From TV shows and series to block-buster movies, a lot of your favourite TV shows and films came to be because of a book.
Thing Gossip Girl, The Hunger Games, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, even The Notebook, all of these were books before they were adapted for the screen.
I thought I would make a list of books that I have read and those I still want to read that have been adapted into much-loved TV shows and movies.
1. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute take a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel-prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with – of all things – her mind. True chemistry results. But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later, Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Meet the unconventional, uncompromising Elizabeth Zott.
My rating: ★★★★★
Obsessed. That is the one word that comes to mind when reviewing this book. It’s unlike any romance or fiction book I’ve ever read and that’s why I think I loved it so much. I never saw myself reading a book about Chemistry and I’m sure you’re probably thinking you wouldn’t want to either, but believe me this is about so much more than chemistry. It’s funny, sassy, and full of feminism.
Lessons in Chemistry – Apple TV+ TV Series
Lessons in Chemistry is a 2023 American period drama television miniseries developed by Lee Eisenberg, based on the novel of the same name by Bonnie Garmus. It stars Brie Larson as chemist Elizabeth Zott who begins hosting her own feminist cooking show in 1960s America. Its first two episodes premiered on Apple TV+ on October 13, 2023.
2. The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary
Tiffy and Leon share a flat. Tiffy and Leon share a bed. Tiffy and Leon have never met… Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time. But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…
My rating: ★★★★
I had heard so many good things about this book and had it recommended quite a few times. I can definitely see why it was recommended so much and would recommend you to go and read it for yourself. It’s a hopeless romantic kind of book which I’m really not into, but I loved it. It made me laugh and almost cry. A lovely read.
The Flatshare – Paramount+ TV Series
The Flatshare is a British comedy drama series based on Beth O’Leary’s 2019 novel of the same name. It premiered on 1 December 2022. A unique situation where to save money, two strangers share a flat on a schedule where they never meet each other. They communicate via post it note while they navigate their unusual agreement, their relationships, and lives.
3. Normal People by Sally Rooney
Connell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in the west of Ireland, but the similarities end there. In school, Connell is popular and well-liked, while Marianne is a loner. But when the two strike up a conversation – awkward but electrifying – something life-changing begins. Normal People is a story of mutual fascination, friendship and love. It takes us from that first conversation to the years beyond, in the company of two people who try to stay apart but find they can’t.
My rating: ★★★★★
I read this book in the space of two days, maybe a little less. I had seen the TV show and heard the book was very similar, if not identical to the show. The lack of speech marks threw me off a little at the beginning, but as there is so much dialogue in the book, I think it worked a lot better not having the speech marks in the text. I would definitely recommend, even if you haven’t yet watched the TV show as there are so many quotations and lines that I will always remember forever.
Normal People – BBC Three TV Series
Normal People is an Irish romantic, psychological drama limited series produced by Element Pictures for BBC Three and Hulu in association with Screen Ireland. Based on the 2018 novel of the same name by Sally Rooney. The series follows the relationship between Marianne Sheridan (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Connell Waldron (Paul Mescal), as they navigate adulthood from their final days in secondary school to their undergraduate years in Trinity College.
4. Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
For a while, Daisy Jones & The Six were everywhere. Their albums were on every turntable, they sold out arenas from coast to coast, their sound defined an era. And then, on 12 July 1979, they split. Nobody ever knew why. Until now. They were lovers and friends and brothers and rivals. They couldn’t believe their luck, until it ran out. This is their story of the early days and the wild nights, but everyone remembers the truth differently. The only thing they all know for sure is that from the moment Daisy Jones walked barefoot, on to the stage at the Whisky, the band were irrevocably changed.
My rating: ★★★★★
Like The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Daisy Jones & The Six is apparently loosely based on celebrities (this time, Fleetwood Mac) and knowing this just makes you so much more invested in the story and wishing it really was a biography. I’ve seen this come to life in the Prime Video TV series and knew it would adapt very well given the style of writing. But even more recently, Stevie Nicks has given her seal of approval saying that the show reminded her a lot of the early years of Fleetwood Mac.
