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Lights, Camera, Couch: 6 Cinematic Reads Paired with Delayed Films

by  | March 24
Popcorn spilling over

COVID-19, or the coronavirus, has changed a lot about our daily lives in the last few weeks. One of the biggest interruptions is the shutdown of places with large crowd gatherings, including movie theaters. As such, many studios have delayed the openings of their newest releases around the globe. Most are postponed until fall 2020, if not spring 2021—so at least we won’t completely miss the biggest releases of the year—but what to do now that you can’t go to the movies? When in doubt, there’s usually a book readily available to save the day. So, if you were excited to see any of the currently delayed titles in theaters, here are six great book alternatives that will thrill and delight you as we all do our part to help flatten the curve.

Presidio

Presidio

by Randy Kennedy

For Fast and Furious 9

Got a need for speed? Unfortunately, you will have to wait until spring 2021 to get the next installment in the Fast and Furious franchise. However, if you’re looking for something with cars, thrills, and the unexpected formation of a family, then you should read Presidio. Troy Falconer is a car thief on a mission to help his brother, Harlan, find his ex-wife, a mission that gets more complicated when they accidentally kidnap Martha, a young girl looking to escape her father. The three unlikely travelers race to the Mexican border, but trouble seems to find them no matter how fast they go. Randy Kennedy’s debut novel dives into every character but especially homes in on Troy, whose life of grand theft auto hides a dark and difficult past. A must-read for fans who are eager to see complex characters behind the wheel in one form or another.

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The Institute

The Institute

by Stephen King

For The New Mutants

When you think “school for the supernaturally/psychically gifted,” it’s a pretty safe bet that you picture the school from the X-Men series, but for the mutants in Fox’s recently delayed New Mutants, however, their new establishment isn’t quite so nice. For one, none of them are allowed to leave and, two, there’s something in the walls that seems out to get them. If you’re looking forward to that close quarters spooky action, get your fix with Stephen King’s The Institute as Luke Ellis arrives at the titular Institute due to his extraordinary abilities. With his parents dead and with seemingly no chance to escape, Luke befriends Kalisha, Nick, George, Iris, and Avery in an attempt to survive before he gets sent to the ominous Back Half. Since both The Institute and The New Mutants share dark premises, grim buildings, and a reliance on a group of friends, the Stephen King book will help you get through the long wait for the Mutants movie when it comes out later this year.

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The Silence

The Silence

by Tim Lebbon

For A Quiet Place II

When A Quiet Place burst onto the film scene in 2018, fans were clamoring for more of this world starring John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, where even the smallest noise will get you killed. If the delay of its sequel has got you down, check out Tim Lebbon’s hit novel The Silence. The book follows Ally, a deaf teenage girl trying to survive with her family as sound-sensitive monsters called “vesps” take over the earth. Fighting cults, unexpected obstacles, and their own fears, Ally and her family must trudge on through a difficult landscape in total silence, lest they become the next victims of the creatures. Sound familiar? But don’t worry, it’s not too similar; there’s plenty of new takes here for fans of the first Quiet Place film to explore and be surprised by. And after you finish reading the book, you can even watch the film adaptation of The Silence on Netflix!

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Red Sparrow

Red Sparrow

by Jason Matthews

For No Time to Die

James Bond lives to die another day, as his next feature film has been delayed. Never fear! There are plenty of books featuring spies in her majesty’s secret service, as well as other nation’s governments. If you’re looking for a double-crossing tense read, check out Red Sparrow, the first in Jason Matthews’s Red Sparrow trilogy. Dominika Egorova is forced to train as a Sparrow, a spy who uses her feminine charms to get information and kill enemy agents. Her target is CIA agent Nathaniel Nash, who works with a mole in the Russian government. Full of suspenseful twists and turns, questions of loyalty, and a high level of authenticity (Matthews is a retired CIA officer himself), this thriller will satisfy your espionage cravings.

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The Need

The Need

by Helen Phillips

For Antlers

In the now-delayed film Antlers, young Lucas has a secret: he is keeping a monster inside of his home. One that, unfortunately for the small town he lives in, escapes and runs wild, killing townsfolk. If you’re looking for a dark, claustrophobic read while you wait for the film to be released later this year, look no further than The Need. Molly is an archaeologist and mother of two who, after working in “The Pit,” finds that she’s hearing footsteps around her house. Chalking it up to exhaustion and unnecessary worrying, she soon finds that something followed her home…and it wants to take everything away from her. If you’re looking for a nightmarish thriller with a shocking twist, you’ll delight in Helen Phillips’s eerie descriptions and sinister atmosphere.

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The Bathing Women

The Bathing Women

by Tie Ning

For Mulan

While The Bathing Women doesn’t have the same fantastical elements or ancient setting as Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan, its spirit of perseverance and bravery is similar. The novel follows four young women in contemporary China fighting to live, work, and love as they choose. The book presents a narrative of struggle against cultural expectations big and small, and takes a hard look at life’s turn of events. Tie Ning is one of China’s most successful and accomplished female authors and represents her characters with a level of nuance and thoughtfulness that makes her work hard to put down. With a quiet grace sure to enthrall readers, this masterful novel highlights the theme that important battles don’t only happen in war.

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A reporter by trade, Sara Roncero-Menendez is a lover of horror, sci-fi, and all things pop culture. From indies to classics to even the strangest genre pieces, all movies, TV shows, and books are fair game for a binge-fest. Follow her on Twitter @sararomenen or at her website, www.sara-roncero-menendez.com