10 books to read before you see the films


On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

On Chesil Beach is a masterful short novel from Ian McEwan. It is July 1962. Edward and Florence, young innocents married that morning, arrive at a hotel on the Dorset coast. At dinner in their rooms they struggle to suppress their private fears of the wedding night to come and, unbeknownst to them both, the events of the evening will haunt them for the rest of their lives.

At cinemas now
Watch the trailer here


The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald

In a small East Anglian town, Florence Green decides, against polite but ruthless local opposition, to open a bookshop and turns the town into a battleground. Florence has tried to change the way things have always been done, and as a result, she has to take on not only the people who have made themselves important, but natural and even supernatural forces too.

At cinemas now
Watch the trailer here


The Wife by Meg Wolitzer

Joe and Joan Castleman are on route to Helsinki. Joe is thinking about the prestigious literary prize he is about to receive and Joan is plotting how to leave him. She has played the role of supportive wife for too long, turning a blind eye to his misdemeanours, subjugating her own talents and quietly being the keystone of his success. The Wife is an acerbic and astonishing take on a marriage.

Release date: 17 August
Watch the trailer here


Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Crazy Rich Asians is an outrageously funny novel about three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting and scheming that occurs when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season.

Release date: 30 August
Watch the trailer here


The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

Set in 1940s Warwickshire, England, this chilling ghost story describes a fateful visit by rural physician Dr. Faraday to the Ayres family’s decaying, but once great, Georgian house, who finds them haunted by something worse than their dying way of life. The Little Stranger was Sarah Waters’s fifth novel and her third to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

Release date: 31 August
Watch the trailer here


The Children Act by Ian McEwan

Justice Fiona Maye is a judge of the High Court, a woman whose decisions can literally make or break people’s lives. When she’s presented with the case of a 17-year-old Jehovah’s Witness who is refusing to have the blood transfusion that will save his life, she decides to visit him in hospital, spurring an unlikely friendship. The Children Act is the second novel from Ian McEwan on this list.

Release date: 9 September
Watch the trailer here


Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Based on the Japanese embassy hostage crisis (also called the Lima Crisis) of 1996–1997 in Lima, Peru, the novel follows the relationships among a group of young terrorists and their hostages, who are mostly high-profile executives and politicians, over several months. Many of the characters form unbreakable bonds of friendship, while some fall in love.

Release date: 14 September
Watch the trailer here


Ladies in Black by Madeleine St John

On the second floor of the famous F. G. Goode department store, in Ladies’ Cocktail Frocks, the women in black are girding themselves for the Christmas rush. With the lightest touch and the most tender of comic instincts, Madeleine St John conjures a vanished summer of innocence in 1950s Sydney. This Australian classic was originally published in 1993 as The Women in Black.

Release date: 20 September
Watch the trailer here


Lean on Pete by Willy Vlautin

Left largely to fend for himself by his wayward single father, 15-year-old Charley Thompson finds work with a surly horse trainer and forms a unique bond with an ageing quarter horse named Lean on Pete. When Charley learns Pete is bound for slaughter, the two embark on an odyssey across the new American frontier in search of a place to call home.

Release date: 25 October
Watch the trailer here


Wildife by Richard Ford

In this short and powerful novel, an observant teen details the slow destruction of his parents' marriage. When Joe Brinson’s family moved to Montana, a better life seemed within their reach. Instead, Joe’s parents drift further apart – his mother questioning the expanding female world of 1960s America, and his father struggling with what it means to be a man who can’t hold down a job or support his family.

Release date: 1 November
Watch the trailer here

Ladies in Black

Ladies in Black

Madeleine St John

$22.99Buy now

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