Daisy Jones & The Six – Amazon Prime Video TV Series
Daisy Jones & the Six is an American musical drama television miniseries developed by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, based on the 2019 novel of the same name by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Set in the Los Angeles music scene of the 1970s, the series charts the rise and fall of the fictional titular rock band through a documentary style series of interviews with the members and footage of concerts and recording sessions, complete with vocals by series leads Riley Keough and Sam Claflin.
5. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
At first sight, Ove is almost certainly the grumpiest man you will ever meet. He thinks himself surrounded by idiots – neighbours who can’t reverse a trailer properly, joggers, shop assistants who talk in code, and the perpetrators of the vicious coup d’etat that ousted him as Chairman of the Residents’ Association. He will persist in making his daily inspection rounds of the local streets. But isn’t it rare, these days, to find such old-fashioned clarity of belief and deed? Such unswerving conviction about what the world should be, and a lifelong dedication to making it just so? In the end, you will see, there is something about Ove that is quite irresistible…
My rating: ★★★★
It took me a little while to fully get into this book, but by the end it had me (almost) weeping. The story follows a grumpy old man very set in his ways and rules, who wants to end his life and be with his recently deceased wife. However, it seems that there is always someone getting in the way before he can actually do it. Nosy neighbours, small children and a cat somehow worm their way into Ove’s grumpy life and over time change him into a more caring man. A very wholesome read that makes you see that there’s a better way to live life than to always seeing the negative in everything.
A Man Called Otto – Film
A Man Called Otto is a 2022 American comedy drama film directed by Marc Forster from a screenplay by David Magee. It is a remake of the 2015 Swedish film A Man Called Ove, which was based on the 2012 novel of the same name by Fredrik Backman. The film stars Tom Hanks in the title role, with Mariana Treviño, Rachel Keller, and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo in supporting roles. The plot follows a bitter old man who reluctantly gets involved in the lives of his neighbours.
6. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
Bridget Jones’ Diary is the devastatingly self-aware, laugh-out-loud daily chronicle of Bridget’s permanent, doomed quest for self-improvement — a year in which she resolves to: reduce the circumference of each thigh by 1.5 inches, visit the gym three times a week not just to buy a sandwich, form a functional relationship with a responsible adult, and learn to program the VCR. Over the course of the year, Bridget loses a total of 72 pounds but gains a total of 74. She remains, however, optimistic. Through it all, Bridget will have you helpless with laughter, and — like millions of readers the world round — you’ll find yourself shouting, “Bridget Jones is me!”
My rating: ★★★★★
I’ve seen the movie, but wanted to also read the book for some light-hearted reading and it was exactly as I expected. I was laughing out loud, smiling and giggling to myself throughout the book. If you’re after something fun and light, this would be the book for you. Although, I would say there is a problematic element to the book where Bridget focuses a lot on her weight, calorie counting and thinking 9st was obese which is pretty mental. Other than that, a great book and I would love to read the next few in the series.
Bridget Jones’s Diary – Film
Bridget Jones’s Diary is a 2001 romantic comedy film directed by Sharon Maguire and written by Richard Curtis, Andrew Davies, and Helen Fielding. Based on Fielding’s 1996 novel of the same name, which is a reinterpretation of Jane Austen’s 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice. The adaptation stars Renée Zellweger as Bridget Jones, a 32-year-old British single woman, who writes a diary which focuses on the things she wishes to happen in her life. However, her life changes when two men vie for her affection, portrayed by Colin Firth and Hugh Grant.
7. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…
My rating: ★★★
I have been wanting to read this for so long. Obviously we all know it as a huge television series, but I haven’t yet watched it and wanted to read the book first. However, after reading the book I don’t really have any eagerness to go and watch the show. It was an incredibly slow burner and not much really happened. Although, I can see how they would make this into a great concept for a TV show.
