2009 Summer Reading List

Memorial Day was on Monday which marks the unofficial start of summer. It’s time to spend many a lazy afternoon lying in the hammock with a tall glass of lemonade and a good book. For you movie buffs and Oscar watchers out there this is a great time to pick up some of the books that will be awards contenders this fall/winter. Here are ten that I recommend:

theroadbook1) The Road by Cormac McCarthy

About the Book: Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize winning book about a man and his son trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world makes for a fantastic read. Armed with only two bullets in a revolver, the man has to protect himself and his son from the terrors that exist at the end of the world. McCarthy offers a grim critique on the future of man and the loss of morality that is occurring within our society. It might be best to read on a rainy day.

About the Movie: John Hillcoat (The Proposition) directs and Viggo Mortensen plays the man. It could be a contender for Best Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing, Art Direction and others.

Release Date: October 16

9 More After the Jump…

pushbook2) Push: A Novel by Sapphire

About the Book: Claireece “Precious” Jones is a teenager growing up under brutally harsh circumstances. She is physically and verbally abused by her mother and her mostly absent father has gotten her pregnant by raping her twice. The story of her life is told through her own perspective as she dreams of escaping the life she’s been stuck with.

About the Movie: Releasing under the title Precious. Lee Daniels (Shadowbox) directs, newcomer Gabourey Sidibe plays Precious and Mo’Nique plays the mother. There are also supporting roles played by Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz. Oprah and Tyler Perry are executive producers. The film has gotten raves at the Sundance and Cannes film festivals. It could be a contender for Best Picture, Director, Actress, Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay, and Cinematography.

Release Date: November 6

lovelybones3) The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

About the Book: One of the mostly highly acclaimed recently published young adult books is Alice Sebold’s examination of life and death and what comes after. 14 year old Susie Salmon is raped and murdered at the beginning of the book by her neighbor. The rest of the book unfolds from heaven as Susie watches over her family, the murderer, and the lead detective on the case. It explores the themes of loss and grief and examines different perceptions of heaven.

About the Movie: Peter Jackson directs, Saoirse Ronan (Atonement) stars as Susie. Supporting actors also include Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, and Stanley Tucci. It’s a possible contender for Best Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay, and Art Direction.

Release Date: December 11

goatsbook4) The Men Who Stare at Goats by Jon Ronson

About the Book: An exploration into the U.S. government’s use of telepathy and psychic spying under the Bush Administration. Author Jon Ronson claimed to have uncovered evidence that the U.S. was deploying psychic assassins in the war in Iraq. They practiced their skill by staring for long periods of time at goats until the animals were telepathically killed.

About the Movie: As strange as the book is it didn’t stop a dynamite cast from signing on to do the film. Grant Heslov (co-writer Good Night, and Good Luck) directs, Ewan McGregor George Clooney, Kevin Spacey, and Jeff Bridges star. It could be a contender for Best Supporting Actor, Adapted Screenplay, and some technical categories.

Release Date: December TBA

upintheairbook5) Up in the Air by Walter Kern

About the Book: Walter Kim’s novel is about America’s new capitalism, where white collar workers travel from conference to conference mindlessly attempting to better themselves for the sake of the company. Ryan Bingham is one of these capitalists. His true secret aspiration, however, is to accumulate one million frequent flyer miles and intends to visit eight cities in six days to accomplish his vision.

About the Movie: Directed by Jason Reitman (Juno), it stars George Clooney as Ryan Bingham. Jason Bateman, Anna Kendrick, and Vera Farmiga have supporting roles.

Release Date: TBA

playingtheenemybook6) Playing the Enemy by John Carlin

About the Book: The story follows Neslon Mandella as he attempts to unite the racially fractured South Africa through one thing that every one could get behind: the country’s rugby team. The book explores racial differences and looks into why Mandela and others believed that sports have the power to unite a people.

About the Movie The title of the film is yet to be announced, although it’s been speculated it will be called The Human Factor. Clint Eastwood directs, Morgan Freeman stars as Nelson Mandela and Matt Damon plays a French ambassador. It could be a contender for Best Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor, Adapted Screenplay, and some technical categories.

Release Date: December TBA

tempestbook7) The Tempest by William Shakespeare

About the Book: A Shakespeare tragicomedy about a shipwreck that leads to romance, murder, and a drunken rebellion. If you’re not that familiar with Shakespeare, it’s always a good idea to brush up before seeing one of his plays (or movies based on his plays).

About the Movie Julie Taymor (Across the Universe, Titus) directs, starring Helen Mirren as a female version of the supernatural duke Prospero (Prospera). Djimon Honsou, Russell Brand, Alfred Molina, Ben Whishaw, Chris Cooper, and David Strathairn also star.

Release Date: TBA

shutterislandbook8) Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

About the Book: A psychological thriller about the hunt for a missing woman at Ashecliffe, a mental institution on an island. U.S. Marshall Teddy Daniels is assigned to the case, but little does he know that he will learn more about himself and what is really happening at Ashecliffe than he will about the case. Admittedly, I didn’t care too much for this book. (My Review)

About the Movie: Martin Scorcese directs while his muse Leonardo DiCaprio stars as the main character, Teddy. Mark Ruffalo, Michelle Williams, Emily Mortimer, Jackie Earle Haley, Ben Kingsley and Max Von Sydow also have supporting roles. It could be a contender for Best Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay, or Editing.

Release Date: October 2nd

imperiallife9) Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekaran

About the Book: This nonfiction book takes a look at life inside Iraq’s Green Zone, a conservative American paradise in the midst of a war torn nation. Chandrasekaran gives a first hand account of how the Bush Administration, specifically Paul Bremer and his CPA, bungled the restructuring effort in Iraq (yet refuse to admit guilt). Liberals with a weak heart, proceed with caution. (My Review)

About the Movie: The film is appropriately titled Green Zone and will be directed by Paul Greengrass and star Matt Damon and Amy Ryan. It is a possible contender for Best Actor, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, and Art Direction.

Release Date: TBA

informantbook10) The Informant by Kurt Eichenwald

About the Book: A true story that examines the FBI investigation into one of the most complex white collar crimes in history. Filled with plot twists the book plays out like a detective thriller as it follows Mark Whitacre, a top executive for Archer Daniels Midland, who is willing to testify against his own company. It’s one of those rare, but wonderful cases where the truth is stranger than fiction.

About the Movie: Directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Matt Damon, Melanie Lynskey, and Frank Welker. It could be a contender for Best Director, Actor, Adapted Screenplay, or Editing.

Release Date: September 18

Novels to Read for Summer Releases:
Cheri by Collette
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling
Public Enemies by Brian Burroughs
Julie & Julia by Julie Powell (memoir)

What are you going to be reading this summer?

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  • I’m excited to finally read Pictures at a Revolution, the Mark Harris book about the Best Picture race in 1968. Yeah, I waited for the paperback, but it’s been recommended to me a lot.

    I have to correct you though, Julie and Julia is by Julie Powell (who will be played by Amy Adams in the movie vs. Meryl Streep’s Julia Child), not Nora Ephron, and it’s a memoir, not a novel. Should be a good late-summer release.

  • This is a very good list..!

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