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Book Nook: Book-to-movie adaptations recommendations

By Andrea Silva, October 17 2022

A lot of the movies or shows we see on TV are based on books. With this in mind, I want to provide some book recommendations that can now be seen on the screen!

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak:

This is one of my favourite books because of its plot, characters and narrator. The story is set during World War II, on Himmel Street, in the outskirts of Munich, Germany, and tells the story of Liesel Meminger, a girl in the foster care system that is adopted by the Hubermann family. As the book progresses, Liesel learns to read with the help of her foster father Hans. In books, she discovers a refuge from the war and the horrors of the Third Reich. The Book Thief is a story about the power of reading, how storytelling can be a form of expression, and why that represented a huge threat for the Nazi officials — hence why they burned any literary piece they did not agree with. The Book Thief is also narrated, and one could argue, led, by “death.” This gives the book a unique atmosphere and form of narration. Overall, this book centres on Liesel’s survival through the war, and the plot will surely take you by surprise. Lastly, this novel was adapted into a movie in 2013. I actually watched the movie first and loved it so much, then read the book. Both were great, but I always recommend reading the book first. 

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes:

Me Before You tells the love story of Louisa Clark and Will Traynor. Louisa is a lighthearted young woman who likes to wear colourful clothes. Will is a quadriplegic man that, due to a motorcycle accident, had to put an end to his adventurous lifestyle. After losing her job at a coffee shop, Louisa is hired as Will’s caregiver. As the story develops, the reader can see how Will’s injuries have left him physically and psychologically devastated. To the point where he is confident that he wants to end his life. As the book progresses, both of the main characters get to know each other and develop feelings for one another. Louisa is simply unwilling to let Will go down without a fight, and in her efforts to save his life, she changes her own. This book was adapted into a movie in 2016. Louisa was portrayed by the actress Emilia Clarke, while Sam Claflin represented Will’s character. I personally really liked the movie but think that the book offers a more insightful perspective of the character’s development and points of view. 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows:

The story is set in the aftermath of World War II. A young woman, Juliet, who wrote funny stories for a British paper that aimed to bring the morale of the population up, is trying to expand her literary horizons through more substantial material. As she is looking for her next project, she receives a letter from Guernsey. A man named Dawsey has in his possession a book she used to own. The novel was read in the The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society — a secret society formed by a group of friends of Guernsey, during the Nazi occupation. This association was a form of rebellion, a way for them to get together and break the curfew imposed by the occupying army. As she learns the origins of this society, Juliet decides to respond to the man’s letter. This transforms into a correspondence-based friendship with Dawsey. This novel is a tale about the hardships of the war, friendship, resilience, and the importance of bravery. In 2018, this book was transformed into a movie, led by Lily James and Michiel Huisman. Both the movie and the book are amazing.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn:

I’m always hesitant to provide too much information about a mystery novel, as I believe the less one knows about it going in, the better. But for context, the story focuses on the disappearance of Amy Dunne. Nick, her husband, finds himself as the prime suspect of the case. The story unfolds from Nick’s perspective in the aftermath of Amy’s disappearance but is complemented with diary entries, written by his wife, that describe her point of view. As the reader learns, through the development of the plot, their marriage was not what it seemed on the outside. Then, the case grabs the attention of the media, which further complicates the plot. Overall, this is a gripping mystery novel for readers in need of a story filled with interesting characters and a complex plot. Gone Girl was adapted into a movie in 2014, starring Ben Affleck, who plays Nick, and Rosamund Pike, who portrays Amy. And, in my opinion, the movie was as captivating as the book.

Normal People by Sally Rooney:

Normal People is a book centred around the complex relationship between the two main characters: Marianne and Connell. Their story starts in high school, but the plot follows them through the years as their paths collide and diverge. This novel is a dissection of the very meaning of love; an observation of how quickly things change and how difficult it is for people to come together, after their circumstances pull them apart. In 2020, Normal People was transformed into a short series produced by BBC and Hulu, with the main actors being Daisy Edgar-Jones, representing Marianne, and Paul Mescal, portraying Connell. The fact that this adaptation was a series, instead of a movie, allowed for more parts of the book to be seen on screen which I personally liked. Nevertheless, from what I have seen online, this is a very popular book with some having loved it and some absolutely hating it. Nevertheless, it is definitely a uniquely written contemporary novel that dives into the complex subjects of solitude, solace and love.

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