I may have to revoke my “book obsessive” badge for admitting this: I don’t think the adaptation is always worse than the book. Sometimes a movie or television adaptation is actually the nudge I need to finally pick up a book that’s been wallowing on my TBR pile for far too long.
In this post, I’m going to offer you my (let’s be real, totally subjective) pick of the book adaptations to look out for during the second half of the year. Plus one from earlier in 2022 you absolutely must watch! And no, I haven’t read all these (yet).
Before you dive in: Hi! I’m Michelle, I co-host a podcast for book nerds called Better Words. We chat with authors about their books and publishing journeys. Listen here or search ‘Better Words’ in your favourite podcast app.
Table of Contents
Salem’s Lot (Movie)
I always thought I wasn’t that into horror movies, but my enjoyment of the recent Stephen King adaptations says otherwise.
Salem’s Lot was King’s second novel in 1975 and follows a troubled writer who moves back to his hometown to work on a new book. But, of course, his psychological childhood demons quickly evolve into real terror as the town is taken over by a vampire.
Director Gary Dauberman also worked on the IT adaptation, so expect a similar vibe when Salem’s Lot hits cinemas in September.
Where to watch it: In theatres
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (TV series)
Full disclosure: I probably won’t watch this. But my fiance is a BIG LOTR fan, so I can guarantee it will be on in our household. Possibly several times.
This new TV series isn’t exactly an adaptation of JRR Tolkein’s epic fantasy. Instead, it takes inspiration from Tolkein’s other works and is set thousands of years before what unfolds in Lord of the Rings.
Immerse yourself in the world of Middle Earth before the series starts in September with our Seed Cake baking kit inspired by The Hobbit.
Where to watch it: Prime Video
The Wonder (Movie)
This Netflix film is adapted from a novel by Emma Donoghue (who also wrote Room and the later screenplay for its 2015 film). The Wonder is enticingly described as a psychological thriller set in 19th Century Ireland inspired by real-life ‘fasting girls’.
The adaptation stars Florence Pugh as an English nurse sent to Ireland to watch over a deeply religious 11-year-old who is rumoured to have survived without eating for months.
Where to watch: Netflix
Netflix are leaning into the Bridgerton-inspired love of Regency England with a new adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion starring Dakota Johnson and Henry Golding.
In this we follow Anne Elliot who is presented with a second chance at love, eight years after she was persuaded not to marry the man she loved.
The film is releasing later this month, so there’s still time to step into Austen’s world with our Lemon Tea Biscuits. Although these were inspired by Pride and Prejudice, they would be perfect for a Persuasion screening party with pals.
Where to watch: Netflix
The Power (TV series)
This is one of those cases where I’m going to push myself to read the book (on my shelf for a while) before the series starts. The Power is a dystopian thriller set in a world where teenage girls have developed the power to electrocute people and find they can awaken this power in older women, too.
The book by Naomi Alderman was a 2016 Women’s Prize winner and featured on Barack Obama’s books of the year wrap up. Alderman has also been mentored by dystopian fiction icon Margaret Atwood, so expect similar vibes to the chilling Handmaid’s Tale when this series is released. There’s no firm release date yet, but it’s expected by the end of the year.
Where to watch: Prime Video
Where the Crawdads Sing (Movie)
It’s been almost impossible to miss Delia Owens’ book on bestseller lists worldwide since its release in 2018. The story follows Kya, a mysterious girl accused of murder.
This adaptation is coming from Reese Witherspoon and looks enchanting. Plus, Taylor Swift wrote and performed the song Carolina for the film!
If you’ve yet to read the book or just want to immerse yourself in the story before you watch it on the big screen, take a look at our Southern Cornbread kit.
Where to watch: In theatres
Daisy Jones and the Six (TV series)
The novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a fictional re-telling of a ‘70s rock band (inspired by Fleetwood Mac) written as the transcript of a music documentary. The adaptation is also from Reese Witherspoon’s production company, Hello Sunshine.
Expect all the ‘70s nostalgia and an original soundtrack bringing Reid’s lyrics in the book to life at last. Oh, and Daisy Jones is played by Riley Keough – granddaughter of Elvis Presley. While there’s no release date yet, it’s expected this year.
Where to watch: Prime Video
Although there will always be a place in my heart for the Mara Wilson Matilda I grew up with, I am intrigued to see a new adaptation come to life. I mean, doesn’t every book-loving kid feel a connection to this story?
Unlike the 1996 movie, the 2022 version is based on the musical featuring a score by Tim Minchin. This musical is one of my all-time favourites so I can’t wait to see it come to life on screen and I love that they’re not trying to re-boot what is already a classic movie. I’m also intrigued to see Emma Thompson taking on the role of Miss Trunchbull after seeing the trailer. It’s set for release in December.
Where to watch: In theatres (UK and Ireland) and Netflix (rest of the world)
Roar (TV series)
This anthology TV series is based on a short-story collection of the same name by Cecelia Ahern (who also wrote PS I Love You). It’s a dark comedy described as ‘feminism fables’ produced by (and starring) Nicole Kidman.
The stories are a blend of magical realism and drama, so expect a few twists and turns along the way. Prior to the series release earlier this year, we spoke to Cecelia Ahern for Better Words. Although we focused on her novel Freckles, we also spoke about adapting Roar and seeing it on screen. Have a listen here.
Where to watch it: Apple TV+
Heartstopper (TV series)
Let’s end on the show that makes my heart burst with happiness. Also, I’m willing to bet you’ve seen this somewhere or someone in your life has already recommended it.
The queer coming-of-age series is based on graphic novels by Alice Oseman. We follow openly gay sixth-former Charlie as he gets closer to seemingly straight Nick. They’re joined by a delightful cast of characters all navigating life and love.
I wanted to re-watch this immediately but settled for playing the official mixtape on repeat and re-reading the comics instead. Now is the time to catch up on season one before seasons two and three are released!
We interviewed Alice on Better Words in 2020. Although we were discussing their new novel, Loveless, we talked about Heartstopper and the adaptation. You can listen here!
Where to watch it: Netflix
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