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Books To Read Before They Hit The Screens

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Read before you watch

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The books are always better than the film, right? At least, that’s what people say. Before they hit the screens, many of our favourite films and shows started out as a little novel in the corner of a bookshop. You can’t quite beat a good book, and with so many of them being adapted for new audiences across the globe, it’s safe to say the excitement for fresh stories – to read and to watch – never died down. Here’s our list of books to read before they hit the screens. 

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Books To Read Before They Hit The Screens

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The Essex Serpent Book Cover (Books To Read Before They Hit The Screens)

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

An intriguing tale set in nineteenth century England, The Essex Serpent tells the story of widowed Cora Seaborne as she trades in the busy streets of Victorian London for a small village in Essex. But not everything is as it should be, as local superstitions whisper that a mythical creature has returned to the area – for good.

Confirmed for a 2022, the TV series adaptation of The Essex Serpent will feature the likes of Claire Danes, Tom Hiddleston,  Frank Dillane, Hayley Squires, Clémence Poésy and Jamael Westman. Catch it later this year on Apple TV+.

Favourite Quote: ‘You are a woman, and must begin to live like one. By which I mean: have courage.’

Serpent’s Tail, £7.37, amazon.co.uk

The Nightingale Book Cover (Books To Read Before They Hit The Screens)

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Despite their differences, sisters Viann and Isabelle have always been close. While the outgoing Isabelle leads a life in the bustling city of Paris, Viann is content with family life in the French countryside. The start of the Second World War, however, quickly shatters their previous lifestyles. Viann’s husband is sent to fight in the war, leaving Viann isolated at home. Isabelle is soon sent by their father to help her, and the sisters’ relationship and strength is tested as the war rages on.

A film version of The Nightingale, starring sisters Dakota and Elle Fannin, is set to hit theatres on 23 December 2022.

Favourite Quote: ‘Wounds heal. Love lasts. We remain.’

Pan, £7.37, amazon.co.uk

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

Emma Donoghue’s The Wonder follows a phenomena in 1862 Ireland, where a young girl who stops eating but remains alive and well. An English nurse, Lib Wright, is sent to the girl’s village to observe her health – and encounters the masses of tourists and pilgrims who stop by to see the live-action miracle. But the question remains: is this really a Heaven-sent wonder or something more ominous?

A film adaptation of The Wonder is currently in post-production, so a 2022 release seems likely. It will star the likes of Florence Pugh, Ciarán Hinds, Niamh Algar and Toby Jones.

Favourite Quote: ‘A strident female voice causes men’s ears to close.’

Picador, £7.99, amazon.co.uk

One Day book cover

One Day by David Nicholls

Set over 20 years, One Day follows the relationship of Emma and Dexter as they meet each year on 15 July. Meeting for the first time on the night of their graduation, the following years map out a story of highs, lows, romances and heartbreaks. You might need the tissues to hand when you read this one.

Netflix recently announced that it would be adapting Nicholls’s novel into a tv series, so keep an eye out for any upcoming updates.

Favourite Quote: ‘He wanted to live life to the extreme, but without any mess or complications.’

Hodder Paperbacks, £7.37, amazon.co.uk

Lady Chatterley's Lover

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence

Once the most controversial stories to hit UK bookshelves, Lady Chatterley’s Lover is the final novel from D.H. Lawrence. This is a tense tale centring on Lady Chatterley’s adulterous liaison with gamekeeper Oliver Mellors, as she discovers that life should be experienced through both mind and body. Infused with commentary on social class, sexuality, and psychology, Lady Chatterley’s Lover is a classic through and through.

Netflix has announced it is working on a new adaptation of Lady Chatterley’s Loverstarring Emma Corrin, Jack O’Connell, and Matthew Duckett.

Favourite Quote: ‘We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.’

Alma Classics, £6.99, almabooks.com

Everything I Know About Love

Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton

Dolly Alderton’s romantic comedy has become a fast favourite for many readers across the UK. In her novel, the Sunday Times columnist shares her personal experiences navigating the world of adulthood: love, jobs, heartbreak, Rod Stewart-themed parties, and the realisation that good friends are all you need to make life memorable.

The BBC will be adapting Dolly Alderton’s novel into a seven-part television series. Casting was recently announced, with Emma Appleton and Bel Powley taking on the roles of Maggie and Birdy.

Meet the Cast of Dolly Alderton’s ‘Everything I Know About Love’

Favourite Quote: ‘Nearly everything I know about love, I’ve learnt from my long-term friendships with women.’

Fig Tree, £6.36, amazon.co.uk

Exciting Times

Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan

After leaving Dublin in search of happiness, Ava finds herself in Hong Kong teaching English. It’s not the life she envisioned for herself, nor is it the best financial option. But things start to look up when she meets Julien. His wealth provides the comfort and stability Ava always wanted for herself, and she soon jumps into a relationship with him. Things don’t always go to plan though, and soon Edith enters the picture. She’s striking and ambitious – and Ava wants her more than she’s ever wanted anyone else. But Ava must choose: settle into a comfortable life with Julien or take a leap of faith with Edith?

Bridgerton star Phoebe Dynevor was recently cast as the lead in the upcoming television adaptation by Amazon.

