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18th Jan 2020

12 books to read before they become movies or TV shows in 2020

Keeley Ryan

Over the last few years, it feels like just about all of our favourite books have made the jump from the page to the screen. 

And, thankfully, this year looks to be no exception.

A number of amazing books are going from the page to the screen in 2020, and here are some of our favourites.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Where is it going to be? In cinemas as Chaos Walking, in early March.

Who is in it? Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley.

What is it about?

Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in a constant, overwhelming Noise. There is no privacy. There are no secrets.

Then Todd Hewitt unexpectedly stumbles on a spot of complete silence. Which is impossible. And now he’s going to have to run…

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Cofler

Where is it going to be? In cinemas in May 2020.

Who is in it? Ferdia Shaw, Josh Gad, Judi Dench, Miranda Raison

What is it about?

At just twelve years old, Artemis Fowl is a criminal genius. No scheme is too dastardly, no plot too devious. And he’s just discovered that fairies are real.

Poor fairies. But these are not the cuddly creatures of bedtime stories. They are armed. They are dangerous. And when Artemis captures Captain Holly Short for her fairy gold, he messes with the wrong elf.

Holly isn’t armed but she’s incredibly dangerous, and pretty annoyed with all the kidnapping. Artemis Fowl is about to find out that fairies fight back . . .

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James 

Where is it going to be? In cinema as The Turning in January 2020.

Who is in it? Finn Wolfhard, Brooklynn Prince, Mackenzie Davis.

What is it about?

A young, inexperienced governess is charged with the care of Miles and Flora, two small children abandoned by their uncle at his grand country house. She sees the figure of an unknown man on the tower and his face at the window. It is Peter Quint, the master’s dissolute valet, and he has come for little Miles. But Peter Quint is dead.

The Turn of the Screw is to all immediate appearances a ghost story. But are the appearances what they seem? Is what appears to the governess a ghost or a hallucination? Who else sees what she sees?

The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock

Where is it going to be? In cinema in 2020.

Who is in it? Robert Pattinson, Riley Keogh, Sebastian Stan, Tom Holland, Bill Skarsgård.

What is it about?

Willard is a tormented veteran of the carnage in the South Pacific who can’t save his beautiful wife, Charlotte, from a slow death by cancer no matter how much sacrificial blood he pours on his ‘prayer log’.

Carl and Sandy Henderson, a husband-and-wife team of serial killers, trawl America’s highways searching for suitable models to photograph and exterminate. The spider-handling preacher Roy and his crippled virtuoso-guitar-playing sidekick are running from the law.

And caught in the middle of all this is Arvin, Willard and Charlotte’s orphaned son, who grows up to be a good but also violent man in his own right.

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

Where is it going to be? Based on the novella, the movie will be in cinemas in February 2020.

Who is in it? Elisabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Aldis Hodge.

What is it about?

The Invisible Man is a sci-fi novella which tells the the story of Griffin, a scientist who finds a way to make himself invisible, but is unable to reverse the experiment.

At once distraught and freed from the constraints of the law, Wells’ disturbing and insightful novel explores the question of morality when a man is free to do as he pleases without risk of being caught.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Where is it going to be? In cinemas in April 2020.

Who is in it? Colin Firth, Julie Walters, Dixie Egerickx.

What is it about?

When Mary Lennox is sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle, everybody says she is the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen. It is true, too. Mary is pale, spoilt and quite contrary. But she is also horribly lonely.

Then one day she hears about a garden in the grounds of the Manor that has been kept locked and hidden for years. And when a friendly robin helps Mary find the key, she discovers the most magical place anyone could imagine…

The Witches by Ronald Dahl

Where is it going to be? In cinemas in October 2020.

Who is in it? Anne Hathaway, Charlie Edwards, Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci and Chris Rock.

What is it about?

BEWARE. Real witches dress in ordinary clothes and look like ordinary women. But they are not ordinary. They are always plotting and scheming with murderous, bloodthirsty thoughts – and they HATE children.

The Grand High Witch hates children most of all and plans to make every single one of YOU disappear. Only one boy and his grandmother can stop her, but if their plan fails, the Grand High Witch will frizzle them like fritters, and then what . . . ?

You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz

Where is it going to be? The HBO series, which will be called The Undoing, is slated for late 2020.

Who is in it?Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Lily Rabe, Edgar Ramírez, Donald Sutherland.

What is it about?

Grace Sachs, a happily married therapist with a young son, thinks she knows everything about women, men and marriage. She is about to publish a book called You Should Have Known, based on her pet theory: women don’t value their intuition about what men are really like, leading to serious trouble later on.

But how well does Grace know her own husband? She is about to find out, and in the place of what she thought she knew, there will be a violent death, a missing husband, and a chain of terrible revelations. Left behind in the wake of a very public disaster, and horrified by the ways in which she has failed to heed her own advice, Grace must dismantle one life and create another for herself and her child.

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Where is it going to be? On BBC Three and BBC One next year.

Who is in it? Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones.

What is it about?

Connell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in the west of Ireland, but the similarities end there. In school, Connell is popular and well-liked, while Marianne is a loner. But when the two strike up a conversation – awkward but electrifying – something life-changing begins.

Normal People is a story of mutual fascination, friendship and love. It takes us from that first conversation to the years beyond, in the company of two people who try to stay apart but find they can’t.

The Outsider by Stephen King

Where is it going to be? January 2020 on HBO.

Who is in it? Ben Mendelsohn, Marc Menchaca, Summer Fontana, Jason Bateman.

What is it about?

A horrifying crime. Water-tight evidence points to a single suspect. Except he was seventy miles away, with an iron-clad alibi.

Detective Anderson sets out to investigate the impossible: how can the suspect have been both at the scene of the crime and in another town?

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Where is it going to be? Hulu in 2020.

Who is in it? Joshua Jackson, Rosemarie DeWitt, Kerry Washington, Reese Witherspoon.

What is it about?

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother- who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town – and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at an unexpected and devastating cost…

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Where is it going to be? Hulu in 2020.

Who is in it? Nicole Kidman. No other cast have been announced yet.

What is it about?

Nine perfect strangers, each hiding an imperfect life. A luxury retreat cut off from the outside world.

Ten days that promise to change your life. But some promises – like some lives – are perfect lies . . .