17 Books To Read Before They Hit the Screen

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movies based on books

It seems like there are more movies and TV series that are based on books now than ever before. Clearly, it’s an insanely successful formula because some of the most talked about TV shows and movies in recent memory were based on books—think Big Little Lies, Daisy Jones & The Six, Behind Her Eyes, The Handmaid’s Tale, Game of Thrones, and more. 

I can’t even tell you the number of times that I have seen a new show or movie pop up on a streaming platform only to learn that it’s based on a book and then tell myself that I am not allowed to watch it until I read the book first. I am a strong believer that that’s just the correct order to do things—there’s something about getting the whole experience and being able to compare notes (but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t set myself up for disappointment sometimes).

Luckily for us, there are lots more movies and TV series that are based on books heading our way in the next year and a half or so. Check out these 17 books to read before they hit the screen:

Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin

American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer

Sure, there may only be a few weeks left to read this one before Oppenheimer hits the big screen, but this Pulitzer Prize-winning biography is definitely worth the rush. The book by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin captures Oppenheimer's life and career, from his early days to his crucial role in the Cold War. This thorough dive into both American and global history is riveting and deeply informative, and the adaptation starring Cillian Murphy will hit theaters in late July.

Adaptation: Movie, theatrical release
Release Date: July 21, 2023
Starring: Cillian Murphy, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh

Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See

Marie-Laure lives in Paris with her father, who works at the Museum of Natural History. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind, and when she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris, and she and her father flee to the citadel of Saint-Malo. Werner grows up an orphan in a mining town in Germany, before his intelligence earns him a place at the academy for Hitler Youth, where he becomes increasingly aware of the human cost of his own mind. His story converges with Marie-Laure's in Saint Malo.

Adaptation: Movie, Netflix
Release Date: November 2, 2023
Starring: Aria Mia Loberti, Louis Hoffman, Mark Ruffalo

Julia Quinn

Romancing Mister Bridgerton

For those of us who are obsessed with the Bridgerton series, we have good news. Soon enough, you can expect a whole new season focused around Colin and Penelope's long awaited love story. This season will be the adaptation of Julia Quinn's fourth book in the series: Romancing Mister Bridgerton. It's the couple we've all been rooting for, and you can read all about it while we wait for the new season to premier.

Adaptation: TV series, Netflix
Release Date: TBA
Starring: Julie Andrews, Jonathan Bailey, Luke Thompson, Phoebe Dynevor

Bonnie Garmus

Lessons in Chemistry

It's the early 1960s, and chemist Elizabeth Zott is the only woman on her team at the Hastings Research Institute. Nobel Prize-nominated Calvin Evans falls, much to Elizabeth's confusion, for her mind. A few years later, Elizabeth finds herself a single mother and the reluctant host of America's most beloved cooking show, where she dares women to challenge the status quo.

Adaptation: TV series, Apple TV+
Release Date: October 13, 2023
Starring: Brie Larson, Lewis Pullman, Stephanie Koenig

Edgar Allen Poe

The Fall of the House of Usher

The Fall of the House of Usher collects fourteen of Edgar Allen Poe's most engaging and influential tales. From the ever-terrifying "The Tell-Tale Heart" to the iconic detective story "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," this is the perfect book for the beginning of spooky season, paired with Netflix's original series.

Adaptation: TV series, Netflix
Release Date: Fall 2023
Starring: Rahul Kohli, Ruth Codd, Igby Rigney

David Grann

Killers of the Flower Moon

From acclaimed director Martin Scorsese comes the film adaptation of journalist David Grann's non-fiction book, Killers of the Flower Moon. The story details the murders of several members of the Osage Indian Nation in Oklahoma after they struck gold by finding oil beneath their land and quickly became the richest people in the world per capita. From there, even the law enforcement officers investigating the killings became targets themselves. As the death count rose, the FBI became involved, making this one of their first high-profile cases and transforming them into the powerhouse investigative team they are today. Working together, the Osage Nation and the FBI uncovered one of the most prolific conspiracies in American history.

Adaptation: Movie, theater release
Release Date: May 2023
Starring: Jesse Plemons, Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro

Zakiya Dalila Harris

The Other Black Girl

At 26, Nella Rogers is fed up with being the only Black employee at Wagner Books, where she works as an editorial assistant. When Harlem-born and bred Hazel begins working at the desk next to her, the two become fast friends; that is, until hostile notes start to appear on Nella's desk telling her to leave Wagner. In disbelief, Nella starts to obsess over the sinister forces at play in her workplace, realizing there is a lot more at stake than just her career. The book, which has echoes of Jordan Peele's genius in its storyline, is bound to thrill as a series on Hulu.

