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Ten Books to Read Before the Oscars

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Photo via Poets & Writers

The Oscar nominees are in and although the winners won’t be announced until Feb. 28, the real champions are books. So many of the nominees are adapted from best-selling novels or non-fiction books, bringing books to the big screen yet again. Here are 10 of the most-talked about nominees and the books that inspired them.

 

The Danish Girl” — based on book of the same name by David Ebershoff

This 2000 biography/novel deals with Lili Elbe, one of the first people to undergo gender reassignment surgery in the 1930s. Ebershoff readily admits he created main characters and fabricated some storylines as well, but it makes for an engaging and intense story of personal conflict in an era that had little sympathy for it.

Ninth Street Book Shop in Wilmington ($16, paperback)
Bethany Beach Books ($16, trade paperback)
Acorn Books in Smyrna ($14.40, paperback)

 

45 Years” — based on the short story “In Another Country” by David Constantine

Constantine is an accomplished British author whose work had not yet caught on with American audiences until the release of “45 Years.” “In Another Country” is the title-story in a collection of his short-form pieces from throughout his 30 years of writing.

Ninth Street Book Shop in Wilmington ($24.95, hardcover)
Bethany Beach Books ($24.95, hardcover)
Acorn Books in Smyrna ($22.45, hardcover)

 

Photo via Amazon

 “The Big Short” — based on book of the same name by Michael Lewis

Fans of investigative journalism would love Lewis’s deep dive into the 2007 financial crisis and the cast of characters who ended up getting filthy rich as a result of some shrewd and arguably unsavory dealings.

Ninth Street Book Shop in Wilmington ($15.95, paperback)
Bethany Beach Books ($15.95, trade paperback)
Acorn Books in Smyrna ($7, used paperback; $15, new paperback)

 

Brooklyn” — based on book of the same name by Colm Tóibín

This 2009 novel has already won a litany of awards and has been called one of the best historical novels ever. Toibin breaks down the Irish immigrant experience in Brooklyn in the 1950s through the eyes of Eilis Lacey, a woman struggling to make ends meet in New York. The story deals with not only romantic and sibling relationships, but calmly narrates the travails of those who come to America desperate for work.

Ninth Street Book Shop in Wilmington ($15, paperback)
Bethany Beach Books ($15, trade paperback)
Acorn Books in Smyrna ($13.50, paperback)

 

The Martian” — based on book of the same name by Andy Weir

Could you sit and look at Matt Damon’s face for two hours? Surely, and you would be a better person for it. But Weir’s sci-fi novel can take you to the exact same places, and you can feel smarter for having read a book. Then watch the Bourne trilogy to hit your Damon quota.

Ninth Street Book Shop in WIlmington ($9.99, paperback; $15, oversized paperback)
Bethany Beach Books ($15, trade paperback)
Acorn Books in Smyrna ($9.99, paperback)

 

The Revenant” — based on book by Michael Punke

This “novel of revenge,” as it is sub-titled, is a thrilling journey alongside Hugh Glass, an American pioneer who overcame severe injury, betrayal and abandonment during an expedition in the 1820s. If you prefer seeing Leonardo DiCaprio as a debonair leading man, you may enjoy the book over the movie. If you prefer to see Leo get smacked around by a grizzly bear, stick to the movie.

Ninth Street Book Shop in Wilmington ($16, paperback)
Bethany Beach Books ($16, trade paperback)
Acorn Books in Smyrna ($14.40, paperback)

 

Room” — based on book by Emma Donoghue

The stomach-churning tale of Elisabeth Fritzl’s decades long captivity at the hands of her father is actually toned down for Donoghue’s book and the resulting movie, but is still profoundly shocking nonetheless. The story centers around a mother, forced into sexual slavery, and her son, who struggle with their re-entry into society after their captor is taken into custody.

Ninth Street Book Shop in Wilmington ($7.99, paperback; $16.99, oversized paperback)
Bethany Beach Books ($16.99, trade paperback)
Acorn Books in Smyrna ($9, used paperback; $15.30, new paperback)

 

Steve Jobs” — based on book by Walter Isaacson

Jobs requested Isaacson write this biography, based on Isaacson’s successful history of documenting Ben Franklin and Albert Einstein. Released just three weeks after his death in 2011, Isaacson explores Jobs’ journey from his time as a young adult and his ascension to becoming one of the most powerful people in the world. Hundreds of interviews with Jobs, his family, his allies and competitors lead to probably the most complete look inside his guarded personal life.

Ninth Street Book Shop in Wilmington ($20, paperback)
Bethany Beach Books ($14.95, trade paperback)
Acorn Books in Smyrna ($18, paperback)

 

Carol” — based on book “The Price of Salt” by Patricia Highsmith 

Photo via Wikipedia

Another groundbreaking novel on sexuality, Highsmith had to publish this 1952 book under a pseudonym for fear of social punishment. The book has been commended for skillfully turning lesbian relationships—a taboo topic at the time—into a piece of literary art without pandering. Her previous novel, “Strangers on a Train,” also found success as an Alfred Hitchcock movie.

Ninth Street Book Shop in Wilmington ($9.95, paperback; $14.95, oversized paperback)
Bethany Beach Books ($14.95, trade paperback)
Acorn Books in Smyrna ($9.95, paperback)

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