It's a common experience to read a book slated for a film adaptation and then approach the movie, if at all, with a trepidation bordering on fear. As an optimist who doesn't get too offended when his favorite stories get changed for a different medium, I generally try to minimize that reaction. Yet that is exactly how I feel about Stephen Daldry's imminent adaptation of Bernhard Schlink's The Reader. A large part of me is convinced that Schlink's lovely, challenging little novel – almost more of an essay than a novel, really – can't possibly survive Daldry's questionable prestige picture instincts. The book demands a small film, melancholy, withdrawn. Can we get that from one of the year's big Oscar hopefuls?