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Read It Before You Watch It: Five Books to Buy That Are Soon to Be Seen on Screen

The book was better.

How many times have you heard that one before? While that may not always be true, and you may not always agree, join the conversation and get in on the ground floor with these A-List books soon to grace screens, both big and small.

The Terror

God bless AMC. Not only did the cable TV giant give us one of the best dramas of all time in Breaking Bad, but they are also developing adaptations of two of the books on this list. First up is one of the greatest pieces of historical fiction ever written. This tale of the ill-fated 1845 Franklin expedition to the Arctic in search of the Northwest Passage envelopes you in the story so completely that you'll be pulling icicles out of your nose for weeks after you're done with this book. This novel is the best use of ice since skating was invented, so get your snowsuit on and dive in before this compulsively readable book becomes the next thing dominating your DVR.

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Next up on the development block for AMC is Joe Hill's NOS4A2. This pulpy horror yarn is about a sadistic killer named Charlie Manx, his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith (has there ever been a cooler name for a car?) and the one woman who can stop him. This is scary stuff indeed, but it's also wildly entertaining and subtly subversive. Just like the Wraith, this moves at breakneck speed towards a conclusion that is borderline bonkers, but extremely satisfying and well-earned nonetheless. Manx is one of the great modern literary villains and is sure to be a juicy role for any actor, so read it now and let the fantasy casting begin.

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The end of the world is just the beginning in this sprawling epic. When a disaster renders Earth uninhabitable, humanity has to abandon its home planet. This is what happens next. Hard sci-fi at its best, Stephenson manages to make even the most complex ideas accessible. You never knew that reading about gravity wells, bolides and nano-robots could be so exciting. Veteran director Ron Howard will be shepherding this onto the big screen, and while he can be hit or miss, the source material here is so strong that this is sure to be a winner. Spanning millennia, with a cast of multiple characters, this thing is a minor miracle, massive in scope but somehow still character driven. Read it first and then see if Mr. Howard can pull off the same trick.

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As director of Ex Machina, one of the best and most surprising films of 2015, Alex Garland's cool, detached, and Kubrick-like sensibilities will no doubt be a perfect fit for this book, the first in the Southern Reach Trilogy. Garland's adaptation doesn't hit theaters until next year, so that gives you all the time you need to devour these books. Super weird and unsettling, this is part sci-fi, part psychological thriller, part horror, and all amazing. Concerning the twelfth expedition into a mysteriously quarantined part of North America known as Area X, VanderMeer's crisp prose will burrow under your skin and stay there. Get this now, before it becomes the sleeper hit of 2018.

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Ready Player One

Quite simply one of the most enjoyable stories ever put to paper, Ernest Cline's debut novel is getting a film adaptation from the ultimate master. That's right, the godfather himself, Steven Spielberg, will bring this book to the big screen, and there is no one better suited for it. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for the Apple generation, the story of teenager Wade Watts and his search through the virtual reality world of OASIS for his own "golden ticket" is littered with pop culture references, brimming with emotion, and bursting from the page with high adventure. This novel is only for people who like amazing, fun, and flawless things. If you are one of those people who also does things like breathes air and blinks, you will love this book.

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Book lover, movie buff. Marketing copywriter for Bookwitty. A cat-person, a dog-person, and a person-person.


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