Do you wish you’d read the novel before the movie came out? Here’s how to prepare for movies currently at the theater and for the rest of the year:

-“Public Enemies”

The book: Vanity Fair correspondent Bryan Burrough (“Barbarians at the Gate”) wrote this true-crime tale of John Dillinger, Bonnie and Clyde, Pretty Boy Floyd and an ambitious bureaucrat named J. Edgar Hoover.

Worth reading? A fascinating history. And it’s filled with gangster lore.

The movie: Michael Mann directs Johnny Depp as Dillinger, Christian Bale as the FBI’s Melvin Pervis.

Opened: July 1



The book: French novelist Colette’s (“Gigi”) 1920 tale of a retired courtesan and a pampered young man, Cheri. The sequel: “The Last of Cheri.”

Worth reading? It’s considered one of Colette’s best.

The movie: Stephen Frears directs Michelle Pfeiffer and Rupert Friend.

Opened: Playing in some markets

-“I Love You, Beth Cooper”


The book: New Yorker writer Larry Doyle’s story turns all the teen-movie cliches on their heads as the class valedictorian professes his love for the popular girl in his graduation speech.

Worth reading? It’s a quick and funny read in the vein of Tim Sandlin’s “Skipped Parts” and Sue Townsend’s “The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole.”

The movie: Paul Rust loves Hayden Panettiere.

Opened: July 10

-“Julie & Julia”

The book: Actually it’s based on two memoirs. Julie Powell’s “Julie & Julia” chronicles her attempt to cook her way through all 524 recipes in a Julia Child cookbook. And Child recalls her first sojourn in France in “My Life in France.”


Worth reading? Powell is a New York Bridget Jones, sassy, self-absorbed, entertaining. Child’s book, co-written with her great nephew Alex Prud’homme in the last year of her life, is a fine epitaph for a culinary idol.

The movie: Director/writer Nora Ephron melds the two memoirs, with Amy Adams as Julie and Meryl Streep as Julia.

Opening: Aug. 7

-“The Informant”

The book: Investigative reporter Kurt Eichenwald turned his New York Times coverage into this full account of corporate whistleblower Mark Whitacre, who wasn’t so innocent himself.

Worth reading? The Star’s review from 2000: “It’s the thriller of the year! And it’s all true!”


The movie: Steven Soderbergh directs Matt Damon.

Opening: Sept. 18

-“Shutter Island”

The book: A Dennis Lehane (“Mystic River,” “Gone Baby Gone”) mystery about two U.S. marshals investigating the disappearance of a patient from a hospital for the criminally insane.

Worth reading? A psychological thriller, packed with plot twists. Some readers couldn’t put it down. Others couldn’t pick it up. It’s no “Mystic River.”

The movie: Martin Scorsese directs Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley and Emily Mortimer.


Opening: Oct. 2

-“The Road”

The book: Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer winner about a father and son wandering a bleak, post-apocalyptic landscape.

Worth reading? It’s a spare, poetic, moving love story that some people think is depressing as hell. There’s no denying its power, though.

The movie: Viggo Mortensen is the dad, with Charlize Theron as the wife in flashbacks. Was set to open last fall but apparently was held because the special effects weren’t ready.

Opening: Oct. 16


-“Youth in Revolt”

The book: C.D. Payne’s series of “journals” about Nick Twisp, a smart, sexually obsessed teen living in a world of moronic adults.

Worth reading? The Library Journal says the teen struggle is “overlong. Maybe you had to be there.”

The movie: Michael Cera is Nick, while Ray Liotta is the cop who has an affair with Nick’s mom (Jean Smart).

Opening: Oct. 30

-“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”


The book: The story of an illiterate Harlem teen, pregnant with her father’s child, who shows enough promise to be sent to an alternative high school. Written by Sapphire, a poet and songwriter who works with at-risk teens.

Worth reading? Think “The Color Purple,” but more brutal.

The movie: This Sundance Festival hit stars newcomer Gabourey Sidibe, singer Mo’Nique as her mom and Mariah Carey as a tough social worker.

Opening: Nov. 6 (limited release)

-“The Blind Side”

The book: Michael Lewis’ profile of Michael Oher, a sweet behemoth who learned about life and how to become one of college football’s premiere offensive tackles.


Worth reading? Even if you’re only marginally interested in football, the real-life characters are worth meeting.

The movie: Quinton Aaron plays Oher, with Tim McGraw as his coach and Sandra Bullock as the coach’s force-of-nature wife.

Opening: Nov. 20

-“The Lovely Bones”

The book: Alice Sebold’s best-seller is narrated by Susie Salmon, a murdered teenage girl watching life go on from heaven.

Worth reading? The far-fetched premise seems completely believable in this haunting – not saccharine – remarkable drama.


The movie: Peter Jackson directs Saoirse Ronan (“Atonement,” “City of Ember”), with Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz as her parents.

Opening: Dec. 11

-“Sherlock Holmes”

The book: Many, many stories feature Sherlock Holmes, who was created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but the movie’s plot is from an as-yet-unpublished comic book by Lionel Wigram.

Worth reading? If you’re intrigued, start with the first two Sherlock Holmes novels, “A Study in Scarlet” and “The Sign of the Four.”

The movie: Robert Downey Jr. plays a buff, daredevil Holmes, with Jude Law as Dr. Watson. Guy Ritchie directs.

Opening: Dec. 25

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