Each year, dozens of novels, short stories, and memoirs are transformed by Hollywood into movies with glitz, glamour, and award buzz. Famous dress in gowns and tuxedoes, celebrating roles that originated from a pen or typewriter years beforehand. These eight books inspired some of the films being buzzed about today. P.S.: don't forget that you can also check out movies from the library!
My Abandonment, by Peter Rock
13-year-old Caroline and her father have been living in secret at a Portland, OR, park for four years now. Her father, a Vietnam vet with PTSD, buys groceries in town once a week. Caroline stays concealed from the world, learning from encyclopedias and other books in their makeshift library. When a mistake allows a jogger to discover them, their way of life changes – and a deeper fight begins. Rock’s 2009 novel became the basis for Leave No Trace, which was released earlier this year, is available now at the library, and has a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
If Beale Street Could Talk, by James Baldwin
This 1974 novel, set in Harlem, follows the relationship of 19-year-old Tish and 22-year-old Fonny. As they get engaged and announce they are expecting a child, Fonny is falsely accused of raping a woman. Tish works to clear Fonny’s name and get him released from jail before their child is born. The film of the same name is being directed by Barry Jenkins, the director of last year’s Oscar-winning Best Picture Moonlight.
Beautiful Boy, by David Sheff, and Tweak, by Nic Sheff
This pair of memoirs details two sides of a father-son relationship severely impacted by the son’s (Nic Sheff) addiction to meth. David deals with balancing love for his son with the realization that Nic is a danger to their family. The film, titled Beautiful Boy, stars Oscar-nominated actors Steve Carrell and Timothée Chalmet.
One of the defining movies of the year got its start as a comic book series. Now, you can find almost anything Black Panther-related at the library, no matter your age or reading level. Three volumes of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ flagship Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet have been bound and are on our shelves. You can also check out spinoffs, children’s picture books, parts of Christopher Priest’s classic Black Panther run, and more. You can also grab the movie itself from our shelves!
Black Klansman, by Ron Stallworth
Working with his partner Chuck, officer Ron Stallworth – the Colorado Springs Police Department’s first black detective – tries to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan. The department has its own racial prejudices, however, and Stallworth most overcome fierce hostility as he sabotages cross burnings and exposes white supremacists. The book, written by Stallworth himself, details a searing portrait of a divided American and the extraordinary heroes who dare to fight back. The film (BlackKlansman) was directed by Spike Lee and stars John David Washington (son of Denzel) and Adam Driver - it's already available at the library.
The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
16-year-old Starr Carter has two different worlds. She is a black teen living in the mostly poor, black neighborhood. She also attends an affluent, predominantly white private school. Though she tries to keep these worlds separated, they are brought violently together after a police officer shoots and kills her friend Khalil during a traffic stop. This 2017 book was considered by many publications as one of the best books of the year. The 2018 film, starring Amandla Sternberg, has been widely acclaimed, with a 96% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Boy Erased, by Garrard Conley
Garrard Conley’s moving memoir details life in a conversation therapy program that promised to “cure” him of homosexuality. After being outed as gay at 19-years-old to his fundamentalist parents, he was given a choice: be disowned from his family or attend the program. Conley exposes the camp’s tactics and writes about how he found the strength to reach out in search of his true self. The film version stars Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, and Russell Crowe.