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Need new books to add to your reading list? Quentin Tarantino has a few recommendations for you. The director, screenwriter, producer, and author shared his literary picks during an interview with “The Bigger Picture” podcast late last month to promote his debut novel, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”
Besides speaking in depth about what it took to pen his first novel, and revealing plans for a potential book version of “Reservoir Dogs,” Tarantino discussed the art of film novelizations, before listing a few books that inspired his work.
Regardless of whether you’re a fan of Tarantino’s movies, diving into a good book is the kind of fun summer activity that doesn’t require leaving the house. Look below to find out which novels Tarantino recommended and where you can buy them. For more film-related reading guides, check out the best screenwriting books, and a list of books that every first-time filmmakers should read.
Revered writer John Minahan is Tarantino’s “absolute favorite” novelist and “9/30/55″ is one of his most popular books. Based on a screenplay by James Bridges, the novel chronicles the story of an Arkansas college student devastated by the death of his idol, James Dean, on September 30, 1955. It’s extremely rare to find “9/30/55” online, but you can buy a used copy on eBay.
“Eyewitness”, another Tarantino favorite from Minahan, was adapted from the screenplay written by Steve Tesich for the 1981 neo-noir thriller directed by Peter Yates. The novel is about a janitor (played by William Hurt in the film) who witnesses a murder, and falls for a local news reporter (played by Sigourney Weaver) when she shows up to his job to cover the story. The novelization is told from the janitor’s perspective.
“The Moviegoer” isn’t a film novelization, but it is one of Tarantino’s favorite books. The novel won a National Book Award and helped established Walker Percy as one of the premier voices of Southern literature.
Set in the late 1950s during Mardi Gras, “The Moviegoer” is about John “Binx” Bolling, a New Orleans stockbroker, movie enthusiast, and Korean War veteran, searching for the meaning of life as his 30th birthday approaches. Binx’s decision to embark on a spiritual quest outrages his family, endangers his cousin Kate, and sends him wandering through the chaos of New Orleans’ French Quarter to Chicago, and the Gulf Coast.
“The Moviegoer” never became a film, and although Terrence Malick adapted the book into a script in the late ’80s, the project never materialized. After Hurricane Katrina left the city in ruins, Malick noted, “I don’t think the New Orleans of the book exists anymore.”
According to Tarantino, “The Omen” by David Seltzer, is “so well written most people assumed ‘The Omen’ movie was based on [the] novel.” Like the classic horror flick, “The Omen” novelization details the story of Jeremy Thorn, a United States Ambassador to England, and his wife Katherine, who become parents of a baby boy with a devilish prophecy to fulfill.