A Book Adapted into a Movie or Show: Staff Picks for the 2019 Reading Challenge

September 26, 2019 | Book Buzz

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Are you participating in our reading challenge? So are library staff all across the city. These are some of their recommendations for the category "A book that has been adapted into a movie or show". 

Alice's Recommendations:

Dear Evan Hansen

Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich

All formats

Why did Alice pick it?

Can it go either way? Dear Evan Hansen was a show first, and then adapted (very well, I might add) into a book that felt very much like a YA novel, not something forced into that form. The really charming thing was that it used lyrics from the show as well, so the things work quite seamlessly together.

What other categories can you use it for?

  • A book about mental health
  • A book recommended to you by library staff

 

To All the Boys I've Loved Before

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

All formats

Why did Alice pick it?

Netflix has been busy with the YA world, and did a very cute (and very popular) adaptation of Jenny Han's To All The Boys I've Loved Before. I'm not usually a romantic comedy fan, but Lara Jean was adorable and charming and utterly relatable in her awkwardness and missteps.

Myrna adds:

I want to second this recommendation and say that as someone who does usually enjoy romcoms, the book and the movie are some of my favourite recent additions to the genre!

What other categories can you use it for?

  • A book by an author in a visible minority
  • A book recommended to you by library staff

 

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

All formats

Why did Alice pick it?

YA has also been mined pretty heavily for movies, some good, some surprisingly terrible. I would say standouts include Love, Simon (Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda in book form), which was super cute. I heard some heart-warming stories from some in the LGBTQ+ community of how much it meant to them to see a gay relationship given a light, fairly issue-free romantic-comedy treatment very much like any traditional straight rom-com.

  • A book recommended to you by library staff

 

Cursed

Cursed by Thomas Wheeler and Frank Miller

All formats

Why did Alice pick it?

Also interestingly, the forthcoming book Cursed (a collaboration between Thomas Wheeler and Frank Miller in which the sword chooses a girl, not Arthur) already has a scheduled Netflix show coming in the spring! I'm excited, because I'm enjoying the book a lot. It is really a full reimagining rather than a simple gender-swap.

  • A book recommended to you by library staff

 

I finally, finally read Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman. I've loved the movie since I was young – I would have been too young for the book when the movie came out – and although I found out many years ago that it was a book first, I only read it this year.

The book is more adult than the movie, and honestly the movie mostly just takes the basic idea and runs with it in a pretty different direction. That being said, some of the absolute best lines from the movie come straight from the book. I hope other Practical Magic fans love it too!

What other categories can you use it for?

  • A book recommended to you by library staff

 

Wendy's Recommendations: 

Patrick Melrose

The Patrick Melrose novels by Edward St. Aubyn

All formats

Why did Wendy pick it?

These five short, semi-autobiographical novels trace upper-class Brit Patrick Melrose's life from horrific abuse, through addiction, to a kind of happiness. I'm picking it because St. Aubyn relates these dark events with merciless flat-affect wit, which is conveyed with great precision in the show by Benedict Cumberbatch.

What other categories can you use it for?

  • A book about mental health
  • A book recommended to you by library staff

 

Annihilation

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer

All formats

Why did Wendy pick it?

Where the Netflix adaptation of the Melrose novels was faithful, the film version of Annihilation cheats. Director Alex Garland interpreted his source material, Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy, very loosely.  The result is something like a dream based on a partial memory of another dream: moody, puzzling, hugely, surreally enjoyable. You should read the source material to see why some VanderMeer fans get so upset about it.

What other categories can you use it for?

  • A book recommended to you by library staff

 

The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

All formats

Why did Wendy pick it?

There was a time when The Handmaid's Tale was just a novel and Gilead, its patriarchy-gone-haywire setting, seemed like a far-fetched satire. Then, more recently, there was a time when it was a TV show that felt extremely sad and a little too on-the-nose. Then for a while there were sexy Handmaid Hallowe'en costumes and nobody knew what to think. Now, Margaret Atwood has published The Testaments, which has been longlisted for a Giller and shortlisted for a Booker, and basically you should read and watch all of them if you want to understand what's happening in the world right now.

What other categories can you use it for?

  • A book recommended to you by library staff
  • A book by a Canadian award-winning author

More Staff Recommendations: 

The Godfather

The Godfather by Mario Puzo

 

No Country for Old Men

No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

 

Call Me By Your Name book

Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman

 

Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

 

Recommendations from the Facebook Discussion Group:

These are just a few of the picks from the Facebook discussion group. Visit the group to see the full list!

 

Do you have a favourite book-to-screen recommendation? What did you read for the challenge? Share in the comments below!

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