Since George du Maurier’s novel Trilby was made into the 1896 short film Trilby and Little Billee, the boundary between books and film has become increasingly fluid. And although book-to-film adaptations are a point of contention for many, most of history’s most celebrated books have a motion picture counterpart. Yet, as that “most” implies, some books, brilliant books rife with what could be visually stimulating content, have yet to see their name in the hot white lights of the movie theater marquee.
Here are our nominees for the silver screen:
10. Suttree by Cormac McCarthy — At once dramatic and comedic, and sprinkled with flashbacks enough to make it an intriguing film, this books wanders through the story of man who gave up his wealth for life as a fisherman on the Tennessee River.
9. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger — It’s hard to believe that this much revered novel, the tale of teenager Holden Caulfield’s angst and confusion, hasn’t yet been adapted for film.
8. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers — Although this novel was once slated to become a film, the project has since been dropped. So, we’re still waiting to see a visual recreation of this memoir, a document of Eggers’ attempts to start a magazine, raise a younger sibling, and come to terms with life after his parents’ death.
7. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris —Even though Sedaris declined follow through with making this book into a film, we still think a motion picture of this witty book, which speaks of Sedaris’ Raleigh-based childhood and years in Normandy, France, would have us laughing up a hurricane.
6. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig —This childhood delight, our favorite touching tale about an anthropomorphic donkey who finds a wish-granting stone, is a great candidate for claymation or Pixar.
5. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie — A telepathic narrator, other magically gifted kids, an newly independent India struggling to solidify its identity, delicious mango pickles – this book as all the fixing for cooking up one heck of a film.
4. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card — There’s been much anticipation surrounding a potential eponymous film for this novel, but it’s yet to happen. Nonetheless, this futuristic fragment of fiction, where hyper-talented young kids are trained to fight virtual aliens in an elaborate game, would surely be a hit if only it were finessed into a film.
3. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon — Reportedly a film ‘in development,’ we’ve yet to see an adaptation of this book mapped onto movie reels. There’s no doubt in our minds, however, that this can’t-put-it-down novel, which follows immigrant Joe Kavalier and his cousin Sam Clay through the jungle of comic book stardom, and even includes a scene with Salvador Dalí in a scuba suit, would be just as gripping on the screen as it is on the page.
2. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez — Imagine how great it would be to see this fantastical tale—dazzled with characters drawn up into the sky, dreams of mirror cities, and six generations’ worth of wonder—made into a movie?
1. The Giver by Lois Lowry — With a Wizard of Oz-like transition from black and white to color, spanned out over the story of a young boy facing the decision of whether or not to leave his ‘utopian’ society, this story would be incredible if done well as a film.
What are you feelings about making books into film? And, what do you think about making books into other forms of media — comic books, as done with Twilight, plays, as done with Wicked, or even the new book trailer trend?
Tell us your thoughts in the comments below, or spark a new literary conversation in our GoodReads group!