Do you prefer to read the book first, or dive in after you’ve watched the adaptation?
Dune by Frank Herbert
Before The Matrix, before Star Wars, before Ender’s Game and Neuromancer, there was Dune: winner of the prestigious Hugo and Nebula awards, and widely considered one of the greatest science fiction novels ever written. The recent 2021 film isn’t the only adaptation of Dune – it was also made for screen in 1984 directed by David Lynch.
It’s also a wide spanning series, with six novels by original author Frank Herbert, and continued by others after his death. Graphic novel adaptations, too!
(And yes, sorry, we probably only have the film version available as the other one is reprinting.)
The Eye of the World: The Wheel of Time Book 1 by Robert Jordan
The inspiration behind the new Prime series, The Wheel of Time is actually part of a huge series totalling around 14 books written by both Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Station Eleven is a dystopian, post-apocalyptic story of survival – but also about the enduring nature of music, art, and hope.
Given that it is set partially before and mostly in the years after a disastrous pandemic, it’s no surprise that HBO chose to adapt it. We haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, but are huge fans of the book!
The Witcher by Andrzej Sapowski
The Witcher isn’t exactly new to adaptation – there has already been a series of video games and one series of the Netflix show. But series two has just dropped on Netflix (along with some other Witcher-universe shorts) which seems to be mainly story from Blood of Elves, the first novel in the series. (If you aren’t counting the prequel The Last Wish, which is a collection of short stories before Blood of Elves is set.)
The true reading chronology is: The Last Wish, Sword of Destiny, Blood of Elves, Time of Contempt, Baptism of Fire, The Tower and the Swallow, The Lady of the Lake, Season of Storms.
This will be updated when The Last Wish becomes available again — but why not dive right in with the first full novel?
Fire and Blood by George RR Martin
Of course, we could have stuck Game of Thrones on this list and made do, but Fire and Blood is the inspiration for new HBO series The House of the Dragon.
Set centuries before the events in A Game of Thrones unfold, it tells the story of the bloody history of Westeros and how the battle for the Iron Throne began.
(Plus, some of it was filmed here in Cornwall?!)
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Is there anyone left who hasn’t read Crawdads yet? This book was an incredible unexpected hit when it came out, and is in the works to be made into a film, starring Daisy Edgar-Jones of Normal People adaptation fame.
Have we missed your favourite? What would you add?
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