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  • Ross Johnson 9:00 pm on 2019/02/08 Permalink
    Tags: , , , andre aciman, , , , , diana gabaladon, fingersmith, flavor of love, giovanni's room, helen simonson, , , jojo moyes, , , , major pettigrew's last stand, , , one day, , , , , , the age of light, the proposal, , valentine's day books, whitney scharer   

    15 Love Stories to Match Your Valentine’s Day Mood 


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    It’s almost Valentine’s Day—and the perfect time to year to read a love story. But our tastes in romantic tales vary as much as our dating profiles: sometimes we want our literary lovers to make us laugh, and just as often, we need a really good cry. Whether your tastes tend toward the lighthearted or the tragic, there is assuredly a romantic novel out there for everyone.

    Here are our suggestions for 15 different types of love stories to match your Valentine’s Day mood.

    Unforgettable

    Call Me By Your Name, by André Aciman
    This tender love story, the basis for the award-winning film, is a pure delight in terms of character and storytelling, chronicling the burgeoning attraction between the curious, precocious 17-year old Elio and 24-year old Oliver in the Italian Riviera of the 1980s and its reverberations through their lives over the course of two succeeding decades. The setting is almost as sumptuous as the romance, as the two live out a travel agent’s dream, lounging around the gorgeous Italian countryside and coming to rest in picturesque villas. It’s a perfectly sun-kissed love story for this dreary mid-winter month.

    Magical

    A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness
    For readers who like their romance with a bit of dark magic on the side. When factions of supernatural creatures set their sights on a document that could give them the upper hand in a war, a reluctant witch must seek the protection of an equally reluctant vampire, her supposed mortal enemy. Witch tales have a tendency to emphasize the importance of family… but in this case, it could the witch’s own family that wants her dead. Will true love prevail between these two warring beings?

    Unrequited

    The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro
    This Booker Prize–winning novel tells the powerful, poignant story of a devoted English butler who takes a road trip to reflect upon his life, which mainly revolved around a 30-year career of service to his lordship. For much of that time, he harbors feelings for Darlington Hall’s housekeeper Miss Kenton—affections Mr. Stevens’ deeply ingrained sense of duty makes it inconceivable that he would ever express, or even fully acknowledge to himself. There is nothing that wounds the heart quite like an unrequited love affair, and this is a novel that will leave a scar upon every reader.

    Heartbreaking

    An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones
    Newlyweds Roy and Celestial find their marriage tested after a cruel twist of fate sends Roy to prison in another state for a crime he didn’t commit. As the years of separation drag on, Celestial turns to her friend since childhood, Andre, for comfort, and Andre’s perspective provides new insight into her painful situation. Letters sent between husband and wife further illuminate this incredible, contemporary study of marriage, loyalty, and racial injustice.

    Saucy

    Fingersmith, by Sarah Waters
    Sarah Waters’ tale of Dickensian skulduggery is so twisty and deceptive, we can promise you’ll nearly drop the book in shock not once, not twice, but three times while reading it. The story begins with the low-born Sue, an orphan trained in deception by a Fagin-like mentor named Mrs. Sucksby, accompanying a master thief and con artist known as the Gentleman on his latest scheme. She’s taken on the guise of a lady’s maid, playing a supporting role as he seduces a wealthy heiress with an eye toward having the poor woman committed to an asylum as soon as they are wed so he can claim her fortune. It’s just another job for Sue—until she makes the mistake of falling in love with the Maud, the plot’s intended victim.

    Delightful

    The Proposal, by Jasmine Guillory
    Nikole Paterson has just experienced a bit of embarrassment: her ridiculous boyfriend of five months proposed to her via scoreboard at a baseball game—and spelled her name wrong doing so. Understandably, she’s not exactly feeling the ’til-death vibes, so she decides to hightail it out of the stadium, fleeing the nosy camera crews and 45,000 fans. Her exit is made more swift via the unexpected aide of one Dr. Carlos Ibarra, who even sticks around after she gets trolled via social media for hightailing it. (Dear trolls of the world—Get a life!) Nikole and Carlos tentatively embark on a quiet romance. She thinks she’ll be fine with just a fling to help her get over her embarrassment, but oon realizes that Carlos just might be the real deal.

