We were in Borders on Saturday to buy something else (I *love* 40% off coupons!), and I happened to notice that Timothy Zahn has a book out tied to "Terminator Salvation" called "From the Ashes" (I'm including the Amazon link because the Borders link to the book sucks big time). It's billed as an "official prequel" and presumably gives you the story leading up to the events in the movie. The tag line to the book reads: "This is the story you must read before the brand-new movie hits theatres!"
I decided to buy the book on Saturday, but I've decided that I'm not going to read it until after I've seen the movie. I expect the book will set things up so that it makes the movie that much easier to understand, but I also think that lets the movie off the hook for any problems inherent to the movie itself. I love books that are related to or expand on movies, but I also think the movie should stand on its own, and you should not have to rely on a book to have the movie make sense.
So I'll be eager to read the book after I've seen the movie. I'm also planning on getting the official novelization of the movie, partly because I like Alan Dean Foster, who wrote it.
Part of why the prequel book caught my attention is that I love Timothy Zahn. I was introduced to him through the "Heir to the Empire" series of "Star Wars" books, which I absolutely love - Grand Admiral Thrawn and Mara Jade are definitely new characters worthy of being included in the "Star Wars" universe. After I read the first book, I liked his writing style so much that I sought out his catalog of previous books, mostly thanks to used book stores, and I liked him even more after reading those books. In particular, I love the Cobra series and the book of related short stories called "Distant Friends".
So, I'll have two more books to read after I see the movie. We have our midnight screening tickets for opening night. I can't wait!