ByJancy Richardson, writer at
To avoid fainting, keep repeating 'It's only a movie...It's only a movie...'
Jancy Richardson

Hundreds of the greatest movies are based on incredible books - Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and Gone Girl to name a few - but we all know that the book offers something different.

It's an ongoing debate between film fans - should you read the book first or wait for the movie? - and we all know that this is one argument that can get pretty heated! Whatever side of the fence you come down on, it's worth knowing which upcoming cinema smashes began as imaginative, challenging, exciting and absorbing books.

Check out 15 books to read before everyone else has seen the movie...

1 - Still Alice

Author: Lisa Genova

Why it's great: Still Alice follows Dr Alice Howland as she is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's. Her actions and emotions are sensitively portrayed, refusing to strip down Alice's story as 'patient' or 'victim', showing the smart, fierce personality she remains.

Movie Starring: Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart, Alec Baldwin

Read the book before: January 16

2 - Testament of Youth

Author: Vera Brittain

Why it's great: Don't be put off by the colossal length of Brittain's ambitious, sprawling First World War memoir (of which Testament of Youth is only the first installment!), it's well worth the effort for any fan of finely-tuned detail, strong relationships and historical context.

Movie starring: Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington and Anna Chancellor.

Read the book before: January 16, if you're in the UK. US audiences will have to wait, as the date has not been officially released yet (groan!)

3 - Mortdecai

Author: Kyril Bonfiglioli

Why it's great: a roving romp of a novel, debonair libertine Charlie Mordecai dodges spies, Russians and terrorists to track down a painting containing the secrets to a hoard of Nazi Gold. A rip-roaring read.

Movie starring: Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ewan McGregor

Read the book before: January 23

4 - Brooklyn

Author: Colm Tóibín

Why it's great: the period setting as a young woman moves from Ireland to a new life in 1950's Brooklyn creates an evocative, unforgettable novel.

Movie starring: Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson and Emory Cohen with Nick Hornby on scriptwriting duties.

Read the book before: January 26

5 - Where Rainbows End (Love, Rosie)

Author: Cecelia Ahern (from her novel Where Rainbows End)

Why it's great: it's like One Day, but without the misery! This is one Brit Rom-Com the whole family can enjoy - but that's no reason not to indulge and beat the winter blues by reading it in peaceful solitude, preferably in a bubble bath with choccies on hand.

Movie starring: Lily Collins, Sam Claflin and Tamsin Egerton

Read the book before: February 6

6 - Serena

Author: Ron Rash

Why it's great: In the harsh American South of the Great Depression, a man struggles to maintain his livelihood in the timber industry upon learning that his wife is barren. I don't know about you, but I'm a sucker for American History and love reading about this kind of stuff...

Movie starring: Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper

Read the book before: February 26, 2015

7 - In the Heart of the Sea

Author: Nathaniel Philbrick

Why it's great: this modern day Moby Dick is actually a work of non-fiction, artfully rendering the stormy struggle of the whaleship Essex, which was overturned by a monster from the deep, leaving surviving crew members stranded and turning to cannibalism to survive.

Movie starring: Chris Hemsworth, Ben Whishaw, and Cillian Murphy

Read the book before: March 15, 2015

8 - The Moon and the Sun

Author: Vonda N. McIntyre

Why it's great: It's an alternative-history, science-fiction, historical romance about Merpeople in the time of Louis XIV, so it's definitely unique. Also, it beat George R. R. Martin's Game of Thrones to claim the 1997 Nebula Award, the greatest prize for a fantasy novel.

Movie starring: Pierce Brosnan, Kaya Scodelario and Benjamin Walker

Read the book before: April 10

9 - Child 44

Author: Tom Rob Smith

Why it's great: It's a gripping murder mystery with a thrillingly detailed historical backdrop. If you start reading this white-knuckle story of child murders in the Soviet Union on your commute to work, you are definitely gonna miss your stop.

Movie starring: Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace and Gary Oldman.

Read the book before: April 17

10 - Far from the Madding Crowd

Author: Thomas Hardy

Why it's great: However great the adaptation, no movie will be able to replicate the sheer pastoral poetry of Thomas Hardy. Plunge into the richly textured world of Bathsheba Everdene (yup, bet you didn't know that's where Katniss' name comes from!) and prepare for the emotional gut-punch.

Movie starring: Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts and Tom Sturridge.

Read the book before: May 1

11 - Paper Towns

Author: John Green

Why it's great: The teen-whisperer who brought you The Fault in Our Stars returns with similarly dark Young Adult material in Paper Towns, a tale of kids finding a dead body and seeking revenge on those who've hurt them...

Movie starring: Nat Wolff, Cara Delevingne and Justice Smith.

Read the book before: June 5, 2015

12 - A Walk in the Woods

Author: Bill Bryson

Why it's great: Acclaimed traveller and memoirist Bill Bryson brings his trademark humor to his epic walk along the Appalachian Trail, taking in some of America's most beautiful, verdant scenery whilst noting intriguing points of cultural history along the way.

Movie starring: Robert Redford, Mary Steenburgen and Nick Nolte

Read the book before: August 19

13 - The Martian

Author: Andy Weir

Why it's great: Those who loved the raw loneliness of space brought to life in Gravity and Interstellar should settle down to read The Martian these cold winter nights. The book follows an American astronaut who is stranded on Mars, battling to survive in the harsh terrain of the Red Planet.

Movie starring: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain and Kristen Wiig. It's also directed by Ridley frackin' Scott.

Read the book before: November 25, 2015

14 - A Thousand Splendid Suns

Author: Khaled Hosseini

Why it's great: Hosseini's first novel The Kite Runner was so well-loved it's joined the ranks of texts taught in school literature classes, so the much awaited follow-up was highly anticipated - and didn't disappoint. This tale of two Afghan women over 40 years of hopes, dreams and relationships is un-put-down-able.

Movie starring: Steven Zaillian will write and direct, while cast members have not yet been announced.

Read the book before: some time in 2015. No definite release date has been confirmed, so you may have longer to tackle this absorbing read!

15 - Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Author: Ransom Riggs

Why it's great: The book is unique in that it's worked around old photos the author found, which are included in the book, giving it a macabre quality unmatched by words alone.

Movie starring: Eva Green, to be directed by Tim Burton

Read the book before: March 4 2016 (pushed back from July 31 2015)

Which books on the list have you already read?

Source: IMDB


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