12 Books to Read Before You Watch Them on Screen

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We’re always on the lookout for good book recommendations, and our team regularly shares our favorites. With many movie and TV productions still on hold due to the pandemic, we may need to wait a little longer before we see some of these titles come to life on screen, which just gives you more time to read before you watch. We included books for you to enjoy after the kids are in bed and a few to consider reading with your kids before bed if they are a little bit older.

The majority of these books were also written by female authors with three of the productions (Little Fires Everywhere, Daisy Jones & the Six, and Where the Crawdads Sing) coming from Reese Witherspoon’s media company, Hello Sunshine, where their mission is to highlight women’s stories. A bibliophile herself, Witherspoon’s book club recommendations also helped launch the popularity of many of these titles.

Read on for a roundup of books to read before you watch them on the big or small screen.

Liane Moriarty

1. Nine Perfect Strangers

Series coming to Hulu in 2021.

Set at a remote health resort, this story brings together nine people ultimately deciding whether the resort is what they're looking for or if they should get out while they can.

Melissa McCarthy and Nicole Kidman will star in the series.

Sally Rooney

2. Normal People

Series currently streaming on Hulu.

When two very different people from the same small town, Connell and Marianne, strike up a conversation, they form an unlikely relationship that impacts their lives.

Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal star in the series.

A.J. Finn

3. The Woman in the Window

Coming to theaters soon.

A psychological thriller, Dr. Anna Fox befriends a neighbor who then disappears, and she suspects foul play.

Amy Adams, Julianne Moore, and Gary Oldman star.

Daphne du Maurier

4. Rebecca

Movie coming to Netflix October 21.

A favorite in my own book club, "Rebecca" is a romantic thriller where a marriage's past and present collide in disturbing ways.

Lily James and Armie Hammer star.

Paulette Jiles

5. News of the World

Coming to theaters this December.

Set after the Civil War, this historical fiction follows widower Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd as his life intersects with a young girl who has been kidnapped.

Tom Hanks stars.

Celeste Ng

6. Little Fires Everywhere

Series currently streaming on Hulu.

The privileged world of wife and mother Elena collides with the life of Mia, a transient artist and mom of one. Long-held secrets are uncovered in this page turner, now a series starring Reese Witherspoon as Elena and Kerry Washington as Mia.

Delia Owens

7. Where the Crawdads Sing

Coming to theaters soon.

Part murder mystery, part coming of age, this was the book of the summer last year, and we can wait to see it adapted to film by screenwriter Lucy Alibar.

Jenny Han

8. P.S. I Still Love You

Movie currently streaming on Netflix.

This sequel to the heartwarming "To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before" finds Lara Jean in another love conundrum.

Starring Lana Condor and Noah Centineo.

Taylor Jenkins Reid

9. Daisy Jones & the Six

Series coming to Amazon Prime Video soon.

A gripping novel about the rise of an iconic 1970s rock group and their beautiful lead singer, revealing the mystery behind their infamous breakup.

Riley Keough stars.


Books to Read With Your Kids

William Kamkwamba

10. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Movie currently streaming on Netflix.

The inspiring true story of William, a student in Malawi who overcomes fierce adversity to help his family and his community.

Stars Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Frances Hodgson Burnett

11. The Secret Garden

Movie currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

A sickly and spoiled Mary Lennox is sent to England after her parents' deaths to live with an old uncle. She learns of a secret garden in her new home and new friendships form.

Stars Dixie Egerickx and Colin Firth.

Roald Dahl

12. The Witches

Coming to theaters in 2021.

An orphaned boy and his grandmother try to spoil the evil plot of the witches who secretly live amongst us.

Stars Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci, and Chris Rock.


This article was originally published on April 25, 2020 and has been updated for timeliness. 


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