5 books to read before they hit the big screen this fall

Alastair Grant, AP

Actress and Utah native Millicent Simmonds, from left, actor Jaden Michael, author Brian Selznick, director Todd Haynes, actresses Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams pose for photographers upon arrival at the screening of the film “Wonderstruck” at the 70th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 18, 2017.

SALT LAKE CITY — With a host of books showing up on the big screen this fall, we’ve highlighted five that are (relatively) family-friendly. After all, there isn’t much that beats the satisfied feeling of being able to say at a party, “Oh, sure, the film was good, but the book was better.”

The book reviews are listed in chronological order of their corresponding films’ release dates, starting with the most recent.

‘Victoria & Abdul’

Film release date: Oct. 6

MPAA rating: PG-13

“Victoria & Abdul: The True Story of the Queen’s Closest Confidant,” by Shrabani Basu, Vintage, 334 pages (nf)

The story of Queen Victoria’s favored Indian serving man sounds like it’s going to be a little sexier than it is. “Victoria & Abdul” by Shrabani Basu summarizes the relationship between Abdul Karim and the queen during the last dozen or so years of her life from when he’s gifted to her for her Golden Jubilee until her death in 1901. Karim is often referred to as the queen’s replacement for the Scottish John Brown, her close confidant following the death of her husband Prince Albert. Four years after Brown’s death, Karim enters the queen’s life and begins teaching her Urdu, quickly becoming a treasured favorite to the dismay of the rest of Queen Victoria’s household. The book then devolves into a play-by-play of the queen’s other servants trying to get rid of this upstart nobody from India. This prideful squabbling bogs down the narrative, and unfortunately, there is little about the personal relationship between the queen and Karim — possibly because King Edward, after his mother’s death, had most of their correspondence burned. It’s definitely a loss for anyone who was hoping to get juicy details out of this rather disappointing book.

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