It feels like 2014 all over again, with the avalanche of book adaptations for television and movies announced in the past few years. From BookTok recommendations to Barnes & Noble purchases, I know from personal experience that us readers have a long TBR — or to be read — list. So, if you’re looking to know which ones you should prioritize, here are five books to read before they hit the big screen in the near future.
“Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens
Delia Owens’ “Where the Crawdads Sing” hit the record for the most weeks at #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list for hardcover fiction and is expected to become a major motion picture next summer. The mystery book tells the story of Kya, a young girl who was abandoned by her family in the marsh of 1960s North Carolina and later becomes involved in a murder investigation.
Actress Reese Witherspoon picked up the book for her book club in 2018, only to join the screen project as a producer alongside Olivia Newman, who will direct the movie. Daisy Edgar-Jones, star of “Normal People,” has been cast to play Kya.
Author Delia Owens, who is also a zoologist, published the book — her debut novel — at almost 70 years old, but the response was extraordinary. Owen’s stunning novel is what I consider a modern-day classic. It’s simultaneously a coming-of-age novel and a tale of mystery that compels readers to feel a variety of emotions.
“It Ends With Us” by Colleen Hoover
From what I’ve seen, there’s somewhat of a cult on BookTok around author Colleen Hoover and her romance books.
Of her eleven novels, arguably her most popular is a 2016 young adult romance titled “It Ends With Us.” Without giving any spoilers, the book takes you on a heart-wrenching journey in which protagonist Lily Bloom moves to Boston and meets a seemingly perfect neurosurgeon. Love turns out to be harder than she believes, and Lily is forced to navigate herself through a relationship that takes an unexpected turn.
Three years after its publication, Justin Baldoni will partner with Hoover to bring the book to life. Baldoni, best known for playing Rafael on The CW’s “Jane the Virgin,” will not be directing for the first time. He proved to be a double threat with his film directorial debut “Five Feet Apart” in 2019, followed by “Clouds,” released in 2020. After reading Hoover’s novel, Baldoni decided to take on the project to spread the story to a wider audience. Despite no cast or release date announcements yet, fans are excited that it’s in progress and hope to be buying tickets soon.
“Daisy Jones & The Six” by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Months after Reese Witherspoon picked up “Where the Crawdads Sing” for her book club, she chose Reid’s “Daisy Jones and The Six” for her March 2019 selection.
Inspired by the band Fleetwood Mac, the 2019 bestseller is about the rise and fall of a fictional legendary rock band called The Six in the 1970s. The story will be adapted into a 13-episode Amazon Prime Video series produced by Reese Witherspoon with Niki Caro directing the pilot and multiple other episodes. The star-studded cast includes “Hunger Games” franchise star Sam Claflin as rockstar Billy Dunne and Riley Keough as Daisy Jones.
Keough, the granddaughter of rock legend Elvis Presley, is a fitting choice for Jones, who said on Instagram she considered it an “honor” to be playing Daisy. As a fan of Reid’s equally popular novels, “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” and “Malibu Rising,” I would definitely say “Daisy Jones and The Six” is her most unique and cinematically dramatic novel. The combination of great writing and impending original music — using the lyrics from the book — has created high expectations for the show, which will be released in late 2021 or early 2022.
“The Stars at Noon” by Denis Johnson
“The Stars at Noon” is a 1986 novel written by Denis Johnson about the romance between the narrator, a supposed American reporter, and an English businessman she meets in Nicaragua in 1984. The unnamed narrator, whose true mission in the foreign country is a secret, gets caught up in lies and a whirlwind relationship that forces her to try and leave the country.
The movie will be both a romance and a drama thriller directed by Claire Denis. Taron Egerton will star alongside Margaret Qualley, daughter of Andie MacDowell.
“Conversations with Friends” by Sally Rooney
Sally Rooney’s hit novel “Normal People” became an Emmy-nominated series in 2020. After the author’s dynamic storytelling proved to be a beloved adaptation on screen, Hulu is planning to capture her debut novel next.
Like “Normal People,” “Conversations with Friends” is the story of two best friends — this time in Dublin where they form an unanticipated connection with a married couple, creating an interesting commentary on modern people and the art of a relationship. Directors Leanne Welham and Lenny Abrahamson will take on the 12-episode project starring Alison Oliver, Sasha Lane, Jemima Kirke and Joe Alwyn.
From what I’ve read, Sally Rooney is an author that creates conversations — pun intended — and I have no doubt that ‘Conversations with Friends’ will similarly be a success on screen.
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