82nd Academy Awards - Books that inspired the movies

 

The 82nd Oscars are on Sunday, March 7, and an overwhelming number of this year's nominees began in the pages of a book.

Hollywood's borrowing from fiction and non-fiction writers is nothing new, of course, with one of the earliest Academy Awards for best picture going to All Quiet on the Western Front, a film based on the novel of the same name by Erich Maria Remarque. In honor of Hollywood's roots in the world of books, Politics & Prose highlights some of our favorite titles that have made their way to the silver screen.

Daphne duMaurier's gothic tale of obsession and madness, Rebecca, morphed into a sinister film noir in the hands of director Alfred Hitchcock. A young female narrator, known only as the second wife of Maxim de Winter, is brought to the rotting Victorian mansion Manderly, where the hawkish Mrs. Danvers manages a secretive household haunted by the memories of Maxim's beautiful and devoted first wife, Rebecca. The film of the same name won the 1940 Oscar for Best Picture.

Alexander Burgess' A Clockwork Orange, set in a futuristic London overrun by violent criminal gangs, centers on the brutal, young Alex. When Alex is arrested and sent to a facility to undergo a controversial and brutal "rehabilitation," Burgess presents the dilemma of compulsory goodness at the cost of free will. A Clockwork Orange was re-imagined for the screen by director Stanley Kubrick and was nominated for Best Picture in 1971.

Larry McMurtry's coming-of-age novel, The Last Picture Show, follows a group of teenage friends in the dying town of Thalia, Texas as they fumble towards adulthood. McMurtry creates a dusty town vivid with memorable characters that reappear in much of his later fiction. The Last Picture Show was nominated for Best Picture in 1971.

Annie Proulx's haunting collection, Close Range, is the first of her Wyoming stories, and features the heartbreaking "Brokeback Mountain," a story about the painful and difficult love between two cowboys. Proulx's sparse language and minimal dialogue heightens the emotional tension of their doomed romance with searing resonance. Director Ang Lee transformed Proulx's twenty-page short story into the film "Brokeback Mountain," nominated for Best Picture in 2005.

This year's Oscar nominated films with literary origins include:

Julie Powell's funny memoir about her struggles to follow in the culinary footsteps of Julia Child, Julie & Julia;

Michael Lewis's touching memoir about family and football, The Blind Side

Playing the Enemy, John Carlin's retelling of an historic rugby match in post-Apartheid South Africa, which became the film Invictus;

Precious, based on Sapphire's novel Push, about a young girl pregnant with her father's child and struggling against the confines of poverty and abuse;

Christopher Isherwood's A Single Man, about the pain of loss and the power of memory;

Walter Kirn's surprisingly moving Up in the Air, about a man tendering his own resignation after flying millions of miles during the course of a career to fire other people;

and Jay Parini's The Last Station, a fictionalized chronicle of Tolstoy's dramatic final days.

            To find out more about these books (and buy them!), click the title links!!

See more books that became cinematic forces below, or visit our "Like the Movie? Read the Book!" display, located in the store near the information desk.

- Lacey Dunham

Slumdog Millionaire Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9781439136652
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Scribner - November 18th, 2008

The Reader Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780375707971
Availability: In Stock—Click for Details
Published: Vintage Books USA - February 25th, 1999

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780140283341
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Penguin Books - October 1999

Master and Commander Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393307054
Availability: In Stock—Click for Details
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - August 17th, 1990

Gone with the Wind Cover Image
By Margaret Mitchell, Pat Conroy (Preface by)
$18.00
ISBN: 9781416548898
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Scribner - July 10th, 2007

The Godfather Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780451167712
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Signet Book - September 1983

The Return of the King: Being the Third Part of The Lord of the Rings Cover Image
$12.00
ISBN: 9780618002245
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Mariner Books - September 1st, 1999

The Lovely Bones Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9780316044936
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Back Bay Books - September 2009

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Jazz Age Stories Cover Image
By F. Scott Fitzgerald, Patrick O'Donnell (Introduction by), Patrick O'Donnell (Notes by)
$16.00
ISBN: 9780143105497
Availability: In Stock—Click for Details
Published: Penguin Books - August 26th, 2008

Seabiscuit: An American Legend Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780449005613
Availability: In Stock—Click for Details
Published: Ballantine Books - March 26th, 2002

The Fellowship of the Ring: Being the First Part of The Lord of the Rings Cover Image
$12.00
ISBN: 9780618002221
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Mariner Books - September 1st, 1999

The Cider House Rules Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780345417947
Availability: In Stock—Click for Details
Published: Ballantine Books - June 23rd, 1997

An Education Cover Image
$14.00
ISBN: 9781594484537
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Riverhead Books - October 6th, 2009

The Hours Cover Image
$13.00
ISBN: 9780312305062
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Picador - November 1st, 2002

The English Patient Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780679745204
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage Books USA - November 30th, 1993

All the King's Men Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780156012959
Availability: In Stock—Click for Details
Published: Harvest Books - September 3rd, 2002

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?: A Play Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780451158710
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Signet Book - March 1983

Coraline Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9780061139376
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - August 29th, 2006