5 Of My Favourite Book To Film & TV Adaptations #AD

29 Aug 2017

During my time at University as an English student, I felt this sort of unspoken pressure to enjoy books more than their TV or film adaptations. I'm not sure if any of my coursemates felt the same way, but I definitely had this feeling that it was frowned upon to enjoy something like The Hunger Games or The Great Gatsby outside of the book realm. It was never said out loud, but I couldn't help but feel that the 'I've read all the works of Shakespeare, the Bronte Sisters and Ford Madox Ford, and you like young adult fiction?' types - you know the ones - weren't into it. Well, today I'm saying 'sod it' to the people that think like that and I'm sharing some of my favourite book to TV and film adaptations because there have been some really fab pieces of work out there!

It was so difficult to narrow this list down because there have been so many books that have been adapted into TV shows or films over the years that I could have gone on forever. I've stuck to my tip top favourites and spoken a little bit about why I like them so much, so that you can hopefully get a feel for whether you'd like them too! I will say though, for every single one, there is only one thing that will make them all that tiny bit better, and that is if they were watched on a television from the Panasonic 4K TV range. Just imagine seeing yellow-spotted lizards (please tell me someone understands that reference) in ultra HD or Augusten Burroughs playing with an electroshock therapy machine in high-end 4K HDR. It would be just like having Hollywood in your home! If you'd like to take a look at the full range for all the binge-watching, movie nights or cosy evenings with a cuppa and the soaps, then click here! Now let's get on to my first favourite...

Running With Scissors - Augusten Burroughs
I discovered Running With Scissors by accident after taking a nap on the sofa and waking up to the film channel being left on the TV. RWS was the film that was playing and despite not having a clue what it was about, I watched it and absolutely fell in love. I read the book after seeing it - controversial, I know - and that just totally cemented my love for it. The book is the memoir of Burroughs and is centred around his turbulent home life. He is sent to live with his mother's therapist and some crazy stuff goes down! I won't go too much into detail because it really is a fab book and film, but let's just say that the therapist's family are the kind of people that leave their Christmas decorations up all year round. The book is extremely well-written and there were plenty of 'OMG did that really happen?' moments, and the film is exactly the same. While some parts of the book are missing from the film, it is very true to the story and it is understandable why some parts are cut. This is a real story about real people, so some things don't need to be on the big screen. It's funny at times, sad in others and downright strange the rest of the time! (If you do end up reading or watching Running With Scissors, I highly recommend reading Dry, Burroughs' memoir following on from RWS. Honestly, it's brilliant and I don't know why it hasn't been made into a film yet.)
A Series Of Unfortunate Events - Lemony Snicket
When I say A Series Of Unfortunate Events, I mean the books into TV programme, not that poor excuse of a film. When it was announced that an ASOUE series was coming to Netflix, I was freaking out. I was obsessed with the books as a kid and couldn't wait to see what Netflix would do with the story. I was massively disappointed with the film version and wasn't surprised when there was no follow-up released, but that just wasn't the case with the programme. It was exactly what I wanted! As I wrote in my full review of the show, I think it's the quickest I've ever watched a full season of something. The book is about three children whose parents are killed in a fire, the people that they are passed around to and the terrible things that happen along the way. The biggest difference between the 2004 film and the 2017 Netflix show was that the programme stuck so closely to the books, whereas the film had a heck of a lot of things missing from it. The programme also had gorgeous styling, with it's vivid colours but very dark moments, and the kind of humour I like - sarcasm, deadpan and a mix of sadness with slapstick, to put it simply. Plus, Neil Patrick Harris, does it get much better? You definitely don't need to be a kid to watch and enjoy this show!
Fingersmith - Sarah Waters
My love for this book and TV film came from University. One of my favourite parts of the course was studying the Victorians, their literature and Neo-Victorian lit. I loved learning all about the history and finding out where the literature fit into it all, as well as looking deeper into the themes and their meanings. This book fits into the latter of the three, Neo-Vic, and it's absolutely incredible. It's about two young women whose lives become entwined unexpectedly and there's a massive plot twist that I did not see coming. It's a gorgeous read and I was so excited when I found out that the BBC had made a TV film adaptation. Despite already knowing about the huge twist, I was still floored by it. I bloomin' love Sue, the main character, and have just the right amount of hate for Richard Rivers, the stinking con-man he is. If you fancy reading the book, just know that the TV film doesn't stray at all, so I 100% recommend it. They're both gripping, shocking and so so clever.
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
This was another book that I discovered thanks to my time at University, but it wasn't that we studied it. We had looked at other books by Margaret Atwood and I really enjoyed the things she wrote and what she stood for, so I decided to look further into her work. I came across The Handmaid's Tale and instantly loved it. It's a dystopian novel set in a totalitarian and theocratic state that has replaced the USA. It follows the story of Offred, whose only purpose is to breed, and the other Handmaids in their lives that are dictated by misogyny and biological determinism. The book was published in 1985 and I imagine that it was as poignant then and it is now. I know many people tuned in to the Channel 4 show and found it deeply moving and difficult to watch in parts. Despite the deeply disturbing nature of both the book and the programme, it's definitely something that has made so many people, including me, think about the current state of society in America and how close it is to Atwood's dystopian idea.
Holes - Louis Sachar
I discovered Holes through school as it was something that we read in English class. We read snippets in class and had to give the books back at the end, but I was such a rebel that I stole the book on multiple occasions and read the whole thing at home. If any of my English teachers are reading this now, I'm sorry that I kept stealing the book but you are the reason why I love English so much today. The story is about a boy who is wrongly accused of a crime and sent to a detention camp in the desert where he digs holes all day. I realise that the plot doesn't sound too exciting, but trust me, there are so many different plotlines to follow and loads of crazy twists, so it's definitely worth a read. The film is also absolutely fab. I feel like everybody my age has seen Holes at least once and if they haven't, THEN WHY NOT? Despite it being made for kids, I'm still so in love with it now and it's been one of my favourite films for as long as I can remember. It really made me want to write stories with lots of backstory and complex characters, so I guess you could say that this was a book and a film that changed my life!

As I mentioned earlier in the post, there are plenty of other examples that I could add to this post, but I'm pretty sure we'd be here all day. There are also a bunch of books that I would love to see as a film or TV show. I mentioned Dry by Augusten Burroughs at the beginning of the post as one of them, but I'd also love the Noughts & Crosses series by Malorie Blackman to be in film form at some point too!

Thank you to Panasonic for sponsoring this post. It was a lot of fun to write and has given me such an urge to read all of these books and watch their digital counterparts again! I'd love to know if there are any other books, films or TV shows I should watch, so let me know in the comments.

This post was sponsored by Panasonic. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Whould you like to comment?

  1. I love Holes, I read it at school too, but we red the whole thing and watched the film which was good! I agree with you though it doesn't sound like an exciting plot, but it is really good!xx

    Hannah | luxuryblush

    1. Totally agree! Trying to explain the plot to people that haven't seen it is so difficult because there's no way of making it sound good without giving the whole game away x

  2. I haven't watched any of these! I am not sure what my favourite adaptation is - does Game of Thrones count?

    1. Absolutely! I've never read Game Of Thrones, but the show though... I'm hooked on it! x