    Timeless

    Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon
    “A timeless love story” is a discriptor to be taken rather literally in the case of Gabaldon’s beloved novel, the first in a series that mixes rich historical detail with a romance that stretches across centuries. Former combat nurse Ruth Randall, just reunited with her husband after World War II, walks through a stone circle in 1945 to find herself in war-torn Scotland in the year 1743. There, she meets the fiery Jamie Fraser, beginning a passionate, deeply sexy love triangle as she finds herself torn between two different men, two different centuries, and two vastly different lives.

    Unconditional

    Me Before You, Jojo Moyes
    If you’re looking for love story that will break your heart open, most any Jojo Moyes book is a safe bet. Each one of them is filled with heart and characters you can’t help caring about, and none more so than Me Before You, which tells the story of Louisa, a sheltered girl whose life changes when she takes a job caring for Will, a suicidal man who resents that he must use a wheelchair following a terrible accident. Their love grows and endures through any number of challenges, but may not be able to overcome all. This book will definitely make you cry buckets—but it will also make you laugh, and nod your head in recognition, and flip back to the first page to read it again.

    Hilarious

    Crazy Rich Asians, by Kevin Kwan
    In this novel and its sequels, China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People ProblemsKevin Kwan dives into the funny, soapy world of super-wealthy Asian and Asian-American characters, centering on the relationship between New Yorker Rachel Chu and her boyfriend Nicholas Young. When the two head off to Singapore for the summer, Rachel thinks she’ll be meeting Nick’s family and staying in their humble family home. But Nick failed to tell her that his family is rich. And not just a little rich—crazy rich. Thus Rachel becomes our eyes and ears on a journey into the decadent lives of some of Asia’s richest families. Much of the fun of Kwan’s trilogy comes from reveling in sordid stories of unimaginable excess, but the true magic is the way it makes you can about the love story at its center. Romance abounds, even if the books’ many relationships never quite play out as you might expect.

    Scandalous

    Love and Ruin, by Paula McLain
    The past can certainly feel more romantic than the present, as in this thrilling tale of novelist and travel writer Martha Gellhorn, the third wife of Ernest Hemingway. Already famous for her journalistic work during the 1930s, Gellhorn meets the older Hemingway and their romance sizzles from the start—for a time. McLain masterfully brings these historical figures to life, depicting Hemingway’s neediness and instability, traits that slowly ruin an ideal marriage. Gellhorn makes her break from Hemingway in dramatic fashion, stowing away on a hospital ship bound for Normandy on D-Day, and subsequently becoming the first journalist of either gender to report back from the massive invasion of Fortress Europe. The story’s twists and turns wouldn’t be believable if they weren’t based on real events.

    Intense

    The Age of Light, by Whitney Scharer
    Whitney Scharer’s historical fiction hit focuses on Lee Miller, a larger-than-life figure who worked as a fashion model in 1920s New York before traveling to Paris and apprenticing herself to famed photographer Man Ray. She eventually became his collaborator, lover, and muse as she develops her art and starts her own photography studio. During World War II, she serves as a war correspondent and photojournalist for Vogue—and somehow that’s only a handful of the twists and turns this dynamic woman’s life will take. Scharer not only brings to life the tempestuous and passionate love affair between Miller and Ray, but illustrates how they pushed and prodded one another to even greater creative heights in their work.

    Charming

    Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, by Helen Simonson
    The retired and entirely proper Major Ernest Pettigrew lives in the tiny English village of Edgecombe St. Mary, enjoying tea and all the other sorts of things that retired Englishmen are meant to appreciate. Then his brother’s death brings him into the orbit of the recently widowed Mrs. Jasmina Ali, a Pakistani shopkeeper with whom he develops first a friendship and then a romance. Polite society frowns on such a match, complicating matters for the Major in a novel that playfully explores a love that defies obstacles of race and class.

    Illuminating

    Giovanni’s Room, by James Baldwin
    Tender but intense, Baldwin’s 1956 novel is a foundational work of 20th century gay literature. It tells the story of an American named David who is abandoned left in Paris by his girlfriend, and the Italian man, Giovanni, whom he meets at a gay bar and unexpectedly goes home with. Baldwin explores issues of masculinity and alienation as he plays out the lovely, forbidden, and ultimately doomed romance between the two men.

    Classic

    A Walk to Remember, by Nicholas Sparks
    Oh, the tears that have fallen over the pages of this love-against-all-odds romance. Bad boy Landon meets Jamie after he is forced to participate in the school play—it’s that or expulsion. Over time, he finds himself drawn to the girl, who warns him it is in his best interests not to fall in love with her. By then, of course, it’s already too late for them both: Landon leaves his old life and friends behind to be with her, and when Jamie reveals a devastating secret to him, they cling to one another, even when it seems that all hope is lost.

