Spoil Yourself with these Books Adapted into Popular TV Shows

Discover the books behind some of your favorite TV shows. Streaming services, new production companies, and the concept of “binge watching” have changed the modern television landscape. One thing’s still the same: great books are being made into TV shows! Keep reading to see the print versions of some of the most popular shows on today. Click on the cover to make a request, and learn what happens in the end  — maybe even before it airs. Which version do you think is better?

 

#Girlboss, by Sophia Amoruso

A Netflix show

Sophia Amoruso spent her teens hitchhiking, committing petty theft, and scrounging in dumpsters. By age 22 she had dropped out of school, and was broke, directionless, and checking IDs in the lobby of an art school. It was in that lobby that Sophia decided to start selling vintage clothes on eBay. Flash forward ten years, and she’s the founder and executive chairman of Nasty Gal, a $250-million-plus fashion retailer with more than 400 employees. Sophia was never a typical CEO, or a typical anything, and she’s written #GIRLBOSS for other girls like her: outsiders (and insiders) seeking a unique path to success. #GIRLBOSS proves that being successful isn’t about where you went to college or how popular you were in high school. It’s about trusting your instincts and following your gut; knowing which rules to follow and which to break; when to button up and when to let your freak flag fly. – (Adapted from book jacket)

The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood

A Hulu show

The Handmaid’s Tale is a novel of such power that the reader will be unable to forget its images and its forecast. Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States and is now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men in its population.

 

The story is told through the eyes of Offred, one of the unfortunate Handmaids under the new social order. In condensed but eloquent prose, by turns cool-eyed, tender, despairing, passionate, and wry, she reveals to us the dark corners behind the establishment’s calm facade, as certain tendencies now in existence are carried to their logical conclusions. The Handmaid’s Tale is funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing. It is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and a tour de force. It is Margaret Atwood at her best. – (Houghton)

American Gods, by Neil Gaiman

A Starz show

First published in 2001, American Gods became an instant classic, lauded for its brilliant synthesis of “mystery, satire, sex, horror, and poetic prose” (Washington Post) and as a modern phantasmagoria that “distills the essence of America” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer). It is the story of Shadow—released from prison just days after his wife and best friend are killed in an accident—who gets recruited to be bodyguard, driver, and errand boy for the enigmatic trickster Mr. Wednesday. So begins Shadow’s dark and strange road trip, one that introduces him to a host of eccentric characters whose fates are mysteriously intertwined with his own. For beneath the placid surface of everyday life, a storm is brewing—an epic war for the very soul of America—and Shadow is standing squarely in its path. – (HARPERCOLL)

Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery

Look for “Anne with an E” on Netflix

Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert of Green Gables had no intention of adopting the talkative, mischievous, red-headed girl the orphanage in Nova Scotia sent by mistake. What they wanted was a sturdy, sensible boy to help with the chores. Instead, they got eleven year-old Anne Shirley, whose capacity for adventure was only matched by her bright spirit and love of life. Still, there was something about the little girl that gave them second thoughts. She was keen of wit with a scintillating effervescence that was purely captivating. Just perhaps… – (Books in Motion)

 

 

Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty

An HBO show

It begins with a murder. It’s not clear who was killed, but it was definitely someone at the Audrey and Elvis Trivia Night fund-raiser at Piriwee Public School on the coast of Australia. Back up six months, to when Madeline Mackenzie celebrated her fortieth birthday with kindergarten orientation for her youngest daughter, Chloe. She runs into the gorgeous, if spacey, Celeste White and her twin boys; new kid Ziggy Chapman and his mom, shy, jumpy, Jane; and, unfortunately, her ex-husband and his New Age wife, Bonnie, and their daughter, Skye. When a little girl accuses Ziggy of choking her, the class moms begin to divide. As antibullying fervor escalates, Jane grows closer to Madeline, with whom she shares her terrible secret, and Celeste, who is hiding an insidious secret of her own, not that she will admit it. What starts as a send-up of suburban helicopter parenting turns darker as the pages flip by, building to a tense climax at Trivia Night, where one too many fizzy pink cocktails leads to . . . well, murder. Funny and thrilling, page-turning but with emotional depth, Big Little Lies is a terrific follow-up to The Husband’s Secret (2013). – (Booklist Reviews)

Th1rteen R3asons Why, by Jay Asher

A Netflix show

When Clay Jenson plays the cassette tapes he received in a mysterious package, he’s surprised to hear the voice of dead classmate Hannah Baker. He’s one of 13 people who receive Hannah’s story, which details the circumstances that led to her suicide. Clay spends the rest of the day and long into the night listening to Hannah’s voice and going to the locations she wants him to visit. The text alternates, sometimes quickly, between Hannah’s voice (italicized) and Clay’s thoughts as he listens to her words, which illuminate betrayals and secrets that demonstrate the consequences of even small actions. Hannah, herself, is not free from guilt, her own inaction having played a part in an accidental auto death and a rape. The message about how we treat one another, although sometimes heavy, makes for compelling reading. Give this to fans of Gail Giles psychological thrillers. – (Booklist Reviews)

A Series of Unfortunate Events, by Lemony Snicket

A Netflix show

The Baudelaire children Violet, 14, Klaus, 12, and baby Sunny are exceedingly ill-fated; Snicket extracts both humor and horror from their situation, as he gleefully puts them through one terrible ordeal after another. After receiving the news that their parents died in a fire, the three hapless orphans are delivered into the care of Count Olaf, who “is either a third cousin four times removed, or a fourth cousin three times removed.” The villainous Count Olaf is morally depraved and generally mean, and only takes in the downtrodden yet valiant children so that he can figure out a way to separate them from their considerable inheritance. The youngsters are able to escape his clutches at the end, but since this is the first installment in A Series of Unfortunate Events, there will be more ghastly doings. Written with old-fashioned flair, this fast-paced book is not for the squeamish: the Baudelaire children are truly sympathetic characters who encounter a multitude of distressing situations. Those who enjoy a little poison in their porridge will find it wicked good fun. – (Kirkus Reviews)

Midnight Crossroad, by Charlaine Harris

Look for “Midnight, Texas” on NBC

Welcome to Midnight, Texas, a town with many boarded-up windows and few full-time inhabitants, located at the crossing of Witch Light Road and Davy Road. It’s a pretty standard dried-up western town. There’s a pawnshop (someone lives in the basement and is seen only at night). There’s a diner (people who are just passing through tend not to linger). And there’s new resident Manfred Bernardo, who thinks he’s found the perfect place to work in private (and who has secrets of his own). Stop at the one traffic light in town, and everything looks normal. Stay awhile, and learn the truth. – (Baker & Taylor)

 

 

And don’t forget these books, which are behind long-running hit shows!