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Image / Editorial

10 Amazing Books To Read Before They Become TV Shows This Year

by Jade Hanley
26th Jan 2018

It’s a classic conundrum: what’s better, the show or the book?

Some of the most popular and critically acclaimed television shows over the past few years have been based on our favourite novels from Tom Perrotta’s novel-turned-TV-sensation The Leftovers, to Margaret Atwood’s extremely popular The Handmaid’s Tale and Alias Grace, and the award-winning and critically-acclaimed TV series Big Little Lies based on the novel by Liane Moriarty. We’re hurrying to catch up on some titles we missed before they hit the little screen- there’s usually so much joy to be had from both versions.

Patrick Melrose

Based on the heart-breaking, but hilarious series of semi-autobiographical novels written by Edward St. Aubyn, the five-part series will be devoted to each of his five Patrick Melrose novels, Never Mind, Bad News, Some Hope, Mother’s Milk (which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2006) and At Last. Benedict Cumberbatch was born for this role – as you read you can picture him perfectly as Patrick. The character-driven story follows his journey from a deeply traumatic, but privileged childhood through to adulthood, where he gets caught up in substance abuse and then on to suburbia, where the once bad boy struggles to be ‘normal’. The series is written by BAFTA Award nominee David Nicholls (One Day and Bridget Jones’ Baby).


Stephanie Danler’s highly-acclaimed coming-of-age novel was selected as an NPR Book of 2016 and ranked on The New York Times’ Hardcover Fiction Best-Seller List. The six-episode series is based on the life of 22-year-old Tess (Ella Purnell) who leaves her home in Ohio to move to New York City. She lands herself a job as a waitress at a celebrated downtown restaurant, where she is introduced to a world of drugs, alcohol, love, and discovers the madness of being young in a city full of opportunities.


If you’re a fan of Gossip Girl, then you’ll be delighted to hear that Dan Humphrey (Penn Badgley) will star in the adaptation of Caroline Kepnes’ novel. There’s a fine line between love and obsession, but not for our main man Joe, a bookstore manager in his mid-twenties who becomes obsessed with a customer that enters his shop. In an age of technology, especially social media, this book pinpoints the problem of how easy it is to find someone online and cross boundaries to get close to her.

MaddAdamm Trilogy

After the success of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Alias Grace, it’s no surprise that her best-selling trilogy, comprised of the novels Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood, and MaddAddam is being made into a TV series. The novels are set in a post-apocalyptic world, centered around a small group of survivors who are left to build a new world after a global disease wipes out the majority of the human race.

The Little Drummer Girl

If you loved The Night Manager, then this one’s for you. Based on the best-selling and award-winning thriller novel by John le Carré, The Little Drummer Girl is set to air this year on BBC One. The cast includes Emmy Award winner Alexander Skarsgard (Big Little Lies) and rising star, Florence Pugh. Charlie is an actress pulled into a deadly game of cat and mouse by an Israeli intelligence officer, and here follows plenty of deception, violence, and skulduggery.

Sharp Objects

Fans of Gone Girl will be delighted to hear that Gillian Flynn’s novel Sharp Objects is set to air as an eight-episode mini-series. The book spent more than two months on the New York Times bestseller list, was shortlisted for an Edgar Award and won two of Britain’s Dagger Awards. Amy Adams will play the protagonist Camille Preaker, who is forced to return home after her short stay at a psychiatric hospital to cover a brutal murder involving two preteen girls. She’s brought back to her old life, surrounded by her mother and half-sister whom she hasn’t talked to in a while. She finds herself trying to put together a psychological puzzle from her past, only to discover a haunting familiarity with the two young victims along the way.


Sarai Walker’s popular and darkly comedic novel Dietland follows the life of an obese woman, Plum Kettle (Joy Nash) who dreams of  becoming skinny. When her upcoming weight-loss surgery is disrupted by a group of feminists who are eager to destroy what has become “a man’s world”, Plum is caught between her personal desires and feminist ideals. The novel has been critically acclaimed and was named a Best Book of 2005 by Entertainment Weekly and Amazon.

Altered Carbon

On 2nd February, Netflix releases a new 10-part series based on Richard Morgan’s popular action and violence packed thriller. Directed by Miguel Sapochnik and scripted by Shutter Island’s Laeta Kalogridis, this new dystopian and visually spectacular sci-fi series is set to become one of Netflix’s biggest hits of 2018. 300 years into the future, Takeshi Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman) is the lone survivor of a group of interstellar warriors who were defeated in an uprising against the new world order. A giant corporation has developed new technology that can download human consciousness and place it in storage so it can be transferred to new human bodies, allowing humans to survive physical death. To gain the freedom he desires, he must solve a murder.

The City & The City

The multi-award winning novel by China Miéville is being adapted into a four-part drama series for BBC Two starring David Morrissey (The Walking Dead). The story follows inspector Tyador Borlú as he investigates the murder of a foreign student, whose body is found in the rotting city of Beszel. As the investigation progresses, strange and horrifying conspiracies unfold, forcing him to travel to the only metropolis on Earth as strange as his own.

Who Fears Death

After reading her short story Spider the Artist which was a finalist for the WSFA Small Press Award, it’s no surprise that Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin wanted to produce this science-fantasy series based on the novel by Nigerian-American writer Nnedi Okorafor. Awarded the 2011 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel and the 2010 Carl Brandon Kindred Award for an outstanding work of speculative fiction dealing with race and ethnicity, the novel takes place in a post-apocalyptic Africa, where the world has changed drastically, and in one region genocide runs rampant.

Feature Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

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