Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Top 10 Tuesday: Books I'd like to see made into movies

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

 Whenever I hear a book I know or love is being made into a film I instantly feel a mix of joy and dread. More often than not the film adaptation just doesn't cut it, and it isn't surprising considering how much internal narration and detail you can have in a book compared to a film. That said there are some fantastic adaptations, some which stick very close to the text and others which stray from the novel's storyline yet holds strongly to the characters and themes, which can work just as well. So here are 10 books in my bookcase that I think would work quite well on the big screen, in no particular order.

1. Sleeping Dogs by Sonya Hartnett

Sleeping Dogs is one of the early novels by renowned Australian author Sonya Hartnett, and a favourite of mine. I know a lot of participants of 'Top 10 Tues' are on the other side of the world, so I'm not sure how much you all know about Australian films and novels, but there is quite a culture of dark and depressing stories over here across the mediums. Public perception may be of Australians as laid-back beach-goers but our best films and novels are bleak, a reflection of our isolation from the rest of the world and the wildness of the nature that still abounds in this country. Sleeping Dogs fits into this area perfectly, there is an absolute absence of hope and the starkness of the surrounds are beautifully described by Hartnett and beautifully reflect the status of the characters in the story. A fantastic read that could be, I think, a fantastic film.

2. The Pact by Jodi Picoult

I'm not a big fan of Jodi Picoult, I find her books fairly repeatative, but this was the first of her books I ever read, so I've always held it above all the rest. A darker interpretation of teenage love than you usually see I think this is the kind of story that would transfer really well onto screen.

3. Four Fires by Bryce Courtenay
This is my favourite of Courtenay's works, an South African/Australian author probably best known in the States as the author of The Power of One. It probably wouldn't translate too well into film because it covers a large Australian-Irish family over two or three decades and tells each of their stories in intense detail (the book weighs in at about 800 pages) but I think it'd make a fantastic mini-series. The book deals with some very Australian and very period issues which may make it difficult to translate over to overseas audiences, but the richness of the narrative and the complexity of every single character in the story would make for a very compelling watch.

4. The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs by Irvine Welsh

Unlike the intense film Trainspotting, which was another Welsh novel, Bedroom Secrets would be absolutely hilarious in film form. It'd never be a Hollywood blockbuster, but as a much more tongue in cheek novel by the Scottish author I think this would be the kind of depraved comedy that quickly becomes a cult favourite.

5. I am Legend by Richard Matheson

The best dystopian and vampire novel ever written (in my opinion) and the birthplace of the modern zombie there is no way this couldn't make a killer film. Yes I am aware that this is already in film form (three times I believe, the latest being that shocker with Will Smith) but it has never been filmed in a way that does the novel justice. For instance, the Will Smith adaptation butchered the novel, completely sacrificing the central message of the novel for a more general, blockbuster appeal. This comes close to the top of my list of favourite novels, and it could make an amazing film if they don't sacrifice the guts of the novel for a more Hollywood-appropriate narrative.
**Just saw on IMDB.com that they're planning an I am Legend prequel for 2013. I'm slightly horrified so I'll refrain from commenting**

5. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'engle

This was a favourite novel of mine growing up and my introduction into the world of sci-fi. The storyline is complex and interesting and with a series of books that followed it, there is always room for sequels (gotta keep the Hollywood big-shots happy!). I think it'd be the kind of movie that'd appeal both to the children it is aimed at and the parents who tag along, because I know that as I've re-read it at an older age I've appreciated it for much different reasons. It was actually released as a tele-movie a few years back with the kid from The Ring in it as Charles but I never saw it and as a rule of thumb made for TV movies tend to suck majorly. It is actually planned for production in 2013 according to IMDB so I'm going to eagerly await the release of it and follow as the information about casting and what not slowly drips out to the public.

6. Handling the Undead by John Ajvide Lindqvist

After the success (not necessarily box office success but audience enjoyment success) of both the Swedish and American releases of Lindqvist's first novel Let the Right One in Lindqvist once again manages to completely turn a genre on it's head. This novel didn't impact me the same way Let the Right One in did, and the issue of multi-pov may be an problem, but his unique use of zombies in this novel could make for a spectacular bit of film. I think it'd be quite artsy and experimental in order to successfully portray the novel, so I doubt many people would be into it, and traditional zombie fans may also shy away from it's lack of Romero-esque zombies, but it'd be an experiment i'd be happy to witness.

7. The Secret History by Donna Tartt

I'm surprised this hasn't yet been made into a film, it has all the right elements for a successful thriller/mystery, a rich setting and possibility for a dynamite cast of young, intelligent actors. I can't remember when the book is set, whether it's a period piece or if that's just how I remember it because of the nature of the events but either way, let's see it on film!

8. The Lives of Christopher Chant by Diana Wynne Jones

Any of the Chrestomanci series could make fantastic films, but this one has always been my favourite. If done well, magical worlds can be fantastic in live action but I think I'd rather see this as an anime like Howl's Moving Castle especially if Miyazaki got on board because his ethereal and eccentric artistic style goes fabulously with Jone's stories.

9. His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman

The Golden Compass was already released as a film but because of the filmmaker's fear of retribution by all the religious folk out there it didn't shine as it should have. Equally disappointing was their decision not to complete the trilogy. No one else will touch these novels, because no one wants the Catholic church and Christian groups breathing down their necks, which is a real shame because they are wonderful books that would translate amazingly to film if left alone. Maybe in a decade or two the climate will allow for a director to have a shot, or perhaps it simply needs to be less of a Hollywood production. Either way I'd love to one day see the complete journey of Lyra as depicted in the books up on screen.

10. The Five Fists of Science by Matt Fraction

An interesting depiction of some of America's best known scientific and literary characters against a backdrop of war and devastation it'd be fun, fresh and something else beginning with F. It's only a short graphic novel so it'd either have to be extended by the scriptwriters or made specifically into a short film but I could see this gracing our screens in an animation style similar to that of the graphic novel.

That was harder than I thought. Peering through my bookshelves I didn't realise just how many books have actually made it onto the screen in some form or another. I'm looking forward to reading everyone else's lists. What do you want to see on screen, or is there anything you especially want to see kept away from the screen?


  1. I'm with you on His Dark Materials, and in my comment on another blog I said basically the same thing as you just did about it, lol. While we live in such a Christian-influenced - or at least, Christian-majority - society, I doubt we'll ever see a truly faithful adaptation. But like you said, perhaps in time that all could change.

  2. I would love to see a Wrinkle in Time made into a great movie. There is one that was made a long time ago mainly for school usage but it did not do it justice. Pullman's Dark Materials would also be an amazing movie!

  3. I think A Wrinkle in Time would make a fantastic movie.

    As for the His Dark Materials trilogy, when I hear they weren't going to finish the series but just eave off after the first book, I decided not to see the film. I hope someone else picks it up and does it right, because it is wonderfully cinematic.

  4. The rest of the His Dark Materials trilogy made my list too. I wished the controversy surrounding the first movie would've just been left alone so that it wouldn't have affected box office sales and thus affect the likelihood of the other two being made into movies. I'm so disappointed.

  5. That's interesting what you said about I am Legend. I'd heard that before and now I'm really curious about getting my hands on the book.

  6. Do! It's a fantastic book and it really stays with you

  7. Yes, it's really a shame we probably won't be seeing a proper adaptation of His Dark Materials anytime soon. They're such wonderful books unfortunately overshadowed by controversy.

    I'd love to see A Wrinkle in Time, and I like your point about Jodi Picoult - you really can't read too many of her books before getting sick of their formulaic nature, but The Pact is good and would be an interesting film.



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