Serena: A Novel
by Ron Rash
If Jennifer Lawrence doesn't win the Oscar for Best Actress this year for Silver Linings Playbook, you better believe early speculation for the 2014 Oscars will have people predicting her for the win as she once again teams with her Silver Linings co-star Bradley Cooper for Serena, directed by Susanne Bier (In a Better World).
Adapted from Ron Rash's New York Times notable book of the year and 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction finalist, this is a book described as a "gothic tale of greed, corruption, and revenge with a ruthless, powerful, and unforgettable woman at its heart, set amid the wilds of 1930s North Carolina and against the backdrop of America's burgeoning environmental movement."
From what I can tell, this might be the book to read on this list. Here's the full synopsis:
The year is 1929, and newlyweds George and Serena Pemberton travel from Boston to the North Carolina mountains where they plan to create a timber empire. Although George has already lived in the camp long enough to father an illegitimate child, Serena is new to the mountains--but she soon shows herself to be the equal of any man, overseeing crews, hunting rattle-snakes, even saving her husband's life in the wilderness. Together this lord and lady of the woodlands ruthlessly kill or vanquish all who fall out of favor. Yet when Serena learns that she will never bear a child, she sets out to murder the son George fathered without her. Mother and child begin a struggle for their lives, and when Serena suspects George is protecting his illegitimate family, the Pembertons' intense, passionate marriage starts to unravel as the story moves toward its shocking reckoning.
DIGITAL DEAL: "Serena" is only $2.99 on the Kindle. Buy it here.
The Last Apprentice (Revenge of the Witch)
by Joseph Delaney
Yup, another young adult novel is getting adapted and this one is based on Joseph Delaney's "The Last Apprentice" series. The film will star Jeff Bridges as Old Gregory, Julianne Moore as Mother Malkin and Ben Barnes as the titular apprentice, Thomas Ward.
For years, Old Gregory has been the Spook for the county, ridding the local villages of evil. Now his time is coming to an end. But who will take over for him? Twenty-nine apprentices have tried--some floundered, some fled, some failed to stay alive.
Only Thomas Ward is left. He's the last hope, the last apprentice.
DIGITAL DEAL: "The Last Apprentice (Revenge of the Witch)" is only $1.99 on the Kindle. Buy it here.
Warm Bodies: A Novel
by Isaac Marion
I've already written a lot about this one as Summit has been doing everything in their power to raise awareness of the film, which is directed by Jonathan Levine (50/50) and stars Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer. Problem is, once you start pushing a movie this hard, you start to wonder what's wrong with it.
I've heard, however, the books is quite good so who knows what we're going to get with this one.
R is having a no-life crisis--he is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he is a little different from his fellow Dead. He may occasionally eat people, but he'd rather be riding abandoned airport escalators, listening to Sinatra in the cozy 747 he calls home, or collecting souvenirs from the ruins of civilization.
And then he meets a girl.
First as his captive, then his reluctant house guest, Julie is a blast of living color in R's gray landscape, and something inside him begins to bloom. He doesn't want to eat this girl--although she looks delicious--he wants to protect her. But their unlikely bond will cause ripples they can't imagine, and their hopeless world won't change without a fight.
DIGITAL DEAL: "Warm Bodies" is almost $3 cheaper for the Kindle. Buy it here.
World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War
by Max Brooks
From a zombie rom-com to an all-out zombie war, we go to Max Brooks' "World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War" and its filmed adaptation, which has suffered problem after problem. Starring Brad Pitt and directed by Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace), World War Z was originally set to hit theaters on December 21, 2012 when it was moved to June 21, 2013. The delay was due to seven weeks of reshoots and a third act rewrite and for anyone that has read this book, you already know there's no chance they could make it as it was and get away with making it at a studio.
"The end was near." --Voices from the Zombie War
The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. World War Z is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.
Ranging from the now infamous village of New Dachang in the United Federation of China, where the epidemiological trail began with the twelve-year-old Patient Zero, to the unnamed northern forests where untold numbers sought a terrible and temporary refuge in the cold, to the United States of Southern Africa, where the Redeker Plan provided hope for humanity at an unspeakable price, to the west-of-the-Rockies redoubt where the North American tide finally started to turn, this invaluable chronicle reflects the full scope and duration of the Zombie War.
Most of all, the book captures with haunting immediacy the human dimension of this epochal event. Facing the often raw and vivid nature of these personal accounts requires a degree of courage on the part of the reader, but the effort is invaluable because, as Mr. Brooks says in his introduction, "By excluding the human factor, aren't we risking the kind of personal detachment from history that may, heaven forbid, lead us one day to repeat it? And in the end, isn't the human factor the only true difference between us and the enemy we now refer to as 'the living dead'?"
How it will all turn out we'll soon see, but I've included the first trailer below for those that may be interested.
The Wolf of Wall Street
by Jordan Belfort
Finally we come to Martin Scorsese's new film as he once again teams with Leonardo DiCaprio in a role that will surely have many expecting Leo to be at the top of the 2014 Best Actor predictions. The film is based on Jordan Belfort's tell-all autobiography "The Wolf of Wall Street" with an opening plot description that says, "By day he made thousands of dollars a minute. By night he spent it as fast as he could, on drugs, sex, and international globe-trotting." Interested?
Here's the full book description:
By day he made thousands of dollars a minute. By night he spent it as fast as he could, on drugs, sex, and international globe-trotting. From the binge that sank a 170-foot motor yacht, crashed a Gulfstream jet, and ran up a $700,000 hotel tab, to the wife and kids who waited for him at home, and the fast-talking, hard-partying young stockbrokers who called him king and did his bidding, here, in his own inimitable words, is the story of the ill-fated genius they called...
In the 1990s Jordan Belfort, former kingpin of the notorious investment firm Stratton Oakmont, became one of the most infamous names in American finance: a brilliant, conniving stock-chopper who led his merry mob on a wild ride out of the canyons of Wall Street and into a massive office on Long Island. Now, in this astounding and hilarious tell-all autobiography, Belfort narrates a story of greed, power, and excess no one could invent.
Reputedly the prototype for the film Boiler Room, Stratton Oakmont turned microcap investing into a wickedly lucrative game as Belfort's hyped-up, coked-out brokers browbeat clients into stock buys that were guaranteed to earn obscene profits–for the house. But an insatiable appetite for debauchery, questionable tactics, and a fateful partnership with a breakout shoe designer named Steve Madden would land Belfort on both sides of the law and into a harrowing darkness all his own.
From the stormy relationship Belfort shared with his model-wife as they ran a madcap household that included two young children, a full-time staff of twenty-two, a pair of bodyguards, and hidden cameras everywhere--even as the SEC and FBI zeroed in on them--to the unbridled hedonism of his office life, here is the extraordinary story of an ordinary guy who went from hustling Italian ices at sixteen to making hundreds of millions. Until it all came crashing down...
And that does it for this preview. If you missed yesterday's preview taking a look at the comic books, graphic novels, plays and news articles that were being adapted into movies this year click here and have fun reading!