Favourite Quote: ‘Sometimes I love you and sometimes I think it would be best if a plane flew into your office and you were on the plane or in the building.’

HarperCollins, £12.47, amazon.co.uk

Anansi Boys

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

A companion to the popular American Gods novel, Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys delves back into the world of modern mythology with a new set of characters and stories to unravel. The plot follows Charlie Nancy, a young man who is confronted with multiple secrets after the untimely death of his father – the most startling being that he wasn’t who he said he was. Now, with a half-brother he never knew of on his doorstep, Charlie’s world is about to get a whole lot more interesting (and dangerous).

Amazon recently announced they would be adapting Gaiman’s novel into a six-part series, with filming starting later this year in Scotland.

Favourite Quote: ‘Let’s start a new tomorrow, today.’

Headline Review, £5.50, amazon.co.uk

Books To Read Before They Hit The Screens, Death on the Nile

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

Every Brit should know Agatha Christie, the detective writer who dominated bookshelves – and later television screens – throughout the twentieth century. Death on the Nile sees Christie’s most famous detective, Hercule Poirot, embark on another whodunit aboard a glamorous river steamer in Egypt. Not one to miss if you’re a fan of suspenseful drama.

The film is set to feature Kenneth Branagh as the Belgian detective, alongside a stellar cast including Gal Gadot, Dawn French, and Letitia Wright. You can catch Death on the Nile in theatres from 11 February 2022.

Favourite Quote: ‘Motives for murder are sometimes very trivial, Madame.’

HarperCollins Publishers, £8.99, amazon.co.uk

Books To Read Before They Hit The Screens, The Viscount Who Loved Me

The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn

Dear reader, have you not yet delved into Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton novels? For lovers of period romance and the revered enemies-to-lovers trope, The Viscount Who Loved me delivers a witty story packed with brilliant characters and a page-turning plot. Time to revisit the ton, methinks.

Netflix confirmed season two of Bridgerton shortly after the success of the first, with an estimated release date for early 2022.

Interview with Bridgerton’s Polly Walker

Favourite Quote: ‘Was it possible to fall in love with the same man over and over again, every single day?’

Piatkus, £6, amazon.co.uk

Books To Read Before They Hit The Screens, Where The Crawdads Sing

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

We’ve heard a lot of good things about this one. The story takes place in a quiet fishing village in the late sixties, where Kya – the alleged “Marsh Girl” – lives on the outskirts of the community as a naturalist. When a man she was once involved with is killed, Kya becomes the number one suspect.

The film adaptation will feature Daisy Edgar-Jones (Normal People) as Kya, and is set for a June 2022 release.

Favourite Quote: ‘I wasn’t aware that words could hold so much. I didn’t know a sentence could be so full.’

G.P. Putnam’s Sons, £14.13, amazon.co.uk

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Gabrielle Zevin’s 2014 novel had been called ‘a love letter to the world of books’, and for good reason too. The story follows grumpy bookseller, A.J. Fikry, as he comes to terms with a rapidly changing world. The arrival of an unexpected package turns everything A.J. once knew on its head – is this the opportunity he needed to make his life over?

The upcoming film adaptation is currently still in pre-production, but Kunal Nayyar, Christina Henricks, and Lucy Hale are all confirmed to be onboard.

Favourite Quote: ‘We read to know we’re not alone. We read because we are alone. We read and we are not alone. We are not alone.’

Penguin Books Ltd, £7.31, amazon.co.uk

Blonde

Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates

Not to be confused with a biography, Joyce Carol Oates’ bestselling fiction novel chronicles the life of Hollywood megastar Marilyn Monroe. Many notable names are changed within the story but are still guessable by initials or nicknames. At over 700 pages, Blonde isn’t a light read, but it’s certainly worth it.

With Blonde now in post-production, Oates’ novel is expected to hit Netflix’s screens sometime next year. No Time To Die’s Ana de Armas plays the iconic blonde actress.

Favourite Quote: ‘An actress wants to be seen. An actress wants to be loved. By multitudes of people, not just one lone man.’

Fourth Estate, £10.65, amazon.co.uk

Daisy Jones & The Six

Daisy Jones & The Six by Jenkins Reid

Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll – that about sums up Jenkins Reid’s best-selling novel. Set during the age of liberation in 1970s Los Angeles, Daisy Jones & The Six follows a young girl’s rise to rockstar fame and worldwide icon status.

Look out for the upcoming TV miniseries on Amazon Prime Video next year.

Favourite Quote: ‘Men often think they deserve a sticker for treating women like people.’

Ballantine Books, £16.24, amazon.co.uk

Persuasion

Persuasion by Jane Austen

Another love story we can’t wait to read. Anne Elliot is the eldest of Jane Austen’s heroines, and her story follows the classic ‘Will they? Won’t they?’ plot-line that characterises so many of the novelist’s stories. Anne regrets breaking off her engagement to Frederick Wentworth eight years ago, but is his sudden re-entry into her life an opportunity to make amends?

Austen’s novel is expected to hit Netflix’s screens sometime early next year, with Dakota Johnson starring as Anne.

Favourite quote: ‘You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope… I have loved none but you.’

Penguin Books Ltd, £5.65, blackwells.co.uk

Featured image: Jeremy Yap, Unsplash

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