Four titles for literature lovers to get excited about

Iconic drama, enchanting stories and literary lives.

By Simon Lewis.

Out now: the one that celebrates the magic of reading 

Paddington 2 has a U certificate but deserves a special ‘E’ for everyone. It doesn’t matter who you take along – could be a first date, could be grandad, could be your four year-old niece – it’s impossible not to fall under its charm. The tone is similar to Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel: whimsical but whip-smart, “cute but not twee”, as Empire put it, with a surprising level of nuance and grown-up emotion.

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Paddington reading

Coming soon: the one that sharpens your wit

There’s nothing like Oscar Wilde for practising your put downs and polishing your bons mots, and his 1893 play A Woman of No Importance is full of them. It’s the story of a puritanical American sparring over scones with posh Brits hiding secrets, and you can catch it on the big screen on 28 November. This one’s the first in a season of Oscar Wilde plays broadcast live from the Vaudeville Theatre in London’s West End – next comes Lady Windermere’s Fan on 20 March, starring Jennifer Saunders.

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A Woman of No Importance

Coming soon: the one that shows why books are important

Reading the right book at the right time can change a teen’s life. YA hits make smash movies like The Hunger Games and The Fault in Our Stars, but they’re usually built around a beautiful-but-troubled heroine. This one’s different. Wonder, out 8 December, stars 11 year-old Jacob Tremblay as a shy kid with a facial disfigurement, learning tough lessons about human nature as he tries to make friends in a new school. With dad Owen Wilson lightening the tone and mum Julia Roberts turning in her most emotional performance since Erin Brockovich, this promises to be a real lip-quiverer.

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Jacob Tremblay and Julia Roberts in Wonder

Book ahead: the one that brings a bloody classic up to date

On 11 April 2018, Macbeth will be broadcast live to Vue from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon. It’s a modern staging of Shakespeare’s darkest tragedy that’s generating huge buzz, partly thanks to award-winning director Polly Findlay who frames the story as a psychological thriller, but mostly thanks to Christopher Eccleston, who brings chilling undercurrents to absolutely everything he does.

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Niamh Cusack and Christopher Eccleston in Macbeth