Books to Read Before They Hit the Screen in 2016

hit the screen in 2016 square

Just like last year, it’s time for a preview of all the books we’ll see destroyed by films this year. I’m just kidding, you guys, I’m sure some of them will be decent adaptations. We did get Wolf Hall, after all. But since we’re still waiting on several movies that were supposed to grace us in 2015 (I’m looking at you, Americanah), cross your fingers and take these with a grain of salt. Add some additional hope for The Wife because I can’t believe it’s actually happening.


The Girl on the Train

Book by Paula Hawkins

Director: Tate Taylor
Stars: Rebecca Ferguson, Emily Blunt, Justin Theroux


A Monster Calls

Book by Patrick Ness

Director: J.A. Bayona
Stars: Liam Neeson, Felicity Jones, Sigourney Weaver |


Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

Book by Ben Fountain

Director: Ang Lee
Stars: Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Vin Diesel


Brain On Fire

Book by Susannah Cahalan

Director: Gerard Barrett
Stars: Chloë Grace Moretz, Carrie-Anne Moss


The Yellow Birds

Book by Kevin Powers

Director: Alexandre Moors
Stars: Jennifer Aniston, Tye Sheridan, Jack Huston


The Wife

Book by Meg Wolitzer

Director: Bjorn Runge
Stars: Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce, Frances McDormand


The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving

Book by Jonathan Evison

Director: Rob Burnett
Stars: Paul Rudd, Selena Gomez

Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving Movie

The Lost City of Z

Book by David Grann

Director:James Gray
Stars:Charlie Hunnam, Tom Holland, Sienna Miller



Book by Laurent Binet

Director: Cédric Jimenez
Stars: Rosamund Pike, Mia Wasikowska


The Circle

Book by Dave Eggers

Director: James Ponsoldt
Stars: John Boyega, Emma Watson, Tom Hanks


The Zookeeper’s Wife

Book by Diane Ackerman

Director: Niki Caro
Stars: Jessica Chastain, Daniel Brühl, Iddo Goldberg



Book by A. Scott Berg (Max Perkins: Editor of Genius)

Director: Michael Grandage
Stars: Jude Law, Laura Linney, Colin Firth



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  • Rachelia (Bookish Comforts)

    I’m curious to see how The Girl on the Train will adapt to the big screen – for me the format is what immediately drew me in, and the use of an unreliable narrator.

    • I’m interested as well, although it has already fallen to one of my pet peeves. It is going to be set in NYC and not London. It really irks me when books that are set in another country are transplanted to the US for the movie. Sigh!

  • Oooh, my reading list just got (even) longer!

  • Brain on Fire as a movie? Loved that book so hard. I tend to steer clear of anything Jennifer Aniston is in, but maybe Yellow Birds will be ok? Maybe?

    • I LOVED The Yellow Birds, so I’m a little excited and scared about the movie. Jennifer Aniston has done pretty well in darker indie movies, so I’m hoping she can take on more of that in this one.

  • Wow! I had no idea Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk was going to be a film this year! I can’t say that I’m super-thrilled about the casting, but I’ll reserve judgment. I’ve really been wanting to read Brain on Fire; this gives me an extra push. :) Thanks so much for sharing these, Shannon!

    • Yeah, the casting is a little strange, but I’m excited about Ang Lee directing – here’s hoping it turns out good!

  • I enjoyed The Girl on the Train so I can’t wait for the movie. However, I’m fully expecting to be disappointed because when my beloved Gone Girl was made into the movie it didn’t nail the ending and I feel like watching the movie gives you a different experience than reading the book.

    • I still haven’t read The Girl on the Train, but endings can be so important (and it seems like movies have had such a hard time nailing them lately!).

  • Wesley

    I had a small breakdown when I saw HHHH was going to be a movie. That is one of my favorite books ever, so that breakdown was unavoidable. It got worse then I saw that the Christian Grey guy is going to be one of the heroes…..

