Reading Between the Reels: Upcoming Screen Adaptations of Books

This year seems to be a good one for book to screen adaptations. While we bookworms like to complain loudly about the discrepancies between the page and screen we are always a little bit excited to see written stories take on cinematic life. The complaints and yes, praise, come afterwards, of course. Gathered below for your reading pleasure are some of the book titles that will soon be coming to a screen near you.

Hidden Figures adapted from Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

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Audiences the world over are becoming star struck with Hidden Figures. It’s a biographical film  about three African American women –  Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson – who played an important part in the Space Race, albeit behind the scenes. The film takes its inspiration from the biographical novel of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly.

Starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae in the leading roles, the film examines the barriers that these scientists overcame in order to do what they were trained for. They were known as the human computers, and they contributed to the vital equations that made it possible to launch John Glenn into orbit. If you’re curious about their story, then check out Shetterly’s biography.

Lion adapted from A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley

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Starring Dev Patel, Lion is the new film about reconnecting with your past and rebuilding lost relationships. Patel plays Saroo Brierley, a man who was tragically separated from his family at the age of five. Years later, after having been adopted by Australian parents, he has created a life for himself, a world away from the world he used to know.

However, having always wondered about his Indian family, he retraces the paths in his memories, and, with the help of Google Earth, sets off on a hopeful journey. A Long Way Home recounts Brierley’s journey in harrowing and poignant detail, and is a must read for fans of heartwarming, real life stories.

Ghost in the Shell adapted from the Ghost in the Shell manga series by Masamune Shirow


This is an upcoming science fiction film starring Scarlett Johansson. Based on the Japanese cyberpunk manga series, this adaptation created quite an uproar over its casting of Johansson as the Japanese protagonist, Motoko Kusanagi. While it’s great that directors are choosing to adapt diverse stories to the screen, there’s something to be said for sticking to the source material when it comes to such major aspects as the protagonist’s identity.

Motoko is part of the organisation known as Public Security Section 9, spearheading the fight against cyber-terrorism in a futuristic Japan. This manga series is renowned for its examination of technology, having debuted during Japan’s technological boom. With its ruthless examination of technology’s influence over society and the individual, it’s no surprise that this series has achieved cult classic-dom. If you’re interested in the interplay of technology and identity with a dash of dystopian sci-fi, then check out this manga series.

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Faustina Paustin Faustina was reading when she popped out of the womb. Probably. Reading is her life, and she’ll read pretty much anything. After reading her way through primary, high school, and university, and finding she hasn’t gotten sick of it, she’s still reading now. Her favourite genres are YA, realist fiction, and magical realist fiction, with a strong focus on diversity. She believes that houses should have in-built bookshelves in all the rooms, and that ebooks and printed books can get along.

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