When it comes to screen adaptations of novels, it’s often a hit or miss. The Harry Potter films are considered to rival the books, depending on who you ask, and yet the Percy Jackson films are not to be spoken of. The Twilight films are cult classics, perhaps surpassing the book's popularity, and yet others have tried and failed to match this success.
Most recently, the Hulu adaptation of Normal People was so popular that some even claim it was better than the original novel - but don’t tell Sally Rooney! I don’t know if I’d go as far as to say that, given how incredible the book is, but I do think it highlights how a series format provides creators with the space to do an adaptation justice. It gives them enough time to properly explore a story and keep everything fans loved about the original.
So we’re going to stay positive about these seven upcoming books to screen adaptations, many of which will be released in 2022!
Recent years have seen a huge spike in Greek myth adaptations, including Song of Achilleas and Circe by Madeline Miller. Whilst the former gained more traction, it’s Circe that we’ll be soon seeing on our screens.
Circe aims to retell the story of this infamous Greek goddess and witch, who is most commonly portrayed as a villain. It’s a remarkable book, as almost the entirety of it takes place on one island with Circe on her own, and yet it is fascinating. It focuses on Circe embracing her own powers and leaning into who she really is.
It’s being made into an eight-episode drama series for HBO Max, and Sarah Aubrey of HBO described it as “an epic story of love, loss tragedy and immortal conflict, all through the eyes of a fierce female lens.”
No release date has been confirmed.
I talk a lot about Taylor Jenkins Reid, and more specifically Daisy Jones and the Six. I’m a big fan and devoured this novel during one long flight to Australia. It tells the story of the rise and fall of a fictional rock band in the 1970s, which is rumoured to be based on Fleetwood Mac. It’s formatted almost like a documentary, in an interview style.
It has everything we love in a book or series, including sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll, misunderstandings and drama. It’s both addictive and complex, and the book is filled with original songs.
Prime Video will be releasing Daisy Jones and the Six. There is no firm release date but it might even be in 2022! The cast is star-studded and includes Riley Keough, Sam Claflin, Suki Waterhouse and Camila Morrone. The music will play a central role in the show, as it does in the book, and according to Rolling Stone, Phoebe Bridgers will be working on the soundtrack.
Hulu is tackling their second Sally Rooney novel, and adapting Conversations With Friends into a limited series. This is actually Rooney’s debut novel, although Normal People is what really drove her to critical acclaim.
Conversations With Friends is also set in Ireland, and focuses on Frances and her best friend Bobbi. They meet a couple, Nick and Melissa, and quickly form an unusual friendship with them, enthralled by their glitzy lifestyle. Nick and Frances begin an affair, which starts flirtatious before becoming painfully intimate.
This series should be released in May, 2022. It will star Joe Alwyn, Sasha Lane, Jemima Kirke and Alison Oliver.
It’s hard to pinpoint which of Taylor Jenkin Reid’s novels is the most popular. But if you’re going by their social media presence, then Evelyn Hugo certainly takes the lead. It was also one of the first novels by Taylor to really gain attention and hit the bestseller lists.
The novel centres around an iconic yet reclusive Hollywood legend, Evelyn Hugo. She is finally ready to tell her story and has chosen Monique Grant, a seemingly unknown magazine reporter. Evelyn takes her through her life, including each of her seven husbands, in an enthralling story about old Hollywood.
Netflix will be adapting The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo into a film, and it’ll be written by Liz Tigelaar, who also adapted Little Fires Everywhere. No word on casting yet, although Tiktok has very firm beliefs about who should be in each role…
Perhaps you loved the Percy Jackson series as a young adult, or perhaps you’re like me who discovered it in recent years. Percy Jackson was first adapted into two films in 2010 and 2013, but these were not well-received, particularly by fans of the books.
Fans have been waiting a long time for a redo, as the novels really are perfect for a screen adaptation, and their time is coming! Disney will be producing a series for the books, which is a much better fit as they’re too packed for a single film. The author, Rick Riordan, is heavily involved with this adaptation as opposed to the films, and frequently updates fans on the progress.
The books are geared at young adults and focus on children who have one Greek god for a parent. One of these is Percy Jackson, the son of Poseidon and narrator. They tackle quests, monsters and more, combining the modern world will Greek mythology. They’re super enjoyable to read, with great characters and storylines. I really recommend them for any fans of Greek mythology - no matter your age!
There is no confirmed release date, but it’s likely that it will be 2023 at the earliest. Casting has not been announced yet either. But we do know that the first season will have eight episodes.
Naoise Dolan is often compared to fellow Irish writer, Sally Rooney, and her debut novel ‘Exciting Times’ was well-received. It explores a complicated love triangle between Ava, Julian and Edith, set in Hong Kong. It’s about identity as much as relationships, and questions commitment, power and privilege. It’s a very astute novel with a similar style of prose to Rooney.
Exciting Times will be on Prime Video, and there is no release date for the series yet, but Phoebe Dynevor has been confirmed for the lead. You might recognise Phoebe from her regal role as Daphne in Bridgerton.
The only non-fiction book on the list, but certainly not one to be missed! Dolly Alderton’s ‘real girl’ memoir was released in 2018 to great reviews. It discusses her younger years, as she navigates friendship, love, identity and more.
BBC One has picked up this memoir and is creating a seven-part adaptation, loosely based on the memoir. It will be more fictionalised, and focus on Maggie and Birdy, best friends living in London and navigating their twenties.
Emma Appleton and Bel Powley were cast as the lead roles. It will be set in 2012, and filming wrapped last December. We don’t have a fixed release date, but it’s looking like we can expect to see this series in 2022!
What an exciting year of television and film we have to look forward to! There’s still enough time to dust off your copies, or head to your local bookshop, and read these great books. I personally love reading a book before I see it adapted, as this allows me to form my own image of a character. But others prefer to watch enthralled, and see the story play out visually.
What do you prefer: read it first or watch it happen?
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Welcome to Symptoms of Living! A place where I like to relieve myself of the barrage of thoughts and ideas filling my mind. Here I'll take a look at various topics, from books to BPD, series to self-harm, there's nothing that we can't, and shouldn't, talk about.
Having struggled with mental illness since the age of 15, one of the hardest parts was how alone I felt in it. While mental illness is beginning to be discussed more openly, and featured in the media, I still think there is room for improvement. So whether it is mental illness or merely mental health, a bad day or a bad year, let's make this a place to approach it and strip it back. Everyone has their own symptoms of living, and you certainly won't be the only one with it.
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