Usually, if I'm familiar with a film, it's because I've read the book. Sometimes the film is incredibly faithful to the book and just as wonderful as the written word - see: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Jaws, and The Silence of the Lambs. And sometimes, much to my dismay, I wish I'd stopped after reading the book and given the movie a miss - see: The Lovely Bones and The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. And then other times, I'm glad that I didn't read the book and I just got to sit back, relax, and love the film - see: The Hunger Games.
This year a slew of great reads have been snapped up by film companies and will be hitting movie theaters this year. And I'm not going to lie: most of these have must-see written all over them. You lucky ducks in the U.S. have already glimpsed The Book Thief, but it has yet to open in U.K. cinemas. From love stories (Winter's Tale) and tales of self-discovery (Wild), to thrillers (Before I Go To Sleep and Gone Girl) and tearjerkers (The Fault in Our Stars) - there is something for everyone this year.
Have a look at the slideshow below to find out when each movie will be hitting big screens this year so that you can make your all-important reading list in order. Which one will you be reading first? It looks like my 3-year-old (who cannot yet read) has already made her choice!
Labor Day by Joyce Maynard
Starring: Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, and Tobey Maguire
Hitting theaters: January 31, 2014
Henry, the 13-year-old boy who narrates this story, lives with his long-divorced mother Adele, a depressed woman who has become a virtual recluse in their home. Just before Labor Day, Henry persuades her to go on one of her infrequent trips to the supermarket. It's then that that Henry stumbles upon a bleeding man named Frank, who asks for his help. When Frank is accepted into Adele and Henry's home, their lives will change forever. With a stellar cast - Winslet and Brolin! - and directed by Jason Reitman - the man behind Juno and Up in the Air - this film promises to be mesmerizing.
Buy the book on Amazon, $9.16
Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin
Starring: Colin Farrell, Russell Crowe, Jessica Brown Findlay, Jennifer Connelly, and Will Smith
Hitting theaters: February 14, 2014
Peter Lake attempts to rob a Manhattan mansion only to find the daughter of the house at home. Thus begins the love between the middle-aged Irishman and Beverly Penn, a young girl who is dying from consumption. Don't forget to bring the tissues for this one!
Buy the book on Amazon, $9.04
A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
Starring: Aaron Paul, Imogen Poots, Toni Collette, and Pierce Brosnan
Hitting theaters: March 31, 2014 in the U.K.; TBA in the U.S.
Disgraced TV presenter Martin Sharp decides the only way to go is down - for good. On New Year's Eve he's going to end it all, and as it happens, he's not alone. Single mom Maureen, 18-year-old Jess, and American rock-God JJ turn up to crash Martin's private, morbid party. They've stolen his idea, but each have brought their own reason. The question is: Will they jump ... or form a surrogate family?
Buy the book on Amazon, $10.73
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Starring: Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort
Hitting theaters: June 6, 2014
The book is narrated by 16-year-old cancer patient Hazel, who is forced by her parents to attend a support group. It's at this group where she meets and falls in love with 17-year-old Augustus "Gus" Waters, an ex-basketball player and amputee who lost his right leg. When Hazel discovers that Gus lost his previous girlfriend to cancer, she begins to distance herself from him - not wanting him to go through the pain of losing her as well. It's safe to say this brings a whole new meaning to the description "tearjerker."
Buy the book on Amazon, $9.27
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Starring: Will Poulter, Dylan O'Brien, and Kaya Scodelario
Hitting theaters: September 19, 2014
The novel begins with the main character, Thomas, showing up in an area called "the glade" with no memories except for his first name. The glade has 50 to 60 other boys around his age in it - all with no recollections of their previous lives or how they got there. All of the boys are attempting to find their way out, but will Thomas make it? You have until September to get reading and find out!
Buy the book on Amazon, $8.99
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, and Neil Patrick Harris
Hitting theaters: October 3, 2014
You've read the book - oh come on, you've had plenty of time! - now see the movie. With Fincher, the director of Se7en and Zodiac, behind the lens, this is bound to be amazing. Gone Girl stars Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne, a journalist turned bar owner whose wife goes missing on their fifth wedding anniversary. What's shocking is that Nick and Amy, played by Rosamund Pike, have the perfect marriage. Or DO they?
Buy the book on Amazon, $13.24
Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, and Mark Strong
Hitting theaters: TBA in 2014
I need to read this ASAP! The premise alone is thrilling: Christine wakes every morning in a strange bed next to a strange man, with no recollection of how she got there. But the bed is her own, and the man is her husband. Thanks to an accident when she was 29, Christine goes to sleep every night and has her memory erased. She begins a memoir, which her doctor has to remind her every day that she is writing. The first line of the journal reads: "Don't Trust Ben." But who can Christine really trust when she can't even trust herself? TOO EXCITED!
Buy the book on Amazon, $5.78
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Starring: Reese Witherspoon and Gaby Hoffmann
Hitting theaters: TBA in 2014
So when Oprah - yes, Oprah - says, "I love this book. I want to shout it from the mountaintop," you know that you should probably be reading it. This memoir, an Oprah's Book Club favorite, tells the story of Cheryl Strayed's 3-month, 1,100-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail, from the Mojave Desert in Nevada to Washington State via California and Oregon. She started out on this epic journey after her mom passed away, her marriage crumbled, and her sibling relationships fell apart. Strayed's spirit carries her through all of the arduous trials - both mental and physical - this journey throws at her. Read it, then rate Reese's performance.
Buy the book on Amazon, $8.44
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