Read-It-First Round-Up, January/February 2015

Posted by Alison Osworth

The books are almost always better than the movies. At least, I can't think of one example where the movie is better. Sure, sometimes the movies are as good as the books, but then watching the movie has (most likely) spoiled the pacing of the book for you. Or it's made you imagine the characters in a way you never would've. Or it's just made you less likely to read the book. 

Well, you will think to yourself, I have watched the movie, which is almost like—nope, no don't even finish the thought. Instead, let's all make the commitment to read those books before we watch their movie adaptions.

Now Playing


Olive Kitteridge

Based on: The 2008 Novel by Elizabeth Strout (a Pulitzer Prize winner!) [Get this book]
From the Goodreads synopsis: "In a voice more powerful and compassionate than ever before, New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Strout binds together thirteen rich, luminous narratives into a book with the heft of a novel, through the presence of one larger-than-life, unforgettable character: Olive Kitteridge."
Where you can see it: This is a four part mini-series released by HBO. It's already concluded, but you can always watch it on HBO go. 


Based on: The children's book series by Michael Bond. [Get the first book in the series]
From the Goodreads synopsis: "Mr. and Mrs. Brown first met Paddington, a most endearing bear from Darkest Peru on a railway platform in London. A sign hanging around his neck said, "Please look after this bear. Thank you" So that is just what they did."
Where you can see it: This film has been widely released in theatres and is probably playing in a theatre near you right now!
Special note: My best friend's mom would never let her watch a movie if she hadn't read the book first (her mom's a librarian). I'm very jealous of this rule in my adult life and wish my parents had done the same. Just a thought.

American Sniper

Based on: The 2012 book American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History by Chris Kyle. [Get this book]
From the Goodreads synopsis: "From 1999 to 2009, U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle recorded the most career sniper kills in United States military history. The Pentagon has officially confirmed more than 150 of Kyle's kills (the previous American record was 109), but it has declined to verify the astonishing total number for this book. Iraqi insurgents feared Kyle so much they named him al-Shaitan (“the devil”) and placed a bounty on his head."
Where you can see it: This film had a limited release and it might not be in your local theatre. It has a Netflix release scheduled for later this year.
Special note: this movie and book are very violent, and many argue that both the movie and its source material are deeply racist and very disturbing. However, the movie has been reported as very different from the book in that it gives Chris Kyle a moral code he doesn't have in his own words. If you plan to see the movie, definitely read the book so you can make that judgement for yourself.

Still Alice

Based on: the novel by Lisa Genova of the same name. [Get this book]
From the Goodreads synopsis: "Alice Howland—Harvard professor, gifted researcher, and lecturer, wife, and mother of three grown children—sets out for a run and soon realizes she has no idea how to find her way home. She has taken the route for years, but nothing looks familiar. She is utterly lost. Medical consults reveal early-onset Alzheimer's."
Where you can see it: This movie, starring Julianne Moore and Kristin Stewart, had a fairly wide release in theatres and is likely still playing in a theatre near you.

Coming Home

Based on: The Criminal Lu Yanshi (sometimes translated as Guilty Lu Yanshi, or Inmate Lu Yanshi), by Yan Geling. [Get this book (in Chinese)]
From The Wall Street Journal: "The Criminal Lu Yanshi tells the story of a Chinese professor sent to a labor camp during the country’s “anti-rightist campaign” of the 1950s, a period during which more than a half-million Chinese were persecuted as intellectuals."
Where you can see it: this is a small release in the US with Sony picking it up from China. If you are in a big city or near a theatre that plays international releases, you might be able to catch this film. It is subtitled.

Playing in February


The Seventh Son

Based on: The Spook's Apprentice by Joseph Delaney [Get this book]
From the Goodreads synopsis: "Thomas Ward is the seventh son of a seventh son and has been apprenticed to the local Spook. The job is hard, the Spook is distant and many apprentices have falled before Thomas. Somehow Thomas must learn how to exorcise ghosts, contain witches and bind boggarts. But when he is tricked into freeing Mother Malkin, the most evil witch in the County, the horror begins."
Where you can see it: This movie (also starring Julianne Moore, actually) is a Nationwide release and will likely be playing in your local theatre starting February 6th.

Love, Rosie

Based on: A book of the same name by Cecelia Ahern [Get this book]
From the Goodreads synopsis: "From the bestselling author of PS, I Love You comes a delightfully enchanting novel about what happens when two people who are meant to be together just can't seem to get it right."
Where you can see it: This movie has a limited release in movie theatres, beginning on February 6th.

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Based on: The Secret Service: Kingsmen, a comic book series by Mark Millar [Get this book]
From the Amazon synopsis: "Gary's life is going nowhere. He lives in public housing with his mother and spends his nights carousing with his friends. But Gary's Uncle Jack has taken a different path of glamour, danger and mystery. When Jack has to get his nephew out of trouble, their lives are going to intersect in a way neither of them could have foreseen."
Where you can see it: This movie will release in movie theatres nationwide on February 13th.

Release dates courtesy of Movie Insider.