Some films are so popular, so wildly successful, and so masterful in their artistry that the fact that they are adaptations of books is overlooked or forgotten. Here are six books you should read because you love the movie already.
1. The Help (2009)
The 2011 film adaptation of this novel is incredibly faithful to its source material, but even if you’ve just watched the film, you’ll still find it hard to put down this engrossing page turner from Kathryn Stockett. Fun fact: Stockett’s friend Octavia Spencer inspired the character of Minny. Spencer went on to read the role of Minny in the audiobook, and then play her in the film, winning an Oscar for the role.
2. To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)
The film adaptation of this modern American classic is wonderful, but the book upon which it is based is spectacular. Harper Lee based the story on her own family, neighbours, and an event from when she was just a child. The book won the Pulitzer Prize and was ranked ahead of the Bible as a book every adult should read before they die. So there are your marching orders.
3. Fight Club (1996)
Though the film is a cult classic, especially among the disillusioned youth who championed it upon its release and in the years since, the original source material for Fight Club deserves more attention than it gets. Written by controversial novelist Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club is subversive, violent, and delightfully creepy. Give it a go.
4. The Devil Wears Prada (2003)
Like the film it inspired, this is a great read that doesn’t require a lot of heavy lifting on the part of the audience. Just sit there and watch the delightfully wacky and mildly horrifying antics of magazine editor Miranda Priestly (the eponymous Devil) as she terrorises her assistants and the fashion world at large.
5. The Silence of the Lambs (1988)
Did you know that this Oscar-winning classic of modern thriller is actually based on a sequel? Thomas Harris followed up his 1981 novel, Red Dragon, with The Silence of the Lambs in 1988, and it was adapted with great success in 1991. But don’t let Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster be the only things you remember about this story – read the book to get the full story and enjoy new facets of the characters you already love.
6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (1999)
This coming-of-age classic from Stephen Chbosky follows 15-year-old Charlie through his first year of high school in a suburb of Pittsburgh. Purists need not worry if they read the book or watch the film first, as it was beautifully adapted in 2012, scripted and directed by Chbosky himself.
What is your favourite film adaptation of all time?
This article was written in partnership with Over60.