Coming soon… 7 books to add to your reading list before they arrive on screen

If you’re a book lover, chances are you’ll have experienced a degree of anxiety about seeing your favourite novel adapted for the screen.There’s no doubt that TV and film adaptations can be a contentious issue. From who plays your favourite character to decisions about detail missed in the re-telling, there’s a lot riding on whether you’ll love or hate the eventual outcome.At the start of the new year, there’s a lot of new TV shows and movies to look forward to, so make sure you devour the delights of these seven brilliant books before they arrive on screen.
1. Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

With almost 150,000 five-star Amazon reviews, if you haven’t already discovered the magic within these pages, Where the Crawdads Sing should go straight to the top of your reading list.Delia Owens’ debut novel tells the story of Kya, a young woman who is forced to raise herself in the North Carolina marshes when her family abandons her at the age of six. She grows up an outsider in her community, who ostracise and mistreat her, calling her “Marsh Girl” and “swamp trash”.Despite having no formal education, Kya grows up to be wise and self-sufficient and makes a success of her life. But when she’s accused of murdering her former boyfriend, everything changes.Actress-turned-producer, Reese Witherspoon is behind the project. So, if you’ve seen Big Little Lies or Little Fires Everywhere, which Witherspoon was also responsible for bringing to the screen, you’ll know this amazing book is in good hands.The movie release date has been set for 24 June 2022.

2. The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

The Wonder is a tale of two strangers who transform each other’s lives, a psychological thriller, and a story of love pitted against evil.

Set in the Irish Midlands in the 1850s, Emma Donoghue’s novel tells the story of 11-year-old Anna O’Donnell and Lib Wright, a young English nurse tasked with watching Anna and uncovering the truth of how it seems the girl remains miraculously alive and well, even though she has stopped eating.

Starring Florence Pugh, who played Amy in the 2019 adaptation of Little WomenThe Wonder is expected to air on Netflix in the second half of 2022.

3. Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan

When you leave Ireland aged 22 to spend your parents’ money, it’s called a gap year. When Ava leaves Ireland aged 22 to make her own money, she’s not sure what to call it, but it involves: a badly-paid job in Hong Kong, teaching English grammar to rich children; Julian, who likes to spend money on Ava and lets her move into his guest room; Edith, who Ava meets while Julian is out of town and actually listens to her when she talks; money, love, cynicism, unspoken feelings and unlikely connections.

Set against the backdrop of Brexit and the 2017 Hong Kong elections, Exciting Times is a bestselling debut and was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2021.

The book has been adapted into a series starring Bridgerton star Phoebe Dynevor and is expected to air on Amazon Video in 2022.

4. Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney

Conversations With Friends follows the adaptation of Rooney’s Normal People, which became a huge hit in the first lockdown and broke records as the most-streamed BBC series of 2020.

As with Normal PeopleConversations With Friends will be directed by Lenny Abrahamson, who directed the film adaptation for Emma Donoghue’s heart-rending novel, Room.

Conversations With Friends is a BBC drama and expected to air on BBC and Hulu, hopefully sometime during 2022.


5. Foe by Ian Reid

Foe tells the story of Junior and Hen, a young married couple who live a solitary life on their farm.

The novel is set in the near future where environmental decay is destroying the planet. The couple are informed by a stranger that Junior has been selected to travel to a large, experimental space station orbiting Earth.

As for Hen, she won’t have a chance to miss him since arrangements have been made to ensure she’ll never be left alone.

Amazon Studios bought the rights in a deal worth more than $30 million.

Filming starts early this year in Australia and stars Saoirse Ronan, Paul Mescal, and Aaron Pierre. Director Garth Davis was behind Lion, a film that received six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and became one of the highest-grossing Australian films ever.

Airing on Prime Video, the date is yet to be confirmed.

6. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr’s deeply moving novel tells the story of Marie-Laure, a blind teenager in occupied France during the second world war who meets up with a German soldier, Werner. The story follows Marie-Laure and Werner as they try to survive the devastation.

With more than 30,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, this New York Times bestseller won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the 2015 Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction.

The four-part series is expected to air on Netflix later this year, or early 2023, and is being helmed by Peaky Blinders adapter Steven Knight and Stranger Things director Shawn Levy.


7. Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Carty-Williams’ debut novel tells the story of Queenie Jenkins, a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman whose life starts to unravel when she takes a break from her long-term boyfriend.

Channel 4, who is behind the series, says, “Queenie is about heartbreak and bad dates and worse sex. It’s about south London and the gentrification that’s chipping away at it and what it represents. It’s about race, identity, culture and the politics that shape you. It’s about the love of friends, the chaos of family and community and all the other varying relationships in-between, but especially the one with yourself.”

Expect the TV series to be full of as much heart and soul as Queenie herself.

Due to air late 2022, if everything goes according to plan.

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