Adaptation: TV series, Hulu
Release Date: September 2023
Starring: Ashleigh Murray, Sinclair Daniel, Karina Willis

Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Honored as a Time best YA book of all time, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe follows two young boys through their complex friendship. Ari is an angry teen with a brother in prison, while Dante is a know-it-all. Through their unlikely partnership, the two discover important truths about identity and family. The film, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2022, is directed by Aitch Alberto.

Adaptation: Movie, theatrical release
Release Date: September 2023
Starring: Max Pelayo, Reese Gonzales

Scott Westerfield


Over a decade after Scott Westerfield's bestselling Uglies series was first published, the book is being adapted into a movie on Netflix. Set in a dystopian world where everyone is considered an "Ugly" until they are turned "Pretty" through extreme plastic surgery at age 16, the novel tells the story of Tally Youngblood, who rebels against the society's enforced conformity and beauty standard's.

Adaptation: Movie, Netflix
Release Date: TBA
Starring: Chase Stokes, Joey King

Agatha Christie

Halloween Party

As a follow-up to Kenneth Branagh's previous two on-screen appearances as the famed Hercuile Poirot, Halloween Party will be released as the feature film A Haunting in Venice. At a Halloween party, 13-year old Joyce brags that she witnessed a murder. When no one believes her, she storms home; within hours, her body is found, drowned in an apple-bobbing tub.

Adaptation: Movie, theatrical release
Release Date: September 15, 2023
Starring: Kenneth Brannagh, Kyle Allen, Camille Cottin

Gregory Maguire

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

Though you may have seen the Tony-award winning musical version of Gregory Maguire's Wicked, the book is even more fun ahead of the highly-anticipated Wicked: Part 1 film starring Arianna Grande and Cynthia Erivo. This bestseller tells the story of Oz through the darker lens of Elphaba as she becomes the Wicked Witch of the West.

Adaptation: Movie, theatrical release
Release Date: November 27, 2024
Starring: Cynthia Erivo, Ariana Grande, Michelle Yeoh

Gabrielle Zevin

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

Childhood friends Sam Masur and Sadie Green reunite on a cold day on a subway platform in Boston, and launch themselves into the world of video game design. Before they have even graduated college, the pair launches their first blockbuster, Ichigo. This unconventional love story, spanning 30 years and reaching from Cambridge, Massachusetts to Venice Beach, California, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow was purchased for film adaptation by Paramount before it was even published.

Adaptation: Movie, theatrical release
Release Date: TBA

Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Though Logan Lerman will always be in our hearts as the original Percy Jackson, the highly anticipated Disney+-bound series definitely warrants a re-read of the classic YA series. Zeus's master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy Jackson is the prime suspect. Percy and his friends have ten days to find and return the lightning bolt to Mount Olympus, but in order to do so, they must unravel a treachery more dangerous than the gods themselves.

Adaptation: TV series, Disney+
Release Date: 2024
Starring: Walker Scobell, Leah Sava Jefferies

Charmaine Wilkerson

Black Cake

Eleanor Bennett's death leaves behind a string of questions for her two children, Byron and Benny. Between a black cake and a voice recording of Eleanor retelling the story of a headstrong young swimmer who escapes her hometown on suspicion of murder, a mystery causes Byron and Benny to question everything they once knew about their lineage. Will they piece together their mother's true history, and eventually fulfill her final request to "share the black cake when the time is right"?

Adaptation: TV series, Hulu
Release Date: TBA
Starring: Mia Isaac, Chipo Chung

Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses

While production on the adaptation of A Court of Thorns and Roses may feel slow, this fan-favorite series is sure to make for an incredible watch once it is finally released on Hulu. After nineteen year-old Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, she is dragged to a treacherous magical land by a dangerous Fae. As she adapts to her captivity in a different world, Feyre's feelings for the faerie transform from icy hostility to fiery passion.

Adaptation: TV series, Hulu
Release Date: TBA

Grady Hendrix

The Final Girl Support Group

Set to be adapted by Charlize Theron with Max, Grady Hednrix's The Final Girl Support Group is known as a fast-paced, wickedly humorous thriller. In horror movies, final girls are the last ones standing after all of the bloodshed: but how do they cope after the credits have rolled? The novel pays tribute to some of the most iconic horror movies of all time, while keeping readers enthralled with the story of one support group member who mysteriously goes missing.

Adaptation: Limited series, Max
Release Date: TBA

Suzanne Collins

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Longtime Hunger Games fans, get excited, because the series will be back in film form this coming November. In this novel, Suzanne Collins focuses on the tenth annual Hunger Games, following eighteen year-old Coriolanus Snow as he prepares for his one shot as a mentor in the Games. Coriolanus, tasked with reinstating the honor of the house of Snow, is given the humiliating task of mentoring the female tribute from District 12. As Coriolanus watches from outside the arena, he starts to feel for his doomed tribute.

Adaptation: Movie, theatrical release
Release Date: November 17, 2023
Starring: Rachel Zegler, Hunter Schafer, Tom Blyth


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