    Tragic

    One Day, by David Nicholls
    Dexter and Emma spend the night together in 1988 following their graduation from Edinburgh University, speculating about the future course of their lives. Each subsequent year, on July 15, Nicholls’ novel revisits the friends and sometimes lovers to chart the course of their lives, loves, careers, and romances. Before it’s over, we circle back to that first night in order to better understand the significance of the date, and of the long relationship between the two, and of the journeys they’ve taken as they’ve moved in and out of each other’s lives.

    What’s your Valentine’s Day romance of choice this year?

    The post 15 Love Stories to Match Your Valentine’s Day Mood appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Sarah Skilton 5:00 pm on 2017/12/26 Permalink
    Tags: , blood sisters, , , dara horn, , eternal life, fall from grace, , fools and mortals, it occurs to me that i am america: new stories and art, , jojo moyes, jonathan santlofer, melanie benjamin, munich, robert harris, still me, the girls in the picture, , ,   

    The Best New Fiction of January 2018 


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    January brings us several irresistible pairings: Two historical novels about the acting and writing life, one set during the glitz and glamour of early Hollywood, the other set on the Shakespearean stage of 1595;  Jojo Moyes and Danielle Steel’s latest works both concern the pitfalls and triumphs of starting over and taking charge of one’s life under difficult circumstances; and the final pairing depicts immortality in various forms, with Chloe Benjamin’s The Immortalists and Dora Horn’s Eternal Life. Rounding out the new year is a thriller from Robert Harris, the late great Denis Johnson’s final short story collection, and an anthology about democracy timed to coincide with the anniversary of the Women’s March.

    Still Me, by Jojo Moyes
    Coming off the worldwide success of Me Before You (also a movie starring Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin), Moyes’ latest continues the uplifting adventures of Louisa (“Lou”) Clark, now living in New York City. Her journey of self-discovery includes choosing between her old life—in England with Sam—and her new one, as a household assistant for the powerful Gopnik family. As Lou becomes enmeshed in the ritzy, wealthy lives around her, she does her best to honor Will Traynor’s wish that she “live boldly.”

    Fall from Grace, by Danielle Steel
    When Sydney Wells’s husband dies, leaving Sydney with nothing, her luxurious existence comes to an abrupt end. With no place to call home, no source of income, and no help from her family, Sydney (who is pushing 50) is forced to start to over. Her new job in the cutthroat fashion industry finds her framed for a crime, but without anyone to rely on but herself, she must tap into reserves of strength she didn’t know she had in order to survive.

    Munich, by Robert Harris
    A master of historical fiction (Fatherland; Pompeii), Harris has earned fans the world over for his thrilling stories and complex characters. In depicting the run-up to Britain’s involvement in World War II, Harris focuses on the fateful Conference of Munich. Hugh Legat, private secretary to Prime Minister Chamberlain, and Paul von Hartmann, a member of the German diplomatic corps, are former friends who studied together at Oxford. Six years after their last meeting, they now find themselves on opposite sides of the looming war—or do they? Hartmann’s loyalties may not be as clear-cut as they first appear. 

    Fools and Mortals, by Bernard Cornwell
    Imagine watching the first stage production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1595 through the eyes of Shakespeare’s brother Richard, a handsome albeit grifting actor without a penny to his name. Jealous of William’s domination of the London stage, and bitter that William barely lifts a finger to help him, Richard is accused of a crime whose punishment is death. While showcasing the art of stagecraft in the Elizabethan era, Fools and Mortals also invites viewers to visit the darker underbelly of London as Richard tries desperately to clear his name.

    The Girls in the Picture, by Melanie Benjamin
    The bestselling author of Swans of Fifth Avenue sets her sights on the West Coast in a story about the friendship between two Hollywood legends at the dawn of Hollywood: “America’s Sweetheart” herself, Mary Pickford, and award-winning screenwriter (“scenarist”) extraordinaire Frances Marion. The year is 1914, the U.S. has not yet entered The Great War, and the silent film industry is thriving. Despite their financial and creative successes, both women find their ambitions curtailed to a degree, and the introduction of “talkies” may very well end Mary’s career, just as Marion’s is picking up steam. Perfect for fans of A Touch of Stardust, by Kate Alcott, and Silent Murders, by Mary Miley.