The Handmaid’s Tale – Hulu TV Series
The Handmaid’s Tale is an American dystopian television series created by Bruce Miller, based on the 1985 novel of the same name by Canadian author Margaret Atwood. The plot features a dystopia following a Second American Civil War wherein a theonomic, totalitarian society subjects fertile women, called “Handmaids”, to child-bearing slavery.
8. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
A murder…A tragic accident…Or just parents behaving badly? What’s indisputable is that someone is dead. Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny, biting, and passionate; she remembers everything and forgives no one. Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare but she is paying a price for the illusion of perfection. New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for a nanny. She comes with a mysterious past and a sadness beyond her years. These three women are at different crossroads, but they will all wind up in the same shocking place.
My rating: ★★★★★
I watched the TV series in the space of two days and was obsessed. I was so eager to read the book to see how it would compare. I loved this book. I got through all 500 pages in the space of one weekend because it was so easy to read. There were a few changes from the TV series, like the setting and the ending, but other than that, I couldn’t put it down.
Big Little Lies – HBO TV Series
Big Little Lies is an American drama television series based on the 2014 novel of the same name by Liane Moriarty. Created and written by David E. Kelley, it aired on HBO from February 19, 2017, to July 21, 2019, encompassing 14 episodes and two seasons. Starring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, and Zoë Kravitz as five women in Monterey, California, who become embroiled in a murder investigation.
9. Little Fires Everywhere
In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules. Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother- who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons.
My rating: ★★★
This is the book of the recent TV series starring Reese Witherspoon on Hulu and I was greatly anticipating reading this as I had heard great things about the TV series and wanted to read the book before watching the show. I didn’t enjoy the book as I found it very hard to follow, but I loved the TV series so would recommend that over reading the book.
Little Fires Everywhere – Hulu TV Series
Little Fires Everywhere is an American drama television miniseries, based on the 2017 novel of the same name by Celeste Ng. It premiered on Hulu on March 18, 2020 and consists of eight episodes. The series stars Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington, both of whom were also executive producers. Set in the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights, Ohio, during the late 1990s, it features Witherspoon and Washington as mothers from different socioeconomic backgrounds.
10. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Nemesis (n.) 1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome. 2) A person’s undoing. 3) Joshua Templeman. Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She’s charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley & Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual.
My rating: ★★★
It was time to pick up some light hearted reading from my shelf and read The Hating Game. It’s been on my shelf longer than I care to admit, but I have seen that it has recently been made into a movie starring Lucy Hale, so was expecting great things. However, great things I did not experience. It was so very predictable, very raunchy and I would go as far to say that 50 Shades of Grey had more of a storyline than this book. Not one to read on the train beside strangers which I had to learn the hard way.
The Hating Game – Film
The Hating Game is a 2021 American romantic comedy film directed by Peter Hutchings. It is based on the novel of the same name by Sally Thorne, and stars Lucy Hale and Austin Stowell in the lead roles. Lucy, an executive assistant, locks horns with her colleague, Joshua, over a promotion opportunity. Their enmity, however, begins to wilt away when they find themselves attracted to each other.
11. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
It’s 3 a.m. and Elizabeth Gilbert is sobbing on the bathroom floor. She’s in her thirties, she has a husband, a house, they’re trying for a baby – and she doesn’t want any of it. A bitter divorce and a turbulent love affair later, she emerges battered and bewildered and realises it is time to pursue her own journey in search of three things she has been missing: pleasure, devotion and balance. So she travels to Rome, where she learns Italian from handsome, brown-eyed identical twins and gains twenty-five pounds, an ashram in India, where she finds that enlightenment entails getting up in the middle of the night to scrub the temple floor, and Bali where a toothless medicine man of indeterminate age offers her a new path to peace: simply sit still and smile.
