to three of today’s bestselling teen authors—John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle—the magic of the holidays shines on these hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and breathtaking kisses. (Barnes and Noble)

14. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

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Movie Release Date: 2017

Kirsten Dunst brings The Bell Jar to life in her directorial debut with Dakota Fanning in the lead role. The film begins production in 2017, but it does not have a release date.

Synopsis: 

Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under—maybe for the last time. In her acclaimed and enduring masterwork, Sylvia Plath brilliantly draws the reader into Esther’s breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes palpably real, even rational—as accessible an experience as going to the movies. A deep penetration into the darkest and most harrowing corners of the human psyche, The Bell Jar is an extraordinary accomplishment and a haunting American classic. (Goodreads)

15. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

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Movie Release Date: March 30, 2018

A best-selling novel adaptation directed by Steven Spielberg? Yes please.

The only downside to Spielberg directing the adaptation is his choice to take out all pop culture references to himself. Ready Player One references movies, TV shows, and video games, especially from the 1980s, so Spielberg was actually a presence within the novel. He said it would be “too self-referential” to keep his own contributions to pop culture within the film. However, the novel has so many other references, that it shouldn’t be a real problem. In fact, the sheer amount of pop culture references was one of the roadblocks to getting the film made, which had a movie deal before it was published in 2011. Rights had to be cleared or worked around.

Synopsis: 

In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines—puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.
But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape. (Amazon)

16. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

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Movie Release Date: April 6, 2018

Storm Reid (12 Years a Slave) stars alongside Oprah Winfrey, Rowan Blanchard (Girl Meets World), Reese Witherspoon, Zach Galifianakis, Chris Pine, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Mindy Kaling. With a star-studded cast and director Ava DuVernay at the helm, this is a must-see film, fit for a must-read book.

Synopsis: 

Meg Murry, her little brother Charles Wallace, and their mother are having a midnight snack on a dark and stormy night when an unearthly stranger appears at their door. She claims to have been blown off course, and goes on to tell them that there is such a thing as a “tesseract,” which, if you didn’t know, is a wrinkle in time.

Meg’s father had been experimenting with time-travel when he suddenly disappeared. Will Meg, Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin outwit the forces of evil as they search through space for their father? (Madeleine L’Engle)

17. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

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Movie Release Date: TBA

Jennifer Niven’s debut YA novel, All the Bright Places generated so much buzz at the Bologna Book Fair that it was optioned for a movie prior to its publication. Niven wrote the script, and Elle Fanning is already cast as the lead character, Violet Markey.

Synopsis: 

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death. Every day he thinks of ways he might kill himself, but every day he also searches for—and manages to find—something to keep him here, and alive, and awake.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her small Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school—six stories above the ground— it’s unclear who saves whom. Soon it’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink. . . .

 

Which book are you most excited to see brought to life? Let me know in the comments!

 

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