The Books You Need to Read Before The Oscars

Brooklyn, by Colm Toibin

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Eilis, an Irish immigrant, moves to Brooklyn with help from an Irish priest, leaving her mother and sister behind. Although America is at first overwhelming, she finds an unexpected love connection. But then she receives news that could send her back to Ireland for good. The film is nominated for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay, and Saoirse Ronan is nominated for Best Actress.

To buy: $10, amazon.com

Room, by Emma Donoghue

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This emotional and sometimes disturbing novel follows the story and perspective of Jack, the five-year-old son of a woman who was kidnapped and imprisoned in a shed for seven years. His mother creates an entire world for her son in this shed, but when it comes time to escape, he realizes how big the world really is. The film stars Brie Larson, and the script was actually penned by Donoghue; both women were nominated for Golden Globes (Larson won). The film has been nominated for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay, and Larson has been nominated for Best Actress.

To buy: $10, amazon.com

The Big Short, by Michael Lewis

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If you think the bond business and the real estate market are two of the more boring topics one could discuss, your mind might be changed after reading Lewis’s bestselling book about the housing bubble of the 2000s that ultimately led to the major financial crisis of 2008. Even without a financial background, readers (and movie viewers) won’t be held back by the lingo—instead, you may find yourself wanting to learn even more. The film received five nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Christian Bale), Best Adapted Screenplay, and Film Editing.

To buy: $10, amazon.com

The Revenant, by Michael Punke

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There are rumors that this may be the film that finally earns Leonardo DiCaprio a coveted Oscar—he’s been nominated three times previously without a win. The story takes place in 1823, and centers on Hugh Glass, a top trapper in the Rocky Mountain Fur Company. After a nearly fatal encounter with a grizzly bear, his chance for survival looks dim, and company men leave him to die. Glass sets out on a journey that lasts thousands of miles, vowing to get revenge on the friends who left him behind. The Revenant leads the Oscars with 12 nominations in all of the major categories, including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Sound Editing, Visual Effects, Film Editing, Production Design, Cinematography, Costume Design, Makeup, and Sound Mixing.

To buy: $10, amazon.com

Carol, by Patricia Highsmith

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This 1952 novel was originally titled The Price of Salt, and its central relationship was extremely controversial when first published. It follows the love story between Therese, a young woman new to Manhattan, and Carol, a married woman whom Therese meets while working at a department store during Christmas. Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara have both been nominated for Oscars as leading and supporting actresses, respectively. The film also received nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, Cinematography, and Costume Design.

To buy: $10, amazon.com.

The Martian, by Andy Weir

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This science fiction novel follows Mark Watney, one of the first people to walk on Mars, who finds himself suddenly abandoned on the planet after an intergalactic dust storm. As he attempts to survive in one of the most foreign places in the universe, the reader is left to wonder if he’ll ever make it back to Earth. The Martian has been nominated for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Sound Editing, Visual Effects, Production Design, and Sound Mixing. Matt Damon has also been nominated for Best Actor.

To buy: $9, amazon.com

Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson

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This comprehensive book on the Silicon Valley icon contains more than 40 interviews with Jobs himself, as well as interviews with friends, coworkers, and even adversaries. If you’ve ever wanted the full picture of the entrepreneur who changed the way we connect, dive into this biography. Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet have both received Oscar nominations for their leading roles in the film adaptation.

To buy: $21, amazon.com.

So get to it: get on Amazon or go to your local library and grab one of these page-turners asap before the Oscars!

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