From ‘A Clockwork Orange’ to ‘Atonement’: 7 Book Adaptations Made for Screen Lovers

These must-read novels for film and TV lovers have adaptations that stand up to their literary counterparts.

7 adaptations that were better than the books

“Which did you prefer, the book or the movie?” It’s one of life’s great questions.

Most of the time, book adaptations leave an aftertaste that makes most readers say the book is always better than the movie. So taking on an adaptation of a really great book makes this challenge even more difficult.

With these seven great books―all wonderful in their own right―each of them has an on-screen movie or television adaptation that actually stands up to its literary counterpart. Which raises the assumption that maybe a book isn’t always better than the movie after all.

1. Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh

7 Book Adaptations That Are Better Than the Book
PolyGram Filmed Entertainment
(Amazon, $7.82)

Synopsis: Trainspotting is the novel that first launched Irvine Welsh‘s spectacular career―an authentic, unrelenting, and strangely exhilarating episodic group portrait of blasted lives. It accomplished for its own time and place what Hubert Selby, Jr.’s Last Exit to Brooklyn did for his. Rents, Sick Boy, Mother Superior, Swanney, Spuds, and Seeker are as unforgettable a clutch of junkies, rude boys, and psychos as readers will ever encounter.

Why they match: Welsh’s novel isn’t an easy one to get through, but it is an especially rewarding feeling to get finish it: it’s written out exactly the way heavy Scottish accent sounds―in other words, unintelligible at times. But much like the film, it’s worth every minute of the time you dedicate to it. Both are wonderfully constructed, really fast paced, and sort of heartbreaking at times. It’s quite characteristic of the time it was made, as well. Not to mention that the soundtrack in the movie is iconic.

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Written by Carliann Rittman

Currently at NYU, probably feverishly reading messy memoirs about musicians.