Posted By Rebecca Anthony Posted On

5 Books to Read Before You Tune Into the Screen Adaptations

Some of the best films and TV shows are adaptations from books. The Harry Potter series, Normal People, and The Devil Wears Prada to name just a few. And while they might not all stick exactly to the source material, we love seeing these worlds come to life on screen.

There’s no shortage of book-to-screen adaptations in 2022, with many already launched and plenty more to come. Here, we discuss some of the best book adaptations that are set to hit the screens this year.

Anatomy of a Scandal

Since the #MeToo movement, many brave women have come forward with stories of harassment and abuse. You’d be forgiven, then, if you thought Anatomy of a Scandal was based on a true tale. Sienna Miller, one of the leading stars of the show, has even said it has reflected some of her own experiences.

Both the book and the show are especially powerful because the stories are told by women. Author Sarah Vaughan based some of it on her personal experiences as a reporter and uses this to bring the story to life. Sienna Miller also commented on the importance of having a female director, saying “it just felt right that it was a woman [director] because the show really is about women.”

While many elements of the story are sombre subjects, the book was described as thrilling, pacy, and unputdownable. It’s easy to see why it was picked up for a TV adaptation.

Conversations With Friends

The hugely anticipated TV adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Conversations With Friends has finally launched, but to mixed reviews. The book is beloved and is even considered her best work ahead of Normal People – the TV adaptation of which received rave reviews.

Rooney’s text in Conversations With Friends has been described as “gliding-along-like-a-swan writing” but many have commented that it hasn’t translated to the small screen. However, if you’ve been intrigued by the hype around the book and show, don’t let this put you off. If you’ve never read the book, we’d recommend it before dipping your toe into the show. It has a lot of merits, including solid performances from the cast, beautiful scenery and mesmerising shots, and a fitting soundtrack. But if it’s not to your taste, you’ll be pleased that you read the book first.

Mr. Malcolm’s List

Bridgerton’s outstanding success has given us a renewed appetite for period dramas, and it looks set to be satisfied this summer with the film adaptation of Mr. Malcolm’s List. Gone are the days of period drama casts and storylines exclusively telling the stories of white members of the elite. In their place are characters from diverse backgrounds, whose stories are now in the mainstream.

This might be what draws millennials and Gen Z to period dramas, which were once confined to their grandparents’ TVs. While the characters in the book were written as white, lead actors Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù and Freida Pinto worked with the directors to incorporate their heritage into their characters and their storylines.

The result is a modernised version of a classic Regency-era book that’s set to fill the hole left behind by Bridgerton’s season two finale.

Heartstopper

A little different to our other items on the list but no less important, Netflix’s hit show Heartstopper was adapted from a graphic novel. The coming-of-age story has been praised for bringing a heart-warming LGBTQIA+ story to life on screen, embodying acceptance while remaining grounded in the reality of queer teens’ lives.

The show brings in elements of the graphic novel, overlaying the tastefully shot footage with animations. It stays true to the original tale, but the benefits of adapting a graphic novel mean it can explore each character’s story in more detail than the original work. It also means that no key moments have had to be cut out – something that many TV and film adaptations are criticised for.

With Heartstopper, you’ll laugh and cry, but ultimately have your heart warmed.

Matilda

Who didn’t love the 1996 Matilda movie? It brought Roald Dahl’s magical story to life. Although there were some key changes, like making the characters American and casting the legendary Danny DeVito (who also directed the movie) and Rhea Pearlman despite physical differences from the book descriptions, it still remains iconic to this day.

We can expect some more differences in the 2022 adaptation, which uses the play as its source – for example, Mr Wormwood and his dodgy car dealings are being monitored by the Russian mafia instead of the police. But some aspects are more true to the book. The cast, and therefore the characters, are predominantly British, and we get to see more of Miss Phelps, the kind librarian who is Matilda’s first confidante in the book.

While this film will also deviate from the source material slightly, we can’t wait to see a British Matilda on the big screen. Many say the play is more accurate to the book than the 1996 movie, so you can absolutely revisit your favourite childhood book once again before it comes out. What’s more, brands including Cath Kidston have launched Matilda-themed collections, so you can indulge in your nostalgia with fashion items decorated with Quentin Blake’s classic illustrations.

2022 is set to be filled with book-to-screen adaptations. Many of our favourite characters are being brought to life on our TVs and in cinemas, while we also have some new literature to explore. Indulging in the books before you tune into the TV shows or watch the movies means you’ll love seeing those characters you hold dear come to life on the screen – and in some cases, the books have more detail, so you don’t want to miss out on that! Curl up on the sofa in your favourite pyjama set, a cup of tea in hand, and relive these classics – or enjoy them for the first time.

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