    Blood Sisters, by Jane Corry
    As a follow-up to My Husband’s Wife, Sisters provides even more twists and turns than Corry’s debut thriller. In 2001, a car crash claimed three victims. Although two of the girls survived the ordeal, fifteen years later their lives remain damaged. Kitty resides in an institution, unable to remember or communicate about her past, while Alison’s new job teaching art at a men’s prison puts her in more danger than she realizes. Dual POVs add to the rising tension throughout.

    The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin
    When the Gold siblings (Simon, Klara, Daniel, Varya), growing up in New York City in 1969, hear rumors that a mystic fortune teller is in town revealing people’s death dates, they line up to have their fates revealed. Through the next fifty years, we learn how the answer to that question has informed and perhaps guaranteed the course of their very different lives. A story about family, faith, and the power of illusion to overtake reality, The Immortalists promises to be literary fiction of the highest caliber.

    The Largesse of the Sea Maiden, by Denis Johnson
    The great Denis Johnson (Jesus’ Son became a film starring Billy Crudup and Samantha Morton; Tree of Smoke won the National Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize) passed away last May, but his final publication revives his trademark empathy for the downtrodden—the “losers” and “failures” of the world. This collection of short stories concerns alcoholics, criminals, advertising execs, and even a couple of writers, all of whom grapple for understanding in a tough world. In Johnson’s hands, the result will be pure poetry.

    Eternal Life, by Dara Horn
    Rachel made a bargain 2,000 years ago to spare the life of her son, and it worked. What did she give up in return? Her own death. In other words, she’s been forced to live forever but at this point—dozens of husbands and hundreds of children later—she desperately wishes to shuffle off this mortal coil. Her fellow traveler in the realm of immortality is a man she once loved, Elezar, who’s determined to keep her in his sights. Salvation may arrive in the form of Rachel’s latest granddaughter, who’s studying DNA and anti-aging and growing closer to discovering Rachel’s secret.

    It Occurs to Me That I Am America: New Stories and Art, edited by Jonathan Santlofer
    Some of the world’s finest and most beloved artists and writers have come together for this anthology of fiction and artwork dedicated to understanding, reaffirming, and celebrating democracy. Contributors include Mary Higgins Clark, Lee Child, Neil Gaiman, Joyce Carol Oates, Richard Russo, Alice Hoffman, Elizabeth Strout, Louise Erdrich, Walter Mosley, Julia Alvarez, Art Spiegelman, Sara Paretsky, Alice Walker, Paul Theroux, Susan Isaacs, Ha Jin, Roz Chast, and Joyce Maynard, among others. Its publication couldn’t be more timely or important. As the Executive Director of the ACLU, Anthony D. Romero puts it, “History has shown the crucial role artists play in challenging injustice during times of crisis.”

    What are you excited to read in January?

    The post The Best New Fiction of January 2018 appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Danielle Herzog 4:00 pm on 2016/10/19 Permalink
    Tags: , jojo moyes, ,   

    Jojo Moyes Gets to the Heart of the Matter in Paris for One and Other Stories 


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    Who doesn’t dream of jetting off to Paris for a romantic couples weekend? Wine, cheese, the Eiffel tower—all in one beautiful place that simply oozes romance. This is exactly what Nell, the lead character in the title story of Jojo Moyes’ latest collection of short stories, Paris for One and Other Stories, can’t wait to experience. But in this charming novella, Nell’s dreams don’t exactly become reality. When her poor excuse for a boyfriend backs out of the trip just as Nell drops her bags in the City of Lights, she finds herself on an unexpected adventure that changes the course of her life.

    Like many of the stories in this collection, “Paris for One” is a sweet, fun read that will fly by. It’ll also have you cheering for an appealing character to learn to trust love again and open her heart to new experiences. (And, naturally, salivating at all the culinary loveliness that comes from dining in Paris.) Nell has always taken the safe road in life, and to see her hop on the back of a stranger’s scooter and hold on tight, takes the reader on an exciting journey along with her. It’s delightful to watch as she begins to come out of her shell, living life the way she’s always wanted to live it; finding her strength, along with her voice.

    The discovery of a hidden strength of character is also woven throughout the other stories in this collection. “Between the Tweets” features Bella, a female detective hired to figure out who is behind defamatory tweets about a television host. Not only is Bella a force to be reckoned with during her investigation, but so is the person secretly sending those tweets. And let me tell you, this story has one of those powerful endings that makes your jaw drop, and leaves you looking around for someone you can immediately tell about it.

