I suspect I'm not alone in wanting to learn the origin of movie scripts, especially for films that move me. And though paying attention as film credits roll has paid off several times - either via the discovery of a new author or some intriguing source material to further explore - it's possible that learning novelist Ian McEwan's name in 2007 through the movie Atonement has been the best gift of this kind I've received in the last twenty years. Which notable author has been a gift the movies have given to you?
Within weeks after seeing Atonement, I raced through my first McEwan book - Saturday (2005) - which at the time was his most recent novel available in paperback. Then, in a classic case of schemata vs. scotoma, McEwan's name seemed to pop up everywhere I turned. At least one of his concise jewels is cited in Defining Moments in Books (2007), The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books (also 2007), 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2010), and The Literature Book (2016), four books that occupy a special place in the resource section of my home library. In addition, while immersed in my Christopher Hitchens phase, circa 2010-2014, I learned Hitchens and McEwan were good friends. Good enough for Chris, good enough for me.
Fast forward to late 2022 and my wife's current project to read those books that have won either the Pulitzer or the Booker prize for literature. Soon after finishing McEwan's Booker-winning Amsterdam (1998), she implored me to read it so we could have a discussion. I did, then we did. Then, just a few days later - not unlike my Atonement/Saturday confluence - another reading soulmate suggested we read and then discuss On Chesil Beach, the 2007 McEwan novel that was available only in hardcover when I began my thread. With three clear winners in a row now under my belt, I'm confident more treasure will be unearthed as I continue following this thread. Next up: Nutshell, which has been on my radar since I first spotted it on the 2016 NY Times annual list of notable books. All this past and future reading pleasure because I paid attention to those film credits. Who says being a movie geek is a waste of time?