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

  • 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.”

Genna’s July Recommendation

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

ocean at the end of the laneI love Neil Gaiman. If you’ve never read him before, he combines mythology with realistic story lines, and his works are usually dark or haunting in some way. This book was a very quick read – less than 200 pages. It is his first adult novel that he has published since Ananasi Boys (which I also highly recommend).  The best way to describe this book is to say that when the book ended, I felt like I had woken up from a somewhat somber but fulfilling dream. It was a very emotional ending.

The story is set in England where an old man revisits his childhood neighbor’s farm – The Hempstocks – and sits by the pond. He then begins to remember his past as a child playing on the farm, and his childhood friend Lettie, and what they came across on the farm.

This book includes magic, a bad witch, and good witches, but most of all, it’s a story of survival. Also, there are a few cute kittens that make an appearance in the story. 🙂 Beautifully written, and very haunting. Loved every second of it, and cried at the end.

Other Recommend Reads by Author Neil Gaiman:

Anansi Boys 

American Gods

Good Omens

The Graveyard Book


Tara’s May Recommendation

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Tiger Lily“Let me tell you something straight off. This is a love story, but not like any you’ve ever heard. The boy and the girl are far from innocent. Dear lives are lost. And good doesn’t win. In some places, there is something ultimately good about endings. In Neverland, that is not the case.”

This is how bestselling author, Jodi Lynn Anderson, begins her recent novel Tiger Lily. In this precursor to the well-known story of Peter Pan, Anderson paints a tale of unrequited love, heartbreak, and romantic tension. Narrated by Tinker Bell, we learn the backstory of Neverland, and that before Peter belonged to Wendy, he belonged to a girl with a crow feather in her hair. He belonged to Tiger Lily.

3 Similar Reads:

Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

Aquamarine by Alice Hoffman

Summerland by Michael Chabon

Sara’s March Recommendation

The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo LanaganThe Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan

“If you’ve read any if Margo Lanagan’s other works, especially Tender Morsels, you understand her love of creating new and strange fantasy worlds that subvert old fairytales and are grafted on top of our own reality. The Brides of Rollrock Island delivers that strange and beautiful (an often unsettling) experience again. While this book is considered YA I would definitely recommend this book for adult readers as well.

3 Similar Reads (YA Fiction)

                                               Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

                                           Witch and Wizard by James Patterson

                                               Talking to Dragons by Patricia Wrede

Anna’s February Recommendation

Summer and Bird by Katherine Catmull

summer and birdis a story of two sisters searching for their missing mother in the alternate reality of Down.  It is also a story of rediscovery, broken dreams, and forgiveness–even when it seems impossibly difficult.  Catmull skillfully weaves fairy-tale elements with realistic family dynamics in a writing style that evokes the bare cleverness of e.e. cummings’ works”.

Read about or request this title from the online catalog!

3 Similar Reads (Fiction, Children’s/Teen)

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Entwined by Heather Dixon

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

3 Similar Reads (Fiction, Adult)

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Rebecca’s July Recommendation

Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi

Mr. Fox is a book of magical realism and the story of a love triangle.  The three featured characters are St. John, a writer, his wife Daphne, and his muse-made-flesh Mary Foxe.  The book alternates between the story of this love triangle (which is a compelling and slightly twisted story in and of itself) and the stories that take place in between.  While some of these individual stories featured throughout the book may require some literary knowledge, you can also enjoy them as stand alone stories as well.  The basic premise of the novel is that Mary Foxe has come to life from St. John’s imagination.  St. John is a mysoginistic and somewhat selfish writer who has a penchant for killing off his female heroines. Mary grows tired of these activities and challenges St. John to what can only be called a literary battle.  Meanwhile, the love triangle between St. John, his wife Daphne, and his ‘ideal’ becomes more intense as the book progresses.  A beautifully written work of magical realism–I would recommend this novel to those who love stories about stories and those who can appreciate elements of the fantastic amidst the real”.

Read about it or request it from the library catalog!

3 Similar Reads (Fiction)

1) 1Q84by Haruki Murakami (Access to library catalog here)

2) Love In the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Access to library catalog here)

3) The Pugilist at Rest: Stories by Thom Jones (Access to library catalog here)

3 Similar Reads (Nonfiction)

1) Every Tongue Got to Confess by Zora Neale Hurston (Access to library catalog here)

2) The Annotated Brothers Grimm (Access to library catalog here)

3) Breaking the Magic Spell: Radical Theories of Folk and Fairy Tales by Jack Zipes (Access to library catalog here)

Rebecca’s March Recommendation

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.”

“The circus is called Le Cirque des Reves, it is only open at night, and the circus itself is entirely black and white.  The acts inside the circus are breathtaking, enchanting, and miraculous, where impossible feats take place every day.  But the circus holds a deeper purpose–it is a venue for a secret duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood by their magical instructors expressly for this purpose.  This is a duel in which, unbeknownst to the two characters, only one person can be left standing.  Celia and Marco’s competition rests on the use of imagination, creativity, and will, in which each character uses the circus to showcase their abilities.  Written in rich and detailed prose, this debut novel by Morgenstern depicts a devastating love story and truly makes the reader believe in magic.  This novel would be appealing both for lovers of literary fiction, fantasy fiction, and is a great young adult crossover”.


Read about it or request it from the library catalog!