One of my concerns when I started doing this column was that each forthcoming adaptation I covered would equate to a new movie losing the ability to surprise me. What more effective way to strip oneself of the thrill of cinematic discovery, I thought, than to pore over the source material before watching? Ultimately I decided that the prospect of literary discovery along with the chance to write the column more than compensated for that risk, but here's some evidence that maybe I shouldn't have worried at all: having read Cormac McCarthy's The Road, I'm more excited to see John Hillcoat's adaptation – coming this November -- than I ever would have been otherwise.