My rating: ★★★
I wanted to read this before I went to Bali since part of the book is set there. I managed to finish it on the plane before landing at the airport and while I did enjoy it, it wouldn’t be a book that I would rush to recommend. I loved the descriptiveness of the book when it was set in Rome as I could picture the areas that the author was talking about, having been there myself. But when the book was set in India and Bali, I hate to say that it started to lose me a little as the author’s time was mostly spent at an ashram or in one place. I did learn a few things about Bali before getting there that actually stood to me, so it was educational in a way, and the book also made me realise how much I love books that are set in other countries as it almost makes me feel like I’m exploring a new place via the pages.
Eat Pray Love – Film
Eat Pray Love is a 2010 American biographical romantic drama film starring Julia Roberts as Elizabeth Gilbert, based on Gilbert’s 2006 memoir of the same name. Elizabeth Gilbert’s perfect world comes shattering down when she gets divorced. She then embarks on a journey across the world in an attempt to rediscover her true self.
12. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
In a burned-out America, a father and his young son walk under a darkened sky, heading slowly for the coast. They have no idea what, if anything, awaits them there. The landscape is destroyed, nothing moves save the ash on the wind and cruel, lawless men stalk the roadside, lying in wait. Attempting to survive in this brave new world, the young boy and his protector have nothing but a pistol to defend themselves. They must keep walking.
My rating: ★★★★
Reading the front and back of this book, I had very high expectations. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, adapted into a movie, winner of ‘Best Book’ for so many different publications and highly rated. Yes, it was beautifully written and you did fall in love with the two characters, especially the son, but it was a tad monotonous following this one road with no real goal/end in sight. It seemed to me to be more of a parable-story, one that you would delve into and deeply analyse in an English class, showing the contrast of the father and son and their attitudes towards other people they meet on the road and life itself.
The Road – Film
The Road is a 2009 American post-apocalyptic survival film directed by John Hillcoat and written by Joe Penhall, based on the 2006 novel of the same name by Cormac McCarthy. The film stars Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee as a father and his son in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
13. The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weinberger
When Andrea first sets foot in the plush Manhattan offices of Runway she knows nothing. She’s never heard of the world’s most fashionable magazine, or its feared and fawned-over editor, Miranda Priestly – her new boss. A year later, she knows altogether too much: That it’s a sacking offence to wear anything lower than a three-inch heel to work. That you can charge cars, manicures, anything at all to the Runway account, but you must never, ever, leave your desk, or let Miranda’s coffee get cold. And that at 3 a.m. on a Sunday, when your boyfriend’s dumping you because you’re always at work, if Miranda phones, you jump. But this is Andrea’s big break – it’s going to be worth it in the end. Isn’t it?
My rating: ★★★★
A title that won’t be unfamiliar to anyone, this is one that I definitely wanted to read in New York since the entire book was set in New York, mentioning different locations, streets, buildings and restaurants that I could wander around while reading the book. I was quite surprised that the book was quite different from the movie with the order of events, some characters and names had all been changed but the main characters of Andrea and Miranda were identical to the movie which I did like.
The Devil Wears Prada – Film
The Devil Wears Prada is a 2006 American comedy-drama film directed by David Frankel and produced by Wendy Finerman. The screenplay, written by Aline Brosh McKenna, is based on Lauren Weisberger’s 2003 novel of the same name. The film adaptation stars Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly, a powerful fashion magazine editor, and Anne Hathaway as Andrea “Andy” Sachs, a college graduate who goes to New York City and lands a job as Priestly’s co-assistant.
14. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is. Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.
My rating: ★★★★★
I’m not usually one for a soppy book, and I knew what to expect having already seen the movie, but I loved this book. So much so that I ordered the remaining two books in the series. It’s identical to the movie, like you’d expect, but it was funny, quirky, sad and heartwarming. A brilliant book.
Me Before You – Film
Me Before You is a 2016 romantic drama film directed by Thea Sharrock in her directorial debut and adapted by author Jojo Moyes from her 2012 novel of the same name. The film stars Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin, Janet McTeer, Charles Dance, and Brendan Coyle. Louisa Clark accepts the job of being a caretaker of Will Traynor, a rigid man who has paralysis. However, her life transforms as the two, gradually, form a bond and later fall in love.