Small Screen Adaptations | Mechanics' Institute

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Small Screen Adaptations

It's been a stellar year for book-based television adaptations and readers are going to love this fall's exciting lineup of new shows and films. The current network trend toward bookshelf borrowing doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Your library stocks all these titles and more so you can read before you view. Tune in to see how well they translate to the small screen! 

All titles are available for checkout through Mechanics' Institute's To Go service or download through the library's website. Here's a glance at what's in store for fall:

The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock - Set in Ohio, this psychological thriller follows a cast of unsavory characters between World War II and the Vietnam War. Pollock's 2011 novel, adapted into a film by the same name, premiered on Netflix in September. 

An Event in Autumn by Henning Mankell - How did Sweden's top police inspector become such an opera-loving curmudgeon? Follow Kurt Wallander's early career in the Netflix prequel, Young Wallander that began airing in September. Since his creation in 1991, Wallander has been in more than a dozen books, a Swedish TV show and a British TV show starring Kenneth Branagh. Just a heads up, the new Netflix series has a twist: it is set in present day rather than the original 1970s setting from Mankell's novels. 

The Good Lord Bird by James McBride - In 1857, a young slave living in the Kansas Territory is swept up in the events leading up to the Harpers Ferry Raid of 1859. The show, starring Ethan Hawke as John Brown and Joshua Caleb Johnson as Henry, the teenage slave, airs in October on Showtime. Also available as a book on CD and as an Ebook

A Higher Loyalty by James Comey - FBI Director James Comey's memoir has been adapted into a TV miniseries entitled The Comey Rule. The series, starring Jeff Daniels as James Comey and Brendon Gleeson as President Donald Trump, premiered in September on Showtime. A Higher Loyalty is also available as a book on CD and as an Ebook

The Highway by C.J. Box - Two sisters traveling a remote stretch of Montana road vanish without a trace. The unsolved case piques the interest of former police investigator Cody Hoyt after he discovers that the two teenagers aren't the only ones who went missing on that gorgeous mountain highway. Adapted for a TV series, Big Sky premieres on ABC in November. 

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance - A former marine and Yale Law School graduate, J.D. Vance's memoir of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town takes a hard look at America's white working class for three generations of his Appalachian family. Directed by Ron Howard, the Netflix film by the same name is scheduled to be released in November. Also available as an ebook and as a book on CD.

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier - A whirlwind marriage to a wealthy widower and life in an isolated estate off the Cornish coast provide a haunting backdrop for the mysterious legacy of the first Mrs. De Winter. The question of how director Ben Wheatley will top Alfred Hitchcock's 1940 film will be answered when Netflix releases Rebecca in late October.

The Queen's Gambit by Walter Tevis - Finally, a series based on a female chess prodigy! Tevis' 1983 novel about an orphan who competes for the world championship will premiere on Netflix in October. Chess fans will rejoice and non-aficionados will be enchanted by the chess world.

The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe - This October, Wolfe's 1979 novel about the early days of the US space program and the seven military pilots who made it happen will air as a miniseries on Disney+. The series follows the crew from their spacecraft tests in the Mojave Desert to orbiting around the Earth. This isn't the first adaptation for the Right Stuff. Wolfe's book was previously adapted as a film by the same name in 1983, also available on DVD.

Sand Castles by Nicholas Freeling - Amsterdam is the backdrop for Dutch detective Peter Van der Valk's cases. Freeling's Van der Valk mystery series provided the inspiration for the original TV series that ran in Great Britain from 1972-1992. The new series, entitled Van der Valk and starring Marc Warren, began airing in September on PBS.  

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James - Loosely based on James' 1898 ghost story about a governess caring for two orphaned children in their uncle's English country home, The Haunting of Bly Manor miniseries premieres on Netflix in October. In addition to the digital audiobook, the print edition and a book on CD are also available for checkout. 

You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz - Successful therapist Grace Sachs authors a book castigating women for not valuing their intuition regarding men. But in weeks before the book launches, her husband goes missing, a string of terrible revelations unfolds to reveal that Grace has not heeded her own advice. Also available as a downloadable audiobook. The miniseries based on Korelitz' novel is called The Undoing and premieres on HBO in October. 

A Wilderness of Error by Errol Morris - Based on Morris' true crime novel, this docu-series examines the 1970 case of Jeffrey MacDonald, a high-profile Army doctor accused of killing his wife and two daughters. Although MacDonald went to prison in 1979, it remains uncertain as to whether he was wrongly convicted. The five-part series, directed by Marc Sperling, premiered on FX Network in September.


Posted on Oct. 1, 2020 by Celeste Steward