    My personal favorite of all the gems in this collection was the very last one, “The Christmas List.” It isn’t so much of a story, as much as an opportunity to be an extra passenger in a taxi cab that currently holds an anxiety-ridden woman desperate to please all of the people around her. It’s through the kindness of a stranger, her driver, that she awakens to just how unhappy she is and what the true spirit of Christmas is really all about. The story is a wonderful reminder of how giving happiness doesn’t have to be at the expense of your own.

    Just as she did in her enormously popular and resonant New York Times bestsellers, Me Before You, and After You, Moyes mixes a potent cocktail of humor, irony, and strong female protagonists and then shakes things up in this heady collection that fans—as well as new readers—will love.

    Paris for One and Other Stories is available now!

    The post Jojo Moyes Gets to the Heart of the Matter in Paris for One and Other Stories appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Danielle Herzog 4:00 pm on 2016/10/19 Permalink
    Tags: , jojo moyes, ,   

    Jojo Moyes Gets to the Heart of the Matter in Paris for One and Other Stories 


    Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 7 in /homepages/23/d339537987/htdocs/do/wp-content/themes/p2/inc/mentions.php on line 77

    Who doesn’t dream of jetting off to Paris for a romantic couples weekend? Wine, cheese, the Eiffel tower—all in one beautiful place that simply oozes romance. This is exactly what Nell, the lead character in the title story of Jojo Moyes’ latest collection of short stories, Paris for One and Other Stories, can’t wait to experience. But in this charming novella, Nell’s dreams don’t exactly become reality. When her poor excuse for a boyfriend backs out of the trip just as Nell drops her bags in the City of Lights, she finds herself on an unexpected adventure that changes the course of her life.

    Like many of the stories in this collection, “Paris for One” is a sweet, fun read that will fly by. It’ll also have you cheering for an appealing character to learn to trust love again and open her heart to new experiences. (And, naturally, salivating at all the culinary loveliness that comes from dining in Paris.) Nell has always taken the safe road in life, and to see her hop on the back of a stranger’s scooter and hold on tight, takes the reader on an exciting journey along with her. It’s delightful to watch as she begins to come out of her shell, living life the way she’s always wanted to live it; finding her strength, along with her voice.

    The discovery of a hidden strength of character is also woven throughout the other stories in this collection. “Between the Tweets” features Bella, a female detective hired to figure out who is behind defamatory tweets about a television host. Not only is Bella a force to be reckoned with during her investigation, but so is the person secretly sending those tweets. And let me tell you, this story has one of those powerful endings that makes your jaw drop, and leaves you looking around for someone you can immediately tell about it.

    My personal favorite of all the gems in this collection was the very last one, “The Christmas List.” It isn’t so much of a story, as much as an opportunity to be an extra passenger in a taxi cab that currently holds an anxiety-ridden woman desperate to please all of the people around her. It’s through the kindness of a stranger, her driver, that she awakens to just how unhappy she is and what the true spirit of Christmas is really all about. The story is a wonderful reminder of how giving happiness doesn’t have to be at the expense of your own.

    Just as she did in her enormously popular and resonant New York Times bestsellers, Me Before You, and After You, Moyes mixes a potent cocktail of humor, irony, and strong female protagonists and then shakes things up in this heady collection that fans—as well as new readers—will love.

    Paris for One and Other Stories is available now!

    The post Jojo Moyes Gets to the Heart of the Matter in Paris for One and Other Stories appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Joel Cunningham 3:32 pm on 2016/05/19 Permalink
    Tags: alice through the looking glass, ben-hur, , jojo moyes, , , , tarzan,   

    Summer Adaptations We Can’t Wait to See 


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    There’s nothing better than grabbing a book and wiling away a lazy summer afternoon reading under a tree—but for those days when it gets so hot your sunglasses are slipping off of your nose and you can no longer focus on the pages in front of you, perhaps a trip to the cineplex is in order. You’ll cool off in the frigid A/C, and as long as you see one of the season’s much-anticipated book adaptations, you can kind of, sort of count your expedition as reading.

