This month, Kinokuniya bookstore asked Story Has It to curate a collection of some of our favourite ‘books with a backstory’. Let us loose in a bookstore? Yes, please!
Look for our recommendations on display in-store at Dubai Mall throughout October.
As avid readers who met working in the book world, we would often finish a story and find we weren’t ready to leave it behind. Where did the idea begin? What inspired the writer? What made them tell that story of all stories?
We decided to look beyond the page.
This month we’ve curated a list of over 70 diverse books and their backstories for you at Kinokuniya. Here’s a selection of a few to give you a sneak-peek.
Heartburn, by Nora Ephron
The book that found the laughs in a painful divorce.
Nora Ephron (writer/director of films including When Harry Met Sally) was famed for her witty observations on life and gift for turning it into prose. Billed as a novel, this book is actually a semi-autobiographical account of the break-up of her marriage. She said, “While the whole horrible thing was going on, I knew that someday this would make a funny book.”
Ephron also wrote the 1986 film adaptation starring Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson.
The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
The book that’s unexpectedly inspired by a writing heavyweight.
During his college years, Khaled Hosseini worked as a security guard and spent the quiet hours of the graveyard shift reading. On one of those nights, a story floored him – ‘The Body’ by Stephen King; a novella about kids who go searching for a corpse in the woods. You may know it better by the title of the 80s film adaptation, ‘Stand By Me’.
Two very different stories; both rooted in life-changing childhood experiences.
The Last Leonardo, by Ben Lewis
The book about an art discovery that reads like a mystery novel.
In 2017 a painting named the ‘Salvator Mundi’ sold at Christie’s for $450 million, following years of scrutiny about whether or not it really was a lost work of Leonardo Da Vinci. Ben Lewis recounts one of the most compelling backstories we’ve come across – taking us from Leonardo’s studio in Renaissance Italy through to the lost painting’s re-emergence.
Who owns it now? It’s closer to home than you may think!
Women Talking, by Miriam Toews
The book that was an imagined response to horrifying true events.
Miriam Toews grew up in a conservative Mennonite community in Canada. So, when she heard that eight men from a Bolivian Mennonite colony had been charged with drugging the community’s women and committing mass sexual assault, the horror hit home. She kept wondering, “Then what?” What do the women do? This story is her response.
Toews was consulted for the 2022 film adaptation, which won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.