As grand as the spectacle of film can be, books offer a different set of pleasures: There is time to ponder, to turn the page back, to sit with characters' thoughts and share in their heartbreaks, their revelations. Some big movies are coming this spring from books that with any luck there might just be enough time to read before their glossy translations hit the screen.
Charlotte Brontë's tale of romance and a man with a secret, "Jane Eyre," opens Friday. The film stars Mia Wasikowska ("Alice in Wonderland," "The Kids Are All Right") as Jane and handsome Michael Fassbender as Mr. Rochester. The much-loved novel is dark and moving, with twists and surprises. Read it, then see how the lusciously spooky costume drama plays them out on-screen.
Based on Michael Connelly's book of the same title, "The Lincoln Lawyer" — starring Matthew McConaughey — opens March 18. The Lincoln is McConaughey's car, which serves as his office as he crosses L.A. from courthouse to client. The movie's star-filled cast — Ryan Phillippe, Marisa Tomei and William H. Macy are just a few — points to the roster of intriguing characters found in Connelly's book.
Julian Schnabel ("The Diving Bell and the Butterfly") directs "Miral," starring Freida Pinto from "Slumdog Millionaire," coming to theaters March 25. Based on the semiautobiographical novel of the same name by Rula Jebreal, the book and film chronicle more than four decades in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Political opinions of the movie are bound to be strong; the book may give more room to consider the story outside the tumult.
Sara Gruen's novel "Water for Elephants" comes to theaters April 22. The Depression-era circus story stars Reese Witherspoon and everyone's favorite vampire, Robert Pattinson, as two sides of a simmering love triangle. The trailer includes a series of breathtakingly beautiful shots of the circus animals and performers under the big top. The book's combination of romance and rich detail of 1930s circus life caught on with readers in 2006; the historical novel became a surprise bestseller.