How many times have you read a book and thought to yourself, "Man, that would make a great movie"? If that thought occurs, you can't help but indulge in a bit of fantasy casting, trying to think of the best actor or actress to bring out what you so loved about a particular character, or try to figure out the right director to bring out the right tone for it all. Even more fun if you don't restrict yourself to contemporary choices (for example...... I dunno, Jean Harlow, Aaron Eckhart and John Leguizamo star in The Great Gatsby, directed by Billy Wilder).
There are times, though, when you see a film that follows a writer, or an aspiring one at least, who has a book that grabs you in a similar way. Either by hearing snatches of what it's about or even just observing the effect it has on other people in the film, you can't help but think, "Man, I really want to read that." Of course, the sad truth is that we can never read these books by simple virtue that they don't exist anywhere except within the alternate reality of the world within the film. Think of the dozens of titles that we'll never get to read (unless someone discovers that ticket from Last Action Hero).
Presented here is a list of the books that would be great to have on the bookshelf, were it not for the bothersome fact that they only exist in the movies.
(Note: Yes, some of these titles do technically exist in the real world, but not in the way they are in the movies. When I say I want the books from the movies, I mean exactly that.)
Playing with the demon-summoning forces of the Netherworld has never been so easy, unpredictable, scary, and fun. With this handy book, written in blood and bound in human flesh, you can peruse the plethora of prophecies, bizarre funerary incantions, and demon resurrection passages contained therein. Sure, it may unleash an ungodly evil plague on the world, but that's all just superstition, right? You best believe I want that on my bookshelf, or at least on a decorative plinth or alter in the corner.
2. A Match Made in Space by George McFly (Back to the Future)
George McFly, a man who was a loser in high school, butt of all jokes, a real slacker. A writer of science fiction at heart, he shrunk from confrontation of any kind and never let anyone read his stories. Until he met a guy named Marty, who talked funny and always wore a life-preserver. Marty gave George the confidence to stand up, go after what he wanted and do something with his writing. McFly's first book is an sf-infused love story, taking no small amount of inspiring from his strange visitor, who disappeared from his life just as suddenly. His kid looks kind of familiar, though.
3. The Philosophy of Time Travel by Roberta Sparrow (Donnie Darko)
What if time travel were possible? No fooling, actually possible. Former high school science teacher Roberta Sparrow published her weighty tome on the practicalities and implications of time travel, the complexity of which may or may not have been responsible for her subsequent slide into senility. It may have the mind- and reality-bending effect of looping time on itself and allowing the traveller to walk through existence as a barely present, potentially schizophrenic entity... but it's precisely the kind of dangerous book that you just have to have.
4. Henry Jones's Grail diary by Dr. Henry Jones Sr. (Indian Jones and the Last Crusade)
Part puzzle book, part historical tome, part treasure map, and part autograph book. The Grail diary of Dr. Henry Jones Sr. is the most comprehensive and direct account of the history of the Holy Grail, and a step-by-step guide on how to find it. It's certainly a rare item to have on your bookshelf, so there will be no small amount of competition for it. The secrets it can unlock might just lead to immense power and immortality, making it near priceless... but the sentimental value is equally through the roof.
Are you dead? Sorry to hear about that. This is clearly very troubling for you. You must have a lot of questions. Here, you should take this, it will tell you everything you need to know about how to handle your recent passing and guide you through the next stage of your existence. Take the time to read and you'll find being dead doesn't mean you can't live a long and productive afterlife. Even the living can find something of use from these pages, but its best to keep the worlds separate. We don’t want anything untoward happening now, do we?
6. The Complete Works of the family Tenenbaum (The Royal Tenenbaums)
Honest to God, we could fill the entire bookshelf with just the works of the extended family Tenenbaum, and it would be some of the best reading material this side of alternate reality, so why not include them all in one handy collected edition of eclectic genius. You’ve got Three Plays: Erotic Transference, Nakedness Tonight, and Static Electricity by Margot Tenenbaum; The Peculiar Neurodegenerative Inhabitants of the Kazawa Atoll and Dudley's World by Raleigh St. Clair; Old Custer by Eli Cash; Accounting for Everything: A Guide to Personal Finance by Henry Sherman; and Family of Geniuses by Etheline Tenenbaum, which would perhaps prove the most illuminating book in the series. So good, it may just require its own bookshelf.
7. The Long Road Home by Mike Enslin (1408)
Author Mike Enslin is better known for his non-fiction work, like his Ten Nights in... series, in which he debunks supposedly paranormal events, ghostly sightings and haunted hotel rooms. However, prior to this turn towards the spiritually skeptical, his first work was a work of fiction, a very good and emotional one, too. Critics were rather disheartened to see him turn away from his true writerly talent in favour of trashy exploitation pseudo-journalism, but perhaps something changed in him and he just couldn't do it anymore. Though he may not have it in him, we're still lucky enough to have The Long Road Home on the shelf.