    • That’s the book from this list I’m pretty determined to get to before the movie comes out, though that casting is a little concerning.

  • The Wife!? I just can’t even.

  • Rebecca Foster

    Ooh, I didn’t know about a single one of these! I’ve read and enjoyed five of the books so will be interested to see what the movies are like, especially HHhH.

  • The Wife?!! Wow – will have to check that out for sure! And Brain on Fire with Carrie Anne Moss of Models, Inc fame?! Yes, I loved that trashy show years ago. You also mentioned a few books I read years ago – Halftime Walk and HHhH. Had no idea all these were heading to the big screen!

  • What an interesting mix. Curiously, I’m almost as interested in seeing the adaptations of the books I didn’t like/hated than those I enjoyed. Further evidence of curmudgeonry, I suppose.

    • I’m TOTALLY with you. I’m a bit of a film junkie, so I always hope books I don’t like will just translate better.

      • Very funny. I suppose especially when a book was beloved (Billy Lynn, which I tried twice in tree book form and finally trudged through on audio and truly disliked to my core) I hope that I was just missing something that will come through on film. Curious to see if the movie does away with the many annoying parts of Girl on the Train and unmishandles (a word now) the whole alcoholism bit. Just so you know I’m not totally heartless, super excited about The Wife and Yellow Birds.

        • So glad to know I’m not alone with Billy Lynn because I just did not love it (and it was acquired/edited by my girl Lee B., so I SHOULD HAVE).

        • Agreed with you on hopes for Girl on the Train! I was meh on it as a story, but I could see it translating super well into a film, given they don’t continue to botch the whole substance abuse thing.

  • The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving was one of my favorite books of 2012! I don’t know about the film, though.

  • How totally weird to do an adaptation of HHhH! I can hardly think of a book that’s so fundamentally a book. I guess the assassination story is a fascinating one on its own, and anyway I hope it’ll bring more attention to HHhH, a vastly underappreciated book that did not go far enough in its Tournament of Books year. ALAS.

    Also, thanks for reminding me about the adaptation of Wolf Hall! I just read (and loved) the book, and I love Mark Rylance anyway, so I’m excited to see the miniseries.

    • Care

      See!? I have had HHhH on my list for far too long, I guess.

  • It makes me super nervous when books I love are adapted. Hello, A Monster Calls and The Wife. We’ll see how it all shakes out.

  • Sounds like the push I need to read The Girl on the Train, Brain on Fire, and the Wife! :)

  • Ooh, what a roundup! Maybe this will push me to try Eggers for the third time. I’ve tried two others of his (Heartbreaking Work and What is the What), but neither stuck. :/ Do you have a favorite?

  • Very cool. Thanks for the List. Who knew they’d get on the big screen?! Great to know

  • Love that you put this list together! Will be checking out some of these books :)

  • The Lost City of Z was an awesome book! And I loved The Zookeeper’s Wife, which was a Literary Wives read! Both of those might be a bit tricky to bring to the screen, but they could both be successful, in my opinion. Have yet to read an Eggers, but that casting alone makes me want to read The Circle now! The Yellow Birds and the Wife I have been wanting to read. A Monster Calls–maybe. I can see The Girl on the Train being easily adapted to the big screen. (I liked this book–didn’t love it, feeling there are many others with better writing/suspense overall.) Cool list! Thanks for alerting us all!

  • Care

    NOooooooo! There’s no way I am going to be able to read all these books. Sigh. I knew I shouldn’t have clicked on this post. Damn.

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  • So Kristen Stewart was cast in Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk… I don’t know what to say about that. I’m quite underwhelmed.

  • Ang Lee doing Billy Lynn?! That could be stunning and Garrett Hedlund is a strong choice as well. I’m with Rory on Kristin Stewart- meh.

    And Brain on Fire?! Wow, a non-fiction pick. Could be good or could go Hollywood schmaltzfest.

  • Nishita

    Actually quite looking forward to seeing Girl on the Train. I love Emily Blunt!