Weekly Spotlight On: Book to TV Adaptations

This year has a crazy amount of novel adaptations (books hitting theaters), including some staff favorites at RFPL like Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (release date December 25, 2014, directed by Angelina Jolie and screenplay partly done by the Coen brothers), The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (release date: June 6, 2014) and This is Where I Leave You by Johnathon Tropper (release date September 12, 2014 and starring Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, and Jane Fonda). Here’s a great link to more film adaptations.

I wanted to also highlight some of the books that are either already hit tv shows, or are on the way to becoming one this year. I always enjoy seeing favorite characters come to life – even though the book is usually better. Happy reading!

The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta

the leftoversThe community of Mapleton struggles to cope with the sudden disappearance of friends and family members when a Rapture-like event occurs across the world. Those left behind, or The Leftovers, have named the event the Sudden Depature. This story doesn’t focus on any religious affiliations but does focus on the sometimes crazy actions of the townspeople in Mapleton. A very interesting and thoughtful take on the rapture scenario. I read this one and enjoyed the character development. – Genna
New York Times Notable Book for 2011
Washington Post Notable Fiction Book for 2011
USA Today 10 Books We Loved Reading in 2011 Title
One of NPR’s 10 Best Novels of 2011

The tv show is being co-created by Damon Lindelof, one of the creators of the hit ABC series Lost.

The Leftovers tv show will air this summer 2014 on HBO.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon 

outlanderI’ve already written about this book before, but it is the story of Claire Randall, a 1945 former combat nurse who is transported into Scotland in 1743. She is married but meets an enticing Scottish man from the past. This book features history, war, fantasy, and romance. There are other 7 other books in the series: Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, The Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, An Echo in the Bone, and Written in My Own Heart’s Blood.

The Outlander tv show premieres this summer 2014 to Starz.

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

orangeisthenewblackThis memoir highlights the experience of Piper Kerman, a Smith college alum, who spends 15 months in prison for a crime she committed in the past. The book follows her experiences with the diverse group of women in prison with her.

The first series, created by Jenji Kohan of Weeds, aired on Netflix last year. Season one recently won the People’s Choice Award for Best Streaming Series, and Taylor Schilling won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an actress in a TV series.

Season two of Orange is the New Black will air July 11, 2014.

Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, HBO

game of thronesSong of Ice and Fire is a series of books adapted into an HBO series called Game of Thrones, which is also the name of the first book in the series. There are 4 other books in the series: A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, and A Dance with Dragons.

This is a fantasy series with a medieval setting. There are royal kingdoms ruled by different houses, or families. The Stark family faces an often evil opposition of the Lannister family. These kingdoms are preparing for a generation long winter, and a new supernatural zombie-like being that is emerging from the wild. This author’s signature writing technique is to ensure that once the reader is happy or feeling safe and comfortable with characters or plot, he will kill off characters or throw a wrench in the story. For those that like epic stories, this is one for you.

The tv adaptation is riveting and award-winning. Seasons one and two are available on dvd, and season 3 will be available February 18th. So far, the series has 44 wins and 104 nominations from Golden Globes and Emmys, among others.

Game of Thrones season 4 airs on HBO this April 2014.

Witches of East End by Melissa de La Cruz

witches of east endThis is Melissa’s first adult novel, having written the popular young adult Blue Bloods series. It tells the story of the three Beauchamp women who live in the mist-shrouded east coast town of North Hampton Joanna and her daughters Freya and Ingrid. Freya is a free spirit who cures heartaches. Ingrid is a librarian who can predict the future and weave powerful spells from knots. Joanna, the mother, can resurrect and heal people. They are not allowed to use their powers but unearth their powers when a mysterious dark force begins to plague the town. Lots of romance in this one!

The first season of Witches of East End premiered in Fall 2013 on Lifetime and is renewed for a 2nd season in 2014.

House of Cards by Michael Dobbs 

houseofcards“The bestselling political thriller that introduced the scheming Francis Urguhart – the most memorable politician of the last decade.Francis Urquhart is Chief Whip. He has his hands on every secret in politics – and is willing to betray them all to become Prime Minister. Mattie Storin is a tenacious young political correspondent. She faces the biggest challenge of her life when she stumbles upon a scandalous web of intrigue and financial corruption at the very highest levels. She is determined to reveal the truth, but she must risk everything to do so . . .” – Summary from Goodreads.com

First House of Cards was adapted into a 1990 BBC tv drama. Last year Netflix remade the series. Season two will air on Netflix on February 14, 2014.

The Strain by Guillermo del Toro

the strainSet in New York City, a vampire contagion breaks free.

“A Boeing 777 arrives at JFK and is on its way across the tarmac, when it suddenly stops dead. All window shades are pulled down. All lights are out. All communication channels have gone quiet. Crews on the ground are lost for answers, but an alert goes out to the CDC. Dr. Eph Goodweather, head of their Canary project, a rapid-response team that investigates biological threats, gets the call and boards the plane. What he finds makes his blood run cold.” – publisher

This is not the type of vampires that appear in Twilight, in fact, vampires are not romantic beings in this version of vampire lore. The book is written by Guillermo del Toro, the  creator of Academy Award winning movie Pan’s Labyrinth. He is also a creator of the show.

The Strain tv show will premiere this July 2014 to the FX channel.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

americangodsThis fantasy fiction relies on the idea of people as gods. This is the story of Shadow, a recent widower, and the mysterious Mr. Wednesday who offers him a job that proves to be riskier than expected when the two embark on a road trip across the country.

“As unsettling as it is exhilarating, American Gods is a dark and kaleidoscopic journey deep into myth and across an America at once eerily familiar and utterly alien. Magnificently told, this work of literary magic will haunt the reader far beyond the final page.” – publisher

Awards
  • 2001 Nominated British Science Fiction Association Awards
  • 2002 Nominated International Horror Guild Awards
  • 2001 Won Bram Stoker Awards
  • 2002 Won Hugo Awards
  • 2002 Nominated Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature
  • 2002 Won Locus Awards
  • 2002 Nominated World Fantasy Awards
  • 2002 Won Nebula Awards

According to Neil Gaiman, “There is an American Gods TV series in the works. It’s no longer with HBO. The moment that things are ready to be announced I am sure they will be, either legitimately or via a leak in a big Hollywood Agency mailroom.”

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