Read It First! Movie Adaptations in Theaters This Month

Elizabeth Graney, Librarian, Literature & Fiction Department,
Collage of films adapted from books

If you've heard it once, you've heard it a million times—the book was better! There's nothing like debating the differences between a favorite book and its translation to the screen. But if you don't know your beloved series is coming out as a movie or that the fun-looking preview you saw was adapted from a book, how can you join the debate? The library is here to the rescue! Here, we will be exploring the movie adaptations soon to hit screens big and small and give you the chance to read before you view.

Coming This December

Book cover for The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
Brown, Daniel James

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel Brown is the non-fiction account of the dark horse American 1936 Olympic crew team. Comprised of nine working-class students from the University of Washington, this team defeated the elite crew teams from both the East Coast and Britain to row against the German team. Starring Joel Edgerton, the film adaptation of this bestselling novel will premiere in theaters on December 25, 2023.

Book cover for The color purple
The Color Purple
Walker, Alice

Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Color Purple deals with the fate of African American women in the South in the 1930s. Told through the letters of a young African-American woman named Celie, the novel follows her and the women in her life over the course of 20 years. Walker’s critically acclaimed novel looks at the hardships and abuses these women had to endure and the beauty and redemptive power of their friendships. This newest film is an adaptation of the 2005 stage musical version of this novel. Starring Halle Bailey, Taraji P Henson, and Danielle Brooks, it will hit the big screen on December 25, 2023.

Book cover of Eileen
Moshfegh, Ottessa

Eileen Dunlop lives a sad life, spending her days taking care of her alcoholic father and working as a secretary at a boys’ prison and whiling away her nights fantasizing about escaping to the big city. So when the beautiful and charming Rebecca St John joins the staff as a boy’s counselor, Eileen is captivated. Enamored with her new friend, she soon finds herself drawn into something much darker than she could ever have imagined. Otessa Mosfegh’s debut novel Eileen was shortlisted for both the Man Booker Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. With Anne Hathaway and Thomasin McKenzie, the film version of Mosfegh’s darkly thrilling book will hit the silver screen on December 8, 2023.

Book cover of The end we start from
The End We Start From
Hunter, Megan

After a mysterious ecological crisis, a new mother and her child must flee a flooded London in search of safety. Megan Hunter’s The End We Start From contrasts the desperation of a world falling apart with the incredible hope of a new life just beginning. The film adaptation will star Jodie Comer and Benedict Cumberbatch and premiere on December 8, 2023.

Book cover for Erasure
Everett, Percival

After years of publishers rejecting his novels for not being "black enough," professor Thelonious "Monk" Ellison angrily writes a novel satirizing the publishing industry’s view of the African American experience. To his horror, this new novel is a huge hit, and Monk must confront his newfound fame and success. The film adaptation of Percival Everett’s Erasure, titled American Fiction, will be released on December 22, 2023.

Book cover for Leave the World Behind
Leave the World Behind
Alam, Rumaan

When Amanda and Clay take their family to Long Island for a week at a luxurious house rental, they expect a relaxing vacation away from the big city. But when Ruth and G.H. show up late at night and insist they are the owners of the house fleeing a blackout back in New York, both couples must decide who they can trust. Ruuman Alam’s atmospheric novel Leave the World Behind was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award. Starring Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, and Ethan Hawke, the film adaptation will premiere on Netflix on December 8, 2023.

Book cover of Poor things : episodes from the early life of Archibald McCandless M.D., Scottish public health offi
Poor Things
Gray, Alastair

In Poor Things, a beautiful young woman named Bella Baxter is brought back to life with her brain replaced by that of an infant. Though created to be the companion of the man who made her, Bella pursues other men and interests, thwarting his dreams. Alasdair Gray’s retelling of the classic Frankenstein examines social inequalities, relationships, and identity in Victorian Glasgow. The cinematic adaptation, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos and starring Emma Stone and Mark Ruffalo, will hit theaters on December 8, 2023.