Oscar buzz: 7 books behind the top contenders


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Roll out the red carpet for these top reads-turned-Oscar contenders at this weekend’s 89th Academy Awards. For those wanting to check out the books that inspired the movies, VPL’s reading experts bring you this list of Oscar-worthy books:


Book: Fences by August Wilson
Movie: Fences, nominated for four Oscars including best picture

Poverty, abuse and racism are some of the many fences in Troy Maxson’s life. A sanitation worker living in Pittsburgh during the 1950s, he’s bitter over his thwarted dream of becoming a professional baseball player and builds even more fences between himself and his family. A truly powerful story!

Hidden Figures

Book: Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
Movie: Hidden Figures, nominated for three Oscars including best picture

Trail-blazing mathematicians Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden were the ‘human computers’ who worked alongside NASA engineers during the space race of the 1950s and 1960s –a period of rampant sexism and racism. Hidden Figures tells the little-known true stories of these four African-American women.

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A Long Way Home | LionBook: A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley
Movie: Lion, nominated for six Oscars including best picture and cinematography

This true story follows five-year-old Saroo Brierley, who becomes lost on a train in India and survives alone for weeks until he is adopted by an Australian couple. Years later and despite all odds, Saroo rediscovers his childhood home using Google Earth and sets off in search of his long-lost family in India.

A Man Called OveBook: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Movie: A Man Called Ove, nominated for two Oscars including best foreign language film

Ove is a grumpy old man who spends his days enforcing neighbourhood watch rules and visiting his wife’s grave. Things get worse when a young family moves next door and accidentally flattens Ove’s mailbox. But then, an unlikely friendship begins to develop and you’ll experience a little bit of everything in this heart-warming story.

SilenceBook: Silence by Shusaku Endo
Movie: Silence, nominated for best cinematography

Father Rodrigues is a young Portuguese Jesuit priest who travels to 17th century Japan to seek out his mentor, who is rumoured to have renounced his faith. Captured and surrounded by religious persecution, he witnesses unimaginable cruelties that test his beliefs.

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Stories of Your Life and Others | ArrivalBook: Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang
Movie: Arrival, nominated for seven Oscars including best cinematography and director

While deciphering and studying an alien language, linguist Louise Banks acquires an unusual perception of time and begins to remember the future the way she remembers the past. Louise and the narrative move back and forth between present day and the future in this fascinating science fiction story.

Tony and Susan | Nocturnal AnimalsBook: Tony and Susan by Austin McGiffert Wright
Movie: Nocturnal Animals, nominated for best supporting actor

When Susan’s ex-husband, Edward, sends her the manuscript of his first novel, she is forced to confront some of her darkest fears. As the story – both in the manuscript and the book – begins to unfold, you become drawn into Edward’s thriller and Susan’s mind. This is a dazzling and eerie read that will keep you turning the page.

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