And the award goes to…books! At least, it does in our world. But if you’re a film fan and looking to broaden your literary horizons, here are two dozen books to read now that awards season is over (and you’re probably tired of movies).
Call Me By Your Name, by Andre Aciman
The most buzzed-about book-turned-into-a-movie this season is definitely worth a read! A sensual, emotional tale of two young men tempted by lust, love, and passion for one another (despite neither of them being openly gay).
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, by Reni Eddo-Lodge
Get Out isn’t based on a book, but that doesn’t mean one of the most important movies of this awards season (and all of film history) shouldn’t be talked about. This book is a great starting point for discussing the complicated intersections of black history, white supremacy, racism, gender, and much more.
In My Own Words, by Nancy Kerrigan
I, Tonya tells the story of the infamous rivalry between Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding as a larger-than-life portrait based on real interviews. What happened between Nancy and Tonya, two skating phenoms, who were once colleagues on ice…that led to Nancy’s skating career being derailed by a bludgeoned knee? Read her own words to find out the other side of the story.
The Shape of Water, by Guillermo Del Toro and Daniel Kraus
Normally, book people advocate seeing the movie after reading the book, but since this adaptation of the award-nominated movie doesn’t come out until the end of the month, we’ll forgive you for doing the opposite. This ethereal, beautiful romance between a mute woman and a mysterious sea creature kept as a science experiment is set against the backdrop of the conflict between the US and Russia, and is as high-stakes as it is romantic.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, by Martin McDonogh
A grieving mother sets herself on the path of justice, violence, and retribution when she puts up three public billboards accusing the police department—and their beloved chief of police—of neglect after they fail to catch her daughter’s murderer. Brutal, emotional, and as impactful as the performances in the movie, this story is not to be missed.
The Miracle of Dunkirk, by Walter Lord
It’s 1940, and the allied forces have been forced to retreat after a terrible ai assult from Hitler. Over 300,000 men were stranded on Dunkirk until an evacuation was attempted…in which in which nearly the entire army was saved. This film is a riveting portrait of survival in war and the strength of the human spirit—and the book is just as fascinating.
Scarlett Epstein Hates it Here, by Anna Breslaw
Lady-Bird fans, this is the book for you! If you loved the honest voice, snark, and pop-culture references in the movie, you will love Scarlett. Her favorite TV show was just cancelled, so she resorts to writing online fanfiction of what could-have-been…but the problem is, it’s starring real people. When her secret gets out, Scarlett has to reckon with the relationships she has IRL, including a tense one with her Dad, as a result of her parents’ split.
Darkest Hour, by Anthony McCarten
If you’re making your way down this list, you will have read about Dunkirk…but who was the man who saved England’s army, and in history’s eyes, the world? Winston Churchill became Prime Minister right at the start of the war, and guided the allies through the most difficult fight of their lives.
Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers, by Daniel Ellsberg
The Post is one of the most talked-about movies this season, starring an incredibly prestigious cast. But I knew very little about the Pentagon Papers, and that’s where this book comes in! Daniel Ellsberg was the man behind the release of this Vietnam-war-era document, and risked his life to expose the truth.
Sharp Objects, by Gillian Flynn
The Phantom Thread is an incredibly unique movie with lots of twists and turns about a couple in the fashion world of the 1950’s who manipulate one another. Without giving too much away about the plot of the movie to those who haven’t seen it, I think fans will love Sharp Objects! It’s about a murder, a complicated mother, a beguiling sister, and a town that hides lots of secrets.
Coco, by Diana Lopez
A fave animated movie of 2017 about a boy who wants to be a musician despite his family having outlawed music for reasons he doesn’t understand is now in book form!
Painfully Rich, by John Pearson
This movie starring Christopher Plummer, Michelle Williams, and Mark Wahlberg is based on who made himself very very rich…but ruined his family in the process. Drugs, suicide, a kidnapping, and much more feature in this saga that is as strange as it is true.
The Disaster Artist, by Greg Sestero
Have you seen The Room? It’s a cult movie written by a man named Tommy Wiseau which never earned any money and was panned by critics. And yet it’s had an enduring life among cult fans, and this book brings that story hilariously to life (the story you can also see in the movie starring James Franco!).
First They Killed My Father, by Loung Ung
Now a movie from Angelina Jolie, this story about a young girl who had to flee her home and train as a child soldier in Cambodia is heart-wrenching, but true. Reading the book will help give you an appreciation for the struggles of others, for family, for home, and for freedom many people have lost their lives for.
Molly’s Game, by Molly Bloom
Gambling’s never been my game, but fascinating women who infiltrate exclusive, underground societies totally are. This movie of the same name stars Jessica Chastain as the young girl running an elite poker ring in Hollywood, until the house of cards came crumbling down.
Our Souls at Night, by Kent Haruf
Jane Fonda and Robert Redford are a star pair in this movie of the same name about a widow and a widower who have been neighbors for years…until one day they take the risk and decide to become something more. A story of second chances, love at all ages, and chosen happiness.
Stronger, by Jeff Bauman
The Boston Marathon Bombing was a horrible moment in history, and no one knows that better than Jeff Bauman, one of the survivors. He lost both his legs that day, and wrote a bestselling book about his journey following the terror attack, and it was adapted into a movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal.
The Story of Ferdinand, by Munro Leaf
A children’s book that will make you laugh and cry! Ferdinand the bull is sweet as can be. He has no interest in doing the things other bulls do. Fans of the movie, about a bull taken from his home after being mistaken for a violent creature, will love this heartwarming tale.
Thank you For Your Service, by David Finkel
Another movie about heroes and survivors that has a connected book. David Finkel was a different kind of hero; a journalist on the front lines of Afghanistan who documented the soldiers as they ended their tours of duty and started another war…the battle to rejoin civilian life.
Wonder, by R. J. Palacio
We could all use more kindness in our lives. That’s what the book—and movie—Wonder is all about. It tells the story of a young boy with a facial disfigurement who is afraid to let kids see what he really looks like, because he worries he’ll be bullied. This is the perfect gift for the sensitive kid in your life (after you watch the movie with them of course!).
Brave, by Rose McGowan
The harrowing story of one actress’ rise to activism through trauma is more than just a book; it’s the start of a movement. There’s no movie tie-in to this story, but we’d be remiss not to acknowledge the elephant in awards season…the systemic sexism and misogyny in Hollywood, now laid bare in part by Rose’s story.
Last Flag Flying, by Darryl Ponicsan
To truly understand Last Flag Flying, you should also read The Last Detail, the story of two soldiers escorting a man to a naval prison (which was also made into a movie.) This book, set over three decades after the events of the first, about three men escorting a young, deceased soldier home against the orders of their command.
Mudbound, by Hillary Jordan
In 1964, a woman from the city is trying to raise a family in the Mississippi Delta when two soldiers return from war and help out on the farm. One of them is black. In the Jim Crow South, bonds between family, between brothers, and friends, are all tested by the realities of the harsh world they live in.
Vincent and Theo, by Deborah Heiligman
There’s a non-fiction movie about Vincent Van Gogh and his brother, Theo, nominated for an award this year! I knew very little about them (other than the famous ear story) and so for those who, like me, are interested in learning about the brother who supported the genius artist—and 658 letters he wrote him over the course of their lives—this is the book for you!
What books are helping you recover from awards season?