8. How I Did It by Dr. Victor Von Frankenstein (Young Frankenstein)
The legendary Dr. Frankenstein, the man who disobeyed the laws of man, nature and God himself, cheating death to create a monster... His monster. A landmark advance in science, Frankenstein noted his process and explained his methodology in this book, which was subsequently discovered by his grandson, Frederick, himself a noted and respected doctor of medicine. This book is probably one of the most dangerous out there, for should it ever fall into the hands of a madman the consequences would be dire... On the shelf it goes.
Many people set out to write the great American novel, but William Forrester actually did it with his first book - Avalon Landing. An instant classic to be celebrated by critics, studied in classrooms and read by millions, it was Forrester's one and only contribution to literature, disappearing into obscurity. Now a total recluse, barely seen by anyone, the literary world waits with great anticipation to see if the genius has one more story in him that could equally change the landscape of modern literature. This is an absolute necessity for the bookshelves of every reader of fictitious fiction.
10. Tropic Thunder: The True Story by John "Four Leaf" Tayback (Tropic Thunder)
John Tayback, aka "Four Leaf", is an American patriot, a soldier who fought for his country in the Vietnam War, losing friends and both of his hands in the process. His sacrifice and that of his fellow soldiers is recounted in the true story of Tropic Thunder. The horrors of war, the suffering of those that fought in it and the camaraderie they find together as they try survive day-to-day in hostile enemy territory. Very exciting that the book has been optioned by Hollywood and a big screen adaptation is on the way, set to star Tugg Speedman and Kirk Lazarus. Can't wait to see what that looks like. In the meantime, the book goes on the shelf.
11. Baby Steps by Dr. Leo Marvin (What About Bob?)
Dr. Leo Marvin is an eminent New York-based psychiatrist who specialises in helping patients overcome the phobias that keep them from living their lives. That's where Baby Steps comes in. Baby Steps is Dr. Marvin's guide to mental well-being and emotional stability through the introduction of small incremental changes to the patient's day-to-day activities. Rather than insisting on grand changes made within a person's life that maybe difficult to maintain, Dr. Marvin suggests Baby Steps. Good mental health is here, right on the movie bookshelf.
12. Straight Jacket by Marcus Skinner (Orange County)
Some books have the ability to touch someone so profoundly that it completely changes the course of their life forever and, for some, that book is Straight Jacket. Skinner’s novel is all about what it is like to be a teenager… the excitement, the confusion, the horniness. It has definitely had an intense and life-altering effect on many of those who have read it, but if it can have that kind of effect on someone, surely that deserves a space on the bookshelf.
Described as “a large sprawling tale of conspiracy, politics and ideology,” Farewell Atlantis is perhaps the most ideologically ambitious book on the shelf, even though it may often come off as rather hippie-minded nonsense. Author Curtis attempts to use as his novel as a way to explore the undying value of the human spirit, attempting to launch a revolution of ideas and higher consciousness in the realms of society, from politics to education to art and beyond, reaching back to ancient civilisations to the future and alternate plains of existence. Yes, it’s on the shelf to make us seem deep.
14. Yeast Lords by Ronald Chevalier Benjamin Purvis (Gentlemen Broncos)
Benjamin Purvis is the youngest writer to have his work on the shelf, being that Yeast Lords was published when he was still in his teens. A richly imaginative and sprawling sf fantasy, it follows the brave hero, Bronco, as he battles his way through a world where testicles are stolen and boobs are a not uncommon part of the geological landscape. Purvis is said to be a hugely prolific writer, with dozens of novels hiding away in his room, but this is the one to capture the imagination of the reading populace.
15. The Higher Education of J. Philip Stone by Paul Sheldon (Misery)
Paul Sheldon made his name with a series of novels that surrounded his heroine, the fiery Misery Chastain. However, choosing to focus on more serious work in future books, he controversially killed off his literary creation. Sheldon then disappeared briefly, with fans waiting to see where his new work would take him. When he came back, he had indeed shaken off his old creation, though had clearly acquired a dark trauma after an encounter with a fan. The book he produced out of that was The Higher Education of J. Philip Stone, and it would be very interesting to see how his experience changed his work.
16. The Complete Works of Joan Wilder (Romancing the Stone)
Schmaltzy romance novels may not be to everyone’s taste, but there will always be room on the shelf for the novels of Joan Wilder. With a fairly impressive list of books under her belt (The Savage Secret, Love's Wicked Kiss, The Ravagers, Passion's Lovely Lie, Treasures of Lust), she clearly has a knack for capturing the romance and adventure so craved by readers across the world. The endings will have your heart racing and you sobbing your eyes out.
17. The Number 23 by Topsy Kretts (The Number 23)
Murder, mystery, intrigue, saxophones. Such is the enigmatic story of the protagonist, private detective Fingerling, who gets embroiled in psyche-breaking case where he himself is the centre of a brutal murder of his lover, which spins him wildly out of control. Throw in the moody noir tone and this could be somewhere between Raymond Chandler and William Faulkner. Here's just hoping the story isn't just a bunch of nonsensical hooey masking half-baked theories and vague numerological references with no real logical basis... cause that would be super disappointing.
Believe me, there are plenty more non-existent books lurking in the movies that should be available to us real people. So, what other books from movies do you wish really existed? Let us know in the comments below.