6 Books to Read ASAP Before They're Made Into Movies and TV Shows

At the rate that quality productions are being whirled out by the likes of not just Netflix and Stan, but also Binge, Amazon, Disney+ and Apple TV+, we’re rarely short of a hit series to binge.

While we love an enthralling documentary as much as the next Octopus Friend fan, there’s nothing like a well-written drama to get excited about. And with some of the most exciting streaming moments of late having come from books (from The Handmaid’s Tale and Big Little Lies, to the more recent Normal People and The Flight Attendant), we thought we’d cast our gaze to some of the next big things when it comes to TV and film adaptations.

Here are six books to add to your list, so that in a few months’ time when everyone’s obsessed, you can say you read them first.

6 Best Books Being Made Into Movies and TV Shows in 2021

1. Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney

Irish author Sally Rooney released Conversations With Friends a few years before Normal People and its runaway success as a Hulu series (no doubt some of the most wept-over television of the pandemic), but now the story is getting the same television treatment.

In place of Connell and Marianne, Conversations revolves around friends Frances and Bobbi, and the complex and often-fraught relationships they form during their college years, particularly with married couple Melissa and Nick.

While Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal were virtually unknown before being cast in Normal People, this time there’s a few more familiar faces: Girls star Jemima Kirke, American Honey’s Sasha Lane and the man inspiring all of Taylor Swift’s love songs for the last few years, Joe Alwyn. Count us in.

Where to read: Bed Threads

2. Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Filming in the NSW town of Byron Bay since late last year, you’ve likely heard the buzz around this series tipped as 2021’s answer to Big Little Lies. As BLL was, it’s also based on a novel by Australian author Liane Moriarty, and now much of the same team is involved for the TV adaptation: Nicole Kidman is both part of the ensemble and is attached as an executive producer, while television maestro David E. Kelley is one of the writers. The gist this time?

A group of strangers convene for a health retreat hosted by an eccentric Russian woman named Masha, and we get to observe their various personal demons as Masha and her offsiders conjure some dark new ones, unbeknownst to their guests. Safe to say it should make for pretty wild viewing. It also stars Tiffany Boone, Melissa McCarthy, Bobby Cannavale, Asher Keddie and Samara Weaving.

Where to read: Booktopia

3. Deep Water by Patricia Highsmith

Having written 22 novels in her lifetime, Patricia Highsmith clearly had a talent for timeless stories, her most well-known being The Talented Mr Ripley and The Price of Salt (which went on to become Carol, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara as tortured lovers).

Now Highsmith’s 1957 novel Deep Water is being turned into a feature film starring Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas, as a married couple whose open relationship sours when their respective lovers start turning up dead. Aussie actor and Euphoria star Jacob Elordi is also cast, which has us all the more excited.

Where to read: Booktopia

4. Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

If you loved The Undoing - starring of course Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman’s coat collection - then keep your eyes peeled to Netflix’s new releases when this one lands later this year.

Writer David E. Kelley is behind both, and has teamed up with former House of Cards showrunner Melissa James Gibson for this tense psychological thriller-meets-epic power play, currently filming in London. Sienna Miller is set to play the wife of a politician (Rupert Friend) accused of sexually assaulting one of his aides (Charlie’s Angels newcomer Naomi Scott), resulting in a #metoo-era fallout. Written by former political journalist Sarah Vaughan, the book was a bestseller when it was released in 2018, and we have similarly high hopes for the series.

Where to read: Amazon

5. Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason

Australian author Meg Mason’s third novel and first work of fiction, Sorrow and Bliss, has been the talk of book clubs everywhere since its release - even getting rave reviews from fellow writers Ann Patchett and Pandora Sykes - and now the movie rights have been picked up by the same U.S. production company as Gone Girl.

The finished project will likely be a few years off, which is all the more time to devour the book. Be warned: it could strike a melancholy chord at the moment, with the protagonist Martha grappling with a recent divorce and the depression that’s come to characterise most of her adult life. But it’s delivered with a definite humour and wit that makes it one of the most touching reads you might come across this year.

Where to read: Dymocks

6. The Last Letter from Your Lover by JoJo Moyes

JoJo Moyes’ romantic novels are almost exclusively tearjerkers (remember Me Before You?) and we doubt this will be any exception, with Moyes tweeting that it’s a story of “passion, adultery and loss”.

Felicity Jones, Shailene Woodley, Nabhaan Rizwan, Callum Turner and Joe Alwyn will all star in the Netflix original film, which splits between the 1960s and now to tell the story of a journalist who uncovers hidden love letters between a couple in the throes of an affair decades prior. Call us suckers for a love story, but we’re certainly not going to pass up the chance to feel something at a time like this.

Where to read: Booktopia

Want more books to read? We've rounded up the 16 books to add to your must-read list in 2021. 

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