10 Great Books That Should Be Movies


Hollywood has always looked to literature for inspiration and adaptation fodder, but these days, it seems more likely than not that any given new film will be based on a book (or be a sequel or a superhero movie, but let’s set that aside). Not that that’s a bad thing — we’re looking forward to Cloud Atlas, On the Road, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower as much as the next guy. Still, we’re baffled at some of the books that, for whatever reason, haven’t yet been snapped up by the Hollywood machine. After the jump, we’ve put together a list of novels that we’d love to see hit the big screen — click through to check out our picks and add your own wish list in the comments!

One Hundred Years of Solitude , Gabriel García Márquez

We think this novel — one of the most beloved books of the 20th century — would make a beautiful, lush, frankly magical film. We say that because it’s a beautiful, lush, frankly magical book. But unfortunately (for us) García Márquez has never agreed to sell the rights. Maybe he has something even better in mind.

The Secret History , Donna Tartt

We cannot for the life of us understand why this book has never been made into a movie. It has everything a movie should have: mystery, murder, attractive young people in scarves running around in the woods. Yes, that could have been a description of Harry Potter, but we promise you, this is much, much darker. For a comprehensive look at who we would cast in said movie version of said classic college novel, go here.

Geek Love , Katherine Dunn

This novel, about a pair of carnival owners who breed their own freak show family, would make a twisted, dirty, insane film. It would be weird, hard to plot, and incredibly dark. So obviously someone has to make it.

A Confederacy of Dunces , John Kennedy Toole

Considering how often this book is heralded as the funniest novel of all time, we’re really not sure how it hasn’t become a movie yet. Well apparently, Hollywood has been trying for over 30 years, so at least we can give them credit for that… sort of. There has been a veritable parade of potential Ignatius J. Reillys: John Belushi, John Candy, Chris Farley, and more recently Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis. Hell, John Waters even wanted to do a version starring Divine when she was still alive. Come on, people. Someone, get it together and give us this movie!

The Instructions , Adam Levin

Child genius? Check. Quirky premise? Check. Terrifying school scenes? Check. But we really just want to see a film version so we can watch the riot — yes, that one — unfold firsthand.

Black Hole , Charles Burns

This book — a graphic novel about a group of teenagers affected by an STD that causes strange, random mutations — would be an extremely disturbing movie. While a live-action, chiaroscuro film would probably blow our minds, we’d settle for a Persepolis-style black and white animated feature if absolutely necessary.

Lush Life , Richard Price

Have you seen The Wire? Yeah, it’d be like that.

The Pushcart War , Jean Merrill

Here’s another book that seems like a total shoo-in for the film treatment. Not only would this book make a rather timely movie — though, the little guy vs. corporate giant trope is always pretty timely — but if it were updated to be set in modern-day New York, we think it could turn into an edgy look at class and race and food and friendship. Oh yes, and pea-shooters.

Gun, With Occasional Music , Jonathan Lethem

Jonathan Lethem’s first novel is not his best. That said, the hardboiled crime cum science fiction adventure is still the one we’d most like to see as a film, if only for the pure fun of it. Technology has advanced to the point where one of the main antagonists can be a talking kangaroo, right? Right.

Infinite Jest , David Foster Wallace

No, we have no idea how one might make this into a movie. Yes, we’re dying to see someone try.