    Alice Through the Looking Glass (May 27), directed by James Bobin, based on the book by Lewis Carroll
    After Tim Burton’s take on Alice in Wonderland grossed over $1 billion wordwide, it wasn’t a question of if, but when we’d see more of the young woman’s journey down the rabbit hole—or through a mirror, as the case may be. The Muppets‘ helmer James Bobin replaces Burton, but most of the original cast (including Mia Wasikowska as Alice and Helena Bonham Carter as the Queen of Hearts) returns for more madcap 3-D adventures in a land where anything can happen, thanks to the unparalleled imagination on display in Lewis Carroll’s original books, and an assist from wall-to-wall CGI. This one looks even nuttier than the last, which is saying something.

    Me Before You (June 3), directed by Thea Sharrock, based on the book by Jojo Moyes
    Load up on extra tissues before you head out to see this year’s contender for the “Fault in Our Stars Memorial Award for the Film Inducing the Most Heaving Sobs in a Single Viewing.” BBC television veteran Thea Sharrock (whose work on Call the Midwife proves she knows from tragedy) directs Game of Thrones‘ Emilia Clarke in this adaptation of Jojo Moyes’ breakout tearjerker about Louisa Clark, a home health aid who gets a job caring for a wealthy, formerly adventurous man recently paralyzed in an accident. After he fails in a suicide attempt, Louisa convinces him to agree to go another six months before he tries to end his life again. She’s determined to prove to him that live is worth living. We’re determined to leave the theater without visible snot dripping from our noses.

    The Free State of Jones (June 24), directed by Gary Ross, based on the book by Victoria E. Bynum
    Director Gary Ross (The Hunger Games, Seabiscuit) is at the helm of this period drama inspired by real history, as recounted in the same-titled book by historian Victoria E. Bynum. Matthew McConaughey plays Civil War rebellion leader Newton Wayne, who was injured in the Battle or Corinth in 1862 and went on to assemble a band of fellow disgruntled soldiers to fight against the Confederacy in their hometown of Jones County, Mississippi. The supporting cast includes Keri Russell, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Brendan Gleeson.

    The BFG (July 1), directed by Stephen Spielberg, based on the book by Roald Dahl
    The master of fun-for-the-whole-family entertainment looks to be back in top form with this lavish adaptation of one of Roald Dahl’s creepiest, most beloved children’s books. A young girl named Sophie befriends the towering giant (played in a motion-capture performance by recent Oscar winner Mark Rylance) who steals her from her bedroom at night and whisks her off to Giant Country, and on a quest to put a stop to the terrible band of man-eating giants that have been preying on our world (preferring mostly to consume children, naturally). Wait, no, it really is for kids. Early reviews indicate that Spielberg is true to the darkness lurking in Dahl’s beloved original, and Rylance looks like he walked out of one of those dreams the BFG delights in blowing into children’s bedrooms at night.

    The Legend of Tarzan (July 1). directed by David Yates, based on the book by Edgar Rice Burroughs
    book with too many film versions to count, Edgar Rice Burrough’s seminal lord of the jungle is swinging back to theaters. Creators have struggled with Burroughs adaptations in the past (see: the underrated and underperforming John Carter). Tarzan is a character who sounds silly in the blurb, but works best when treated with some (but not too much) seriousness. If they can nail the tone with this one, it should be a lot of fun. Veteran Harry Potter director David Yates directs, and in the title role, True Blood’s Alexander Skarsgård absolutely looks the part.

    The Infiltrator (July 13), directed by Brad Furman, based on the book by Robert Mazur
    Bryan Cranston stars in this sure-to-be-harrowing adaptation of former Federal agent Robert Mazur’s memoir of a five-year deep-cover assignment within a money-laundering operation that provided capital to one of the most notorious criminals in modern history: drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. Here’s hoping The Lincoln Lawyer director Brad Furman takes as much time exploring the surprisingly mundane world of the corrupt bankers who funneled cash to a murderous cartel with the efficiency of Wall Street wealth managers as he does setting up the tense action set-pieces, including a climactic standoff at a wedding attended by dozens of high-ranking criminals.

    Ben-Hur (August 19), directed by Timur Bekmambetov, based on the book by Lew Wallace
    If you’re going to remake Ben-Hur, one of the splashiest spectacles of Hollywood’s Golden Age, you need to go big, or go home. That’s probably why MGM picked Timur Bekmambetov, the mad genius behind Wanted and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, to take a second stab at adapting Lew Wallace’s classic book, which has been called “the most influential Christian novel of the 19th century.” Who better to tell the story of a man’s rise from slave to celebrated charioteer (not to mention the story of Jesus) than the guy who taught Angelina Jolie to bend bullets?

     
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