There have been so many times I’ve started a TV show or film and it’s only then that I realise that it’s based on a book, or that it seems familiar, and I realise I’ve read the book. There are so many amazing books that have been adapted for the screen, so we thought we’d share a few of our favourites…

Little Fires Everywhere

One of our Book Club choices for this month, Celeste Ng’s brilliant novel, Little Fires Everywhere is the story of Elena Richardson and her picture-perfect family, and Mia Warren and her daughter Pearl. Set in Shaker Heights, Ohio in the 1990s, the two families world’s collide and their lives become intertwined.

The mini series, on which Ng was a producer, stars Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington. There are a lot of changes in the adaptation, but all done with the approval of Ng. When we discussed the book, it seemed that the series was really popular, and we’d highly recommend it!

Big Little Lies

Liane Moriarty’s psychological, domestic fiction centres around three women, and the little lies that can turn deadly. Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman acquired the screen rights to Big Little Lies, and it was adapted into a TV mini-series in 2017.

I absolutely loved the mini-series. No spoilers here, there are some very obvious changes from the book, but I think it’s a great series, whether you watch it as an adaptation or as a standalone show. Series 2 was released last year, and included Meryl Streep in the cast as Perry’s mother. The second series is a continuation of the story, but it’s not based on a book. 

Game of Thrones

I couldn’t do a post on TV adaptations without mentioning Game of Thrones, which is often talked about as being one of the best TV shows of all time. Based on George R. R. Martin’s series of novels, the first of which is titled A Game of Thrones, it’s an epic fantasy story, set on the continents of Westeros and Essos. The show has now finished after eight series, although George R. R. Martin has only published five out of his planned seven novels. 

The Handmaid’s Tale

Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian novel set in a totalitarian state known as Gilead, where fertile women, called Handmaids, atet subjected to child-bearing slavery. I read this at university, and remember finding the plot itself really unnerving.

It has been adapted several times (there’s even an opera of it!), but most recently it was adapted for TV by Bruce Miller. Margaret Atwood was a consulting producer on the show. The story has been modernised, and there are several notable changes made. There are currently three series of the show, and a sequel series based on Margaret Atwood’s 2019 novel, The Testaments, is planned. 

His Dark Materials

His Dark Materials is a trilogy of fantasy stories – Northern LightsThe Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. Filled with magic and mystery, it’s set in both our world and parallel universes and follows Lyra Belacqua and Will Parry. 

There has been a stage adaptation of the trilogy, a film adaptation of Northern Lights, called The Golden Compass, and last year, there was a TV adaptation based on the novels. The adaptation started Dafne Keen, Ruth Wilson, James McAvoy, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Andrew Scott. I think Ruth Wilson is brilliant in it, and the show has been renewed for a second series. 

There are so many books that have been adapted into TV shows, and it’s always interesting to watch them, whether enjoying them as standalone shows or comparing them with the original books. What are some of your favourite adaptations?