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Reading List Based on This Season’s Shows

Reading List Based on This Season’s Shows

The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin

David Benioff and D.B. Weiss turned to the Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy to help create their highly anticipated follow-up to Game of Thrones. Alongside Alexander Woo, they worked to parse a TV audience-friendly narrative from the popular, if scientifically dense, odyssey about an encounter with an alien civilization looking for a new and viable planet.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

The author of six novels, Doerr won the Pulitzer Prize for his 2014 novel about two teenagers on opposite sides of World War II. The Netflix miniseries — which also follows the tandem stories of Werner, the orphan forced to enlist as a Nazi soldier, and Marie-Laure, a blind girl sending radio broadcasts for the Allied soldiers — has garnered criticism for its relative dreariness, but its source material is full of hope and, of course, light.

Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty

Apples is Moriarty’s third novel to make its way to the screen (after Big Little Lies and Nine Perfect Strangers). Like its predecessors, it follows a complicated female protagonist who teeters on the edge of antagonist status. This time, Annette Bening steps in to portray Joy Delaney, a tennis matriarch gone missing. Unlike its predecessors, Apples doesn’t expand the story beyond the book.

The Expatriates by Janice Y.K. Lee

Director Lulu Wang turned to this title for what became her Prime Video miniseries starring Nicole Kidman — she of many adaptations! — as a mother struggling through life in Hong Kong in the aftermath of her young son’s disappearance.

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Given the perennial popularity of Towles’ 2016 novel about a Russian aristocrat sentenced to house arrest in a hotel (it’s sold over 2 million copies and counting), the television adaptation — starring Ewan McGregor — feels like it’s been a long time coming.

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Star and executive producer Brie Larson optioned the rights to Garmus’ debut novel back in 2019, three years before it hit shelves. Buzz over the then-pending Apple miniseries likely contributed to the book’s best-seller status, but audiences also fell in love with the character Elizabeth Zott, a chemist turned cooking show host.

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

Netflix’s black-and-white project starring Andrew Scott and Dakota Fanning is both a remake of the 1999 Anthony Minghella film and an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s famed thriller. The prolific author wrote 22 novels, which have become the source material for more than two dozen film and television projects and counting.

Shogun by James Clavell

The FX series showcasing real events in 1600s Japan is based on the 1975 historical fiction novel of the same title — which was first adapted into an NBC miniseries in 1980. Both earlier versions are worth a perusal, revealing how the new telling shifts from a Eurocentric perspective to one that focuses on the experience of the Japanese.

See Also

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

If you liked the Max series, in which Robert Downey Jr. plays four characters, wait until you read the original work. Nguyen, who won the Pulitzer Prize, uses an anonymous dual-identity narrator and effects from multiple literary genres to craft a breathtaking tale about a North Vietnamese mole in the South Vietnamese army who escapes to America after the fall of Saigon.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

Morris, who originally envisioned her novel as a screenplay, created the story after interviewing Holocaust survivor Ludwig Sokolov, who was forced into tattooing the numbers onto his fellow prisoners at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. The Peacock series, starring Jonah Hauer-King as Sokolov, premiered May 2.

This story first appeared in a June standalone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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