Shmoop Presents the Top 10 Books Least Likely to Become Summer Blockbusters

As summer blockbusters roll out, Shmoop compiles a list of books that won’t be hitting the silver screen any time soon.

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The Fault In Our Stars and The Giver know how it’s done, but not every book can be so seamlessly adapted into a summer blockbuster. Shmoop, a digital publishing company aimed to make learning fun and accessible, has put together a list of the Top 10 Books Least Likely to Become Summer Blockbusters.

1. Ethan Frome. Everyone loves an action flick, and Ethan Frome just doesn’t fit the bill. A classic story? Yes. A thrilling, what-will-happen-next suspense thriller? Not so much. Add to that the bleakest of bleak New England winters, and it’s probably best to save this one for a cozy fireside read instead of a night at the cineplex.

2. Atlas Shrugged. Nothing personal, Ayn—it’s just that no one will sit through a 12-hour movie. Unless there are hobbits involved.

3. Plato’s Republic. It may be the foundation of all philosophy ever, but…it’s the foundation of all philosophy ever. Shmoop will be reading this VIP text forever, but it’s definitely not silver screen material.

4. As I Lay Dying. James Franco tried it, and it turned into a straight-to-DVD kind of situation. Sure, Faulkner and his modernist friends did plenty of interesting things with narration, but fifteen narrators are probably too much for Hollywood fans to swallow.

5. Augustine’s Confessions. Shmoop loves reading other people’s diaries as much as the next guy—just not at the movies.

6. “Hills Like White Elephants.” The Breakfast Club pulled off the whole sitting-around-talking shtick, and if anyone has John Hughes’s visionary chops, it’s Ernest Hemingway. But Hemingway’s simple style, which works wonders in writing, isn’t made for the big screen.

7. Cyrano de Bergerac. Two words: beauty sells.

8. The Prince. When The Silmarillion becomes a hit, that’s when The Prince has a chance. Unless folks suddenly want to see a manual hit theaters, Machiavelli’s going to have to wait his turn.

9. Utopia. Now that the world has seen dystopias filled with mystical creatures and crazy plot twists, it’s not likely that crowds will flock to a blow-by-blow description of the ideology behind it all.

10. “The Red Wheelbarrow.” This is more of a challenge…because who doesn’t want to see a 16-word poem turned into a summer blockbuster?

This list isn’t foolproof, of course. Shmoop never would have guessed that Heart of Darkness would make it big as Apocalypse Now, but it turns out the bigwigs can change everything about a book except the names and still call it an adaptation. With that in mind, Shmoop’s money is on The Old Man and the Sea.

About Shmoop

Shmoop is a digital curriculum and test prep company that makes fun, rigorous learning and teaching resources. Shmoop content is written by experts and teachers, who collaborate to create high-quality and engaging materials for teachers and students. Shmoop Courses, Test Prep, Teaching Guides, and Learning Guides balance a teen-friendly, approachable style with academically rigorous concepts. Shmoop sees 10 million unique visitors a month on its site and offers more than 7,000 titles across the Web, iPhone, Android devices, iPad, Kindle, Nook, and Sony Reader. The company has been honored twice by the Webby Awards, named “Best in Tech” twice by Scholastic Administrator, and awarded with two Annual Education Software Review Awards (EDDIES). Launched in 2008, Shmoop is headquartered in a labradoodle-patrolled office in Mountain View, California.

New on Shmoop: a “Woolf,” an Albatross, & Pigs

Pig Out on Our Enhanced Coverage of Animal Farm and the Russian Revolution
  • Based on your requests, we've upgraded our coverage of this classic allegory
  • Find our totally revamped Symbolism and Allegory page – mapping key events from the novel to historical events
  • Check out our deeper character analyses – outlining which characters represented which historical figures
What Gives with the Saying “Albatross Around the Neck?” Check out Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Classic Poem
"The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" may be one of the most influential and eerie poems in the English language, but it's a doozy of a confusing read. An old sailor stops a wedding guest and says, essentially, "I know you want to get your drink and your dance on, but now I'm going to tell you a really long story about how I got my entire crew killed and almost died myself because I acted like a jerk while sailing the far reaches of the globe."

