To give you enough time to read them, here are the books — from "Crazy Rich Asians" to "Bel Canto" — that have been turned into movies that are likely to appear in Seattle-area theaters in the second half of 2018.
The worlds of books and movies frequently collide — and not just on the crowded surface of my desk. I like to keep an eye on the books-turned-movies world, to give myself time to read the book before the movie. Doing things in that order seems to me, most of the time, the most satisfying way to experience both forms. Generally I try to read the book far ahead of the movie, so I can forget some of it and the movie can hold some surprises. Hence this list, of movies likely to turn up here in the second half of 2018; happy reading (and watching)!
“BlacKkKlansman” (Aug. 10). Spike Lee’s latest movie, starring John David Washington (yes, he’s Denzel’s son) and Adam Driver, is based on Ron Stallworth’s 2014 memoir “Black Klansman.” Stallworth, a black detective with the Colorado Springs Police Department, infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the late 1970s, and wrote of his experiences.
“The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” (on Netflix Aug. 10). Word is that this long-awaited adaptation of Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows’ 2008 best-seller is bypassing theaters in the U.S. (that could change! Stay tuned!), but you can catch it on Netflix starting in August. “Downton Abbey” fans can rejoice; this cozy-sounding drama, set on the British isle of Guernsey after World War II, stars a number of Downton alums: Lily James (in the lead role of a London writer visiting Guernsey), Matthew Goode, Jessica Brown Findlay and Penelope Wilton.
“Crazy Rich Asians” (Aug. 15). I’m always going on about how much fun Kevin Kwan’s frothy, fashion-filled trilogy is to read, particularly in the summer. The movie is an adaptation of the first novel; the other two are “China Rich Girlfriend” and “Rich People Problems” (just out in paperback). All tell of the foibles of a superwealthy Singapore family, whose members are now spread around the world. Jon M. Chu directs the film, which stars Constance Wu, Henry Golding and Michelle Yeoh.
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“Juliet, Naked” (Aug. 17). British author Nick Hornby’s witty, character-filled books — “High Fidelity,” “About a Boy,” “A Long Way Down” — are always a pleasure, and often make for very good movies. This one, a love triangle involving a small-town English couple (Rose Byrne, Chris O’Dowd) and a reclusive American singer-songwriter (Ethan Hawke), sounds dangerously charming.
“The Little Stranger” (Aug. 31). I devoured this atmospheric 2009 Sarah Waters novel, about mysterious goings-on at an old British manor in post-World War II rural Britain. Its transition to the screen might be bumpy — I worry the book’s subtleties might get lost in horror-movie cliché — but the pedigree is promising: Lenny Abrahamson (“Room”) directs; Domhnall Gleeson, Ruth Wilson and a perfectly chilly Charlotte Rampling star.
“Boy Erased” (Sept. 28). Garrard Conley’s 2016 memoir told of his experiences as a college student being forced to undergo conversion therapy intended to “cure” him of homosexuality. It’s now a much-buzzed fall movie, directed by Joel Edgerton and starring Lucas Hedges, Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman.
“The Old Man & the Gun” (Oct. 5). This movie is based on an essay in an absolutely terrific collection: “The Devil & Sherlock Holmes,” by New Yorker writer David Grann (“Killers of the Flower Moon“). You’ll be drawn into every piece in this book (particularly a fascinating examination of an arson case, and the title story, about the mysterious death of a Sherlock Holmes aficionado), but the movie one’s pretty great: about an elderly criminal (played by Robert Redford in the film) who can’t give up the bank-robbing life.
“The Hate U Give” (Oct. 19). Angie Thomas’ YA novel, recipient of a number of literary awards (National Book Award long list, Coretta Scott King Honor, Edgar Allan Poe Award nominee), is the timely tale of a black teenager who sees police fatally shoot her unarmed friend. Amandla Stenberg (“Everything, Everything,” “The Hunger Games”) stars in the film; George Tillman Jr. directs, from a screenplay adaptation by Audrey Wells.
“The Girl in the Spider’s Web” (Nov. 9). This is the controversial fourth book in what a lot of us call the Lisbeth Salander series; the first three (also known as the Millennium Trilogy) were written by Swedish crime-fiction writer Stieg Larsson and posthumously published, while this one was commissioned by Larson’s estate. I haven’t felt compelled to read it yet, but I might have need to do so soon; if only for the reason that Claire Foy, so good in “The Crown,” is taking on the role of Salander in the movie. Just imagine THOSE two characters meeting up.
“Widows” (Nov. 16). British crime writer Lynda La Plante (“Prime Suspect”) wrote this as a TV series and an accompanying novel back in 1983 in the U.K.; this month, the book was finally published in the U.S. for the first time, and a movie version, directed by Oscar winner Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”) arrives in the fall, adapted for the screen by Gillian Flynn (“Gone Girl”). The story of a heist masterminded by the widows of a group of career criminals, it stars Viola Davis, Liam Neeson, Michelle Rodriguez and Daniel Kaluuya.
“Bel Canto” (fall TBD). Ann Patchett’s 2001 novel, in which a birthday party in an unnamed South American country turns into a hostage crisis, finally comes to the screen. Julianne Moore plays a famed American soprano caught in the standoff (opera star Renée Fleming provides vocals); Ken Watanabe is the wealthy industrialist hosting the party. Paul Weitz, whose “Grandma” was one of my favorite films of 2015, directs.