The people at Broke and Bookish are asking for a list of ten books people would like to see made into films. Here's mine, in no particular order:
The Giant's House by Elizabeth McCracken - a gentle, offbeat love story about the friendship between a very tall boy and a librarian. It could be made into one of those subtle, beautiful American films along the lines of The Station Agent.
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. A sprawling, crazy, satirical novel with a cast of grotesques. It would make a great film. There have been plans to make one but they seem to have come to nothing.
Candide by Voltaire. It has been made into an operetta by Leonard Bernstein (using a libretto based on a script for a play by Lilian Helmann according to my friend Wikipedia, and including lyrics from Dorothy Parker, though later performed with a book by Hugh Wheeler.) But it has never been made into a film. It's a short satirical book but it's episodic so it would also suit TV, though it would be expensive to make because of the multiple locations and period costume. It's free for the Kindle, though I read it in French in paperback years ago and I have no idea if the free digital English translation is any good - it's worth downloading a sample to check.
The Liars' Club by Mary Karr. It's one of my all-time favourite books, a memoir of the author's extraordinary childhood. Mary Karr is a brilliant story-teller who writes beautiful prose so the film might need a voice-over, much as screenwriters hate writing them because it feels like cheating; you're supposed to tell the story in pictures and dialogue when you make a film. But a good director could show the poverty, the madness and the beauty of the story, so long as he or she could find the right actor to play Mary as a child.
All My Friends Are Superheroes by Andrew Kaufman. A very sweet novella-length love story. Take a look. Do you like sweet, charming, quirky books? If you do and you haven't read it, I'm sure you'll love it. It's written by a screenwriter. I'm surprised it hasn't yet been made into a film.
Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel. This is an odd, entertaining story of a medium. Can she really see ghosts? It's by Booker Prize-winning Hilary Mantel and it's beautifully-written, as you would expect. It would make an amusing film.
My Dirty Little Book of Stolen Time by Liz Jensen. A wonderfully funny time travel book that goes between 19th century Copenhagen and present day London. There would be lots of scope for the costume designers and the set designers to impress, and some great comic roles for the actors. It would make a brilliant play, as well. The people who made Lost in Austen would make a good job of it for TV.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid. This would make a fantastic play if adapted as a monologue that stays true to the book, with only one actor, rather like David Hare's production of Joan Didion's adaptation of her memoir The Year of Magical Thinking which was performed by Vanessa Redgrave in 2007/2008. But I'd like to see it as a film, too. This is one of my favourite books: part thriller, part fable, part satire. And it could make a brilliant, compelling film.
Straight Cut by Madison Smartt Bell. A crime story that's really a book about friendship. I'd also like to see Save Me, Joe Louis made into a film. That's also a book about friendship. I was crazy about Madison Smartt Bell when I first discovered him, 20 years ago or whenever Straight Cut was first published in the UK. I used to go and look in the new releases section of the book store and then on the general fiction shelves approximately every year or so (checking under both S and B 'just in case'), hoping that he'd published another one. This was in the days before Amazon/Google. Fortunately he was a prolific author and the bookshops I visited stocked his books in those days, so my patience and loyalty were rewarded. Straight Cut, Save Me, Joe Louis and Dr Sleep are my favourite books of his. I'm counting this as one item on the list but I'd be very happy to see any of them made into a film (and so would MSB, no doubt.) It would be a great first step if his publisher(s) were to make them available for the Kindle.
Mr Vertigo by Paul Auster. I have read almost everything Paul Auster has written (or so I like to claim) and this is one of my favourites of his. It's about a boy who learns to fly. This one is available for the Kindle. It's a charming adventure story and it would make a wonderful film.
Please visit Broke and Bookish for links to other blogs that are posting their book-to-film wish lists. Which ones would you choose?