New this Week on Shmoop

Movie-lovers take note. We’ve just added 3 titles in literature that spawned recent major motion pictures (All the King’s Men, Beowulf, and Benjamin Button). Wanna know how the film version stacks up to the novel? Shmoop will give you the low-down. So, grab a bucket of popcorn and check out our new arrivals.

New in Shmoop Literature:

New in Shmoop Poetry:

John Updike, 1932-2009

Today, John Updike, one of the great figures in modern American literature, passed away of lung cancer at the age of 76. Updike is survived by his wife and four children, and by the hundreds of unforgettable characters he created during his prolific literary career.

“Each morning,” Updike once wrote, “my characters greet me with misty faces willing, though chilled, to muster for another day’s progress through the dazzling quicksand the marsh of blank paper.”

Read Updike’s Rabbit, Run on Shmoop.

Celebrate Poe and MLK with Shmoop

At Shmoop HQ, we get a little giddy over literature and history. Imagine our excitement when it hit us that this year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (commemorating MLK’s 80th birthday) is also Edgar Allan Poe’s 200th birthday. Synchronicity. To mark this doubly-historic date, we lovingly put together these resources about two of our favorites – the spooky story-teller and the inspiring civil rights leader.

Edgar Allan Poe’s 200th Birthday

  • “Best in Poe” Awards – we handpicked the best Poe resources from across the Internet
  • Poe’s influences, and who he influenced
  • Photos and Poe biography
  • Shmoop’s ocean deep analysis of 5 of Poe’s stories and poems

Martin Luther King Jr.’s 80th Birthday

  • Best of the Web for MLK – we handpicked the best MLK resources from across the Internet
  • Video of the “I Have a Dream” speech
  • MLK biography
  • Shmoop’s fresh coverage of the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S.

Shmoop rocks into 2009 with Dylan, Ginsberg, and a nod from PC Magazine

Here at Shmoop HQ, our 2009 is off to a rocking start. Strap on your air guitar and read on for the scoop from Shmoop.

Shmoop named “Best of the Internet” in PC Magazine’s January, 2009 issue
We love the love. Thank you! We are humbled and thrilled by the good vibes surrounding Shmoop. Please keep all thoughts – good and bad – coming! For full-frontal coverage of Shmoop in the blogosphere and media, please stop by our Press Room.

Who says poets are softies? Shmoop introduces the “Bad Boys of Poetry”
Shmoop challenges you to see poetry in a new light – in a Rock classic, even. Our new analysis of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” just might change the way you think of Dylan – and poetry, for that matter. Also new in Poetry – and not for the faint of heart – Beat poet Allen Ginsberg’s controversial adrenaline-rush, “Howl” (recommended only for mature audiences).

Bone-up on your NFL knowledge – there’s more to the Superbowl than awesome ads
Before you garbage-up on guacamole dip, load your brain with football facts and trivia in Shmoop’s History of the NFL.

New arrivals on Shmoop Literature

New arrivals on Shmoop Poetry

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Tackle Fall Finals: 200+ Topics Now on Shmoop

Hi from Shmoop HQ,

Snow (in Houston), mean old Mr. Grinch (on television), and ugly sweater parties (everywhere). Oh, yes, it’s December. And that means finals are here, too.

Sharpen your brain for final exams and papers.

Shmoop now covers more than 200 topics:

Shmoop packed on the pounds just in time for finals. Let’s call it our “Freshman 18.”

New in Shmoop Literature:

New in Shmoop Poetry:

Are we missing something on your reading list? Let us know.
Make some noise in our new feedback forums. Make suggestions. Vote up your faves.