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From Reading to Binge-Watching

by Christian Sammartino on 2020-05-18T11:47:08-04:00 | Comments

I admit to being a lover of popular fiction.  I especially love when a good book hits the screen.  There are so many good novels and book series currently available to watch.  I know most of these are through subscriptions or cable services, but they are so worth it.  Some cable services have been offering a lot of free “watchathons”, so you may be able to find them for a limited time without having to pay.  I pride myself on always reading the book FIRST; I’m too afraid that seeing it played out on a screen will take all of the fun out of imagining it for myself through the words on the page.  But, to each their own!  Read, watch, enjoy!  Here are my top 5 TV/mini-series book-to-screen recommendations that have currently caught my attention.

My Brilliant Friend, HBO (Trilogy by Elena Ferrante).  Set in a tenement housing neighborhood in Naples during the 1950s, this is by far my favorite book to TV series.  It was produced in Italy so it is in Italian with sub-titles.  It’s a very authentic re-telling and even though you are “reading” the hour-long episodes, they literally fly by.  You cannot but help to get absorbed in this intense and captivating story.  Warning: there are a lot of scenes with amazing Italian food; you may crave spaghetti or bread while watching!  I did!

Call the Midwife, PBS  (book by Jennifer Worth) This is also one of my most favorite TV series EVER.  Have your tissues ready as you experience the life of midwives and nuns in Poplar, England during the 1950s and 60s.  This show has been exploring the development of childbirth and medicine as it relates to midwifery for 9 seasons.  There is a lot of sadness but so much hope in every episode and the ensemble cast is unforgettable; you cannot but like each and every character.

Little Fires Everywhere, HULU (book by Celeste Ng)  This book has gained immense popularity and deals with family, racial, and economic tensions in a well-to-do community in Shaker Heights, Ohio.  Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington do not disappoint!

Dublin Murders, Starz (book by Tana French)  Personally, I’m a sucker for all those great British mystery shows.  This book/show sets place in Ireland which I found a refreshing change.  The murder of a young girl in the woods brings back cold cases of other children found dead in the same area.  The detectives hold secrets themselves in connection to the cold cases.  You’ll be thinking, suspecting, and wanting to see more.  The books are hard to put down and the show is just as hard to turn off. 

I Know This Much is True, HBO (book by Wally Lamb) This behemoth of a novel (over 900 pages in length) was so absorbing and is just as good on the screen.  It tells the story of Dominick Birdsey as he struggles to care for his twin brother, Thomas, while discovering the truth about his own family history.  Mark Ruffalo stars in the mini-series and is wonderful.

Post Written By: Jenn O'Leary 


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