Whether you’re a bibliophile like me (otherwise known as “book addict”), or you wouldn’t be caught dead with a book in your hands, you have to admit the popularity of books is in our faces every single day. It seems like every time you flip on the TV a book-to-film adaptation is in the works. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 was the highest grossing film of 2011, raking in over a billion dollars worldwide, while little known adaptations like The Help pulled in over 200 million dollars worldwide. Not bad for a film with a 25 million dollar budget.
Just last weekend Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax hit the screens and pulled in a whopping $70 million, which is the most so far this year for an opening weekend. Who can blame Hollywood for adapting books, considering dedicated readers will be showing up no matter good or bad reviews of the film? This year will see some titanic adaptations hit the screen, including The Hunger Games, The Hobbit, The Life of Pi, World War Z, The Great Gatsby, On the Road, and the classic all kids read in elementary school, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, to name only a few. But what about books coming out this year that could potentially become movies in 2014 and beyond?
8 Most Anticipated Books of 2012
8. The Red House
by Mark Haddon
Expected publication: June 12th 2012 by Doubleday
This may not be a geek’s dream come true, but as far as narrative is concerned, it should speak to everyone. Anyone who has read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time knows Mark Haddon has some exceptional writing chops. The book follows a man named Richard with some inherited problems coming from his new wife’s stepdaughter. It may not sound all that exciting, but Haddon has an incredibly unique voice that will only become more entertaining with domestic issues. In The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time a unique narrative voice was utilized by an extraordinary narrator. In this book Haddon will be experimenting with eight narrative voices. Need I say more?
7. Batman: Death by Design
by Chip Kidd (Author), Dave Taylor (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 112 pages
Expected publication: June 5th 2012 by Random House, Inc
Set outside the New 52, this graphic novel deals with the construction of Gotham City, probably the most unique and iconic locale in comic books. Nine times out of ten, you watch a documentary or cast interview from previous Batman films and someone is going to say, “the most important character is Gotham.” And finally it’s going to be getting more attention in graphic novel form. This book is written by Chip Kidd, the award-winning graphic designer and Dark Knight documentarian behind such works as Batman: Animated, and Batman: Collected; illustrated by the supremely skilled Dave Taylor (Judge Dredd); and edited by DC’s VP of Art Direction and Design Mark Chiarello.
The art is very reminiscent of the design seen in the movie adaptation of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.
All glass floor a hundred stories off the ground? Yes please.
Definitely a book to be excited about.
6. Dark North (Malory’s Knight of Albion)
by Paul Finch
Paperback, 384 pages
Expected publication: March 13, 2012 by Abaddon
This is book two in the Malory’s Knight of the Albion series, which is apparently a series written by multiple authors. Notice I said “apparently,” because I haven’t read the first book. So why recommend this book? Because Paul Finch wrote Cape Wrath, a short novel about a viking spirit attacking archeologists on a small island in northern Scotland. The book was short-listed for the Bram Stoker Award in 2002 for good reason. The man can write very realistic characters and at the same time extremely frightening and splendidly gruesome gore. If this book is half as good as Cape Wrath it will be a rewarding read.
5. The Wind Through the Keyhole (The Dark Tower #4.5)
by Stephen King
Expected publication: April 24th 2012 by Scribner
Anyone unfamiliar with Stephen King’s ginormous multi-genre series The Dark Tower has a new reason to start the genius series. What is that reason? Why, to read the once seven book, now eight book series in order, of course. I finished this series a few years ago and it was so good I’m contemplating starting over to enjoy this book more thoroughly. This novel contains an untold story of the main protagonist, Roland, at a younger age, who befriends a young boy while attempting to stop a shape-shifting fiend. After the huge success of his last book Under the Dome, which I might add is being turned into a TV show, and 11/22/63, one can nearly be guaranteed this book will be an impressive fantasy/science fiction/horror read.
4. The King’s Blood (The Dagger and the Coin #2)
by Daniel Abraham
Paperback, 528 pages
Expected publication: May 22rd 2012 by Orbit
Daniel Abraham authored two of my favorite books released in 2011: Dragon’s Path and Leviathan Wakes. The latter he cowrote under the pen name James S.A. Corey. This is the second book in The Dagger and the Coin 5 part series and shouldn’t be missed. You still have time to pick up the first book, which sets up an incredibly vivid fantasy world. Abraham has been quoted as saying this is his chance to play with traditional fantasy tropes and conventions. Based on the fact that he’s good friends with George R. R. Martin and is currently adapting Game of Thrones into comic book form, he might be the best author to be playing around with tradition.
3. Caliban’s War
by James S.A. Corey
Paperback, 624 pages
Expected publication: June 26, 2012 by Orbit
One half of the James S.A. Corey writing duo was already spoken about above, and the other side of that duo is named Ty Franck. Apparently the two got together when playing Dungeons and Dragons. Ty had created an incredibly vivid science fiction universe where humans populated Mars and the Asteroid Belt. Prejudice and human frailty fallowed. Daniel Abraham suggested they write about this world together and a new science fiction space opera series was born. This is the second book in the Expanse series, the first being Leviathan Wakes, which I loved. If you want classic space opera where spaceships are roughly the equivalent of tin cans that can go slightly faster than today’s mode of transport, this might be up your alley.
2. In One Person
by John Irving
Hardcover, 448 pages
Expected publication: May 8th 2012 by Simon + Schuster Inc.
John Irving’s last book told in first person, A Prayer for Owen Meany, is on my list of the top 10 favorite books of all time. The last novel I read by him was The Fourth Hand which had a plot that bored me to death, but the man can write some mean prose. If he’s returning to a narrative style that I loved, this book could be gold.
1. Red Country
by Joe Abercrombie
Hardcover, 640 pages
Expected publication: November 20, 2012 by Orbit
Along with Scott Lynch and Patrick Rothfuss, Joe Abercrombie is part of a new movement of fantasy writers breathing new life into epic fantasy in recent years. Word to the wise: when this book comes out you may want to read the five books that precede it, as Abercrombie sprinkles characters from previous books throughout his novels. It’s not entirely necessary though, as Abercrombie is one of the best writers of bloody, sword-wielding action I’ve ever read. What makes his books so rewarding though are these connections, as each book only enriches the world and characters you grow to love. The latest synopsis of A Red Country reads:
Shy South comes home to her farm to find a blackened shell, her brother and sister stolen, and knows she’ll have to go back to bad old ways if she’s ever to see them again. She sets off in pursuit with only her cowardly old step-father Lamb for company. But it turns out he’s hiding a bloody past of his own. None bloodier. Their journey will take them across the lawless plains, to a frontier town gripped by gold fever, through feuds, duels, and massacres, high into unmapped mountains to a reckoning with ancient enemies, and force them into alliance with Nicomo Cosca, infamous soldier of fortune, a man no one should ever have to trust…
Abercrombie has created a fantasy world that contains locations reminiscent of places like Venice, deserts of Persia and the cold north of Scandinavia. The fact that fantasy tropes and conventions are present in this world, and A Red Country will be a definitive Western take on said tropes, one can only salivate for this book.
Considering the subject of the Oscar-winning Animated Short Film at this years Oscars was all about books, I don’t think we’ll be seeing the end of adaptations anytime soon. Take a look for yourself: