books Great Books They Haven't Made Into Movies Yet (But Should)  

Jacob Shelton
316 votes 162 voters 4.3k views 25 items

Despite Hollywood’s relentless quest to film everything they can think of, there are still plenty of great books that have yet to be adapted into films. Even though a lot of book nerds tend to hate on movies based on books, no one can argue that a good film adaptation can not only drive up interest in the source material, but in a strange way the film can also create an entire crop of new readers. For instance, after Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings film trilogy was released, the classic book series sold an astonishing 25 million copies. If that’s not a good excuse to start turning all of your favorite books into movies, nothing is. If you’re trying to figure out what all the fuss is about, peruse this list of great books that Hollywood hasn’t made into movies yet (but totally should).

No matter what kind of literature you prefer, there’s something on this list of great books that should be adapted into films that’s going to tug at your heartstrings. Even if you keep up with all the latest Hollywood buzz, you’ll definitely be shocked that some brave filmmaker hasn’t adapted a few of the novels on this list. Put on your reading glasses, and fire up your wish list, because you’re going to want to read these books before someone makes them into a movie.
1 23 VOTES

Cat's Cradle


Cat's Cradle is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Great Books They Haven't Made Into Movies Yet (But Should)
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Goodreads: 4.18/5

If scientists working against the clock to find a deadly chemical hidden somewhere on earth doesn't sound like the coolest Nicolas Cage movie you've never seen, then you need to go back to movie school. Cat's Cradle probably hasn't been adapted because, for some reason, every other Vonnegut adaptation is really bad.

Author: Kurt Vonnegut

First Published: 1963

Also Ranked

#77 on NPR's Top 100 Science Fiction & Fantasy Books

#43 on The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time

#20 on The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People

#2 on The Best Kurt Vonnegut Books

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2 22 VOTES

The Corrections


The Corrections is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Great Books They Haven't Made Into Movies Yet (But Should)
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Goodreads: 3.77/5

On the surface, an almost 700 page novel about a group of bitter, squabbling family members living in a pre 9/11 bubble of capitalism, greed, and jealousy doesn't sound like it would make for a great film. But once you look below the surface of a family trying to live the American dream and find the darkness that's churning underneath them, it's impossible to look away.

Author: Jonathan Franzen

First Published: 2001

Also Ranked

#44 on The Best Oprah Book Club Books

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A Visit from the Goon Squad is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Great Books They Haven't Made Into Movies Yet (But Should)
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Goodreads: 3.63/5

Despite a narrative that rarely settles on a character for more than one chapter (and an entire chapter told entirely through Powerpoint), A Visit from the Goon Squad is an engrossing rumination on time, friendship, and the way technology shapes our daily lives. There's been talk of an adaptation of this film for a few years, but it might be better suited as an HBO mini-series.

Author: Jennifer Egan

First Published: 2010

Also Ranked

#30 on The Best Pulitzer Prize Winning Novels

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The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Great Books They Haven't Made Into Movies Yet (But Should)
Photo: Père Ubu/Flickr

Goodreads: 4.18/5

Most of Murakami's work tends to encapsulate a dense, magical world that mixes with the mundane in ways that are both surreal and terrifying, and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is a high point in his stellar body of work. Despite the engrossing mystery at the center of the book, it's possible that this hasn't been adapted yet because of the multi-dimensional dream scape that takes over the narrative about three quarters of the way through the narrative.

Author: Haruki Murakami

First Published: 1994

Also Ranked

#26 on The Best Absurdist Fiction Novels

#17 on The Best Postmodern Novels

#2 on The Best Haruki Murakami Books

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