Top Ten Books That Would Make Good Movies

It’s Top Ten Tuesday time at The Broke and the Bookish, and this week’s question is, what ten books would we like to see made into movies?  This is a difficult question for me to answer, because when I love a book I don’t want to see it made into a movie.  Movies at best are a good version of the book, and at worst they seriously interfere with how you view the book.  Even in a good adaptation, your vision of a character becomes replaced by an actor.  Someday I’ll write up my list of worst-ever movie adaptations of books, but that’s not the question at hand.

So I gave some thought to what I’ve read that would adapt well into movies.  I think fantasy novels are better left alone — unless you have the budget and star power of the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter movies, it’s very hard to pull off.  I would hate to see the Mercy Thompson or Kate Daniels books made into films.  Have you seen what they did to the Dresden Files?  Horrible.  If you can’t do magic well, don’t do it.

I think the steampunk books would make better films — the effects would be much more manageable and you get to combine them with cool turn of the century costumes.  Scott Westerberg’s Leviathan series would make good movies, as would Paulo Bacigalupi’s Ship Breaker or Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker.

Classic literature makes for good movies, especially if it’s a British production.  I liked a recent version of Sherlock Holmes I saw on BBC.  I’d like to see newly-imagined movie versions of The Woman in White and A Pair of Blue Eyes.

Historical fiction also makes for great movies, so I’d like to see Julie Orringer’s Invisible Bridge as a movie.  Her book, set in World War II in Hungary, was great but slow at times, and a movie could strengthen that.  The Shadow of the Wind would also be a great movie, if not made already.  It’s so dark and visual.

One Day by David Nicholls could be a good movie, and is already being made with Anne Hathaway.  So not sure that counts.  I think all of Jonathan Tropper’s books could make good movies, if done well, since his books almost read as if you’re watching a movie.  Stephen King is the same way.

One person who writes beautiful fiction that could be turned into great movies, is Maggie O’Farrell.  I’ve loved all three of the books I read by her.  Her writing is powerful and emotional and dramatic.  Helen Simonson’s Major Pettigrew Takes a Stand could also be a good movie, with the right casting and good writing.  The Scotland series by Alexander McCall Smith would probably make a great movie or minseries, kind of in the vein of the Tales of the City series.

In the end, I’m wary of any movie or TV version of a book I loved.  There are some great movie adaptations, but there are many more weak or truly bad ones.   So I don’t really want any of my favorite books to be made into movies.

  2 comments for “Top Ten Books That Would Make Good Movies

  1. April 13, 2011 at 9:05 am

    I forgot about Tropper but I do think his books would make for a successful movie. I agree that they read like one, but as I’ve seen with King, sometimes those can go very wrong

  2. April 13, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    There are some books and authors who, rather than thinking that their books could be made into good films, I find myself thinking, “Huh. This might have been better as a movie.” These are books that have somewhat clunky writing but strong characterization and a clear plot.

    Then there are books that are obviously going to be made into movies, whether or not they would translate well onto screen. I’ll be honest – these days it seems like every popular book makes it to the theaters. This means a lot of bad adaptations. It’s rather disappointing…

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