Books adapted for Film & TV Recommendations

Reviewed by our staff, don’t miss these underrated films, or the books they are based on.

Nina Ferry, our Reference Librarian and Head of Adult and Technology Services at the Oak Bluffs Library, would not consider herself a reader of the Romance genre. However, a few recent Netflix series have piqued her interest in this often overlooked and dismissed genre. The traditional definition of the genre, according to is, “a narrative genre in literature that involves a mysterious, adventurous, or spiritual story line where the focus is on a quest that involves bravery and strong values, not always a love interest.” Steering away from romance because it’s easy to dismiss “sappy love stories” has most likely kept many good books on the shelf. Usually, as she avoids romance, Nina enjoys historical fiction, novels told in the first person by multiple characters, memoirs and any number of non-fiction texts on a variety of topics. As our Collection Development Librarian, she strives to keep the library’s physical and digital collections full of both eclectic reads and high-demand popular titles, while maintaining access to the classics and a variety of local authors. This summer, she is encouraging readers to step outside of their comfort zones and explore a genre of book, film, or TV that they normally wouldn’t consider. You never know what will suck you in and knock your socks off! Curl up at the beach or in your backyard hammock with one of her Romance recommendations. 

Anthony Ortiz is a library aid at the Oak Bluffs Public Library who loves science fiction and graphic novels. Some of his favorite authors include such popular science fiction writers as Steven King and Ray Bradbury. A graphic novelist he enjoys is Mark Miller who has authored several graphic novels based on popular comic books. As a kid, comic books fostered Anthony’s love of reading.

Presently, Anthony is reading The Complete Short Stories Vol. I by Argentine author, Julio Cortazar.  His collection of short stories is written in his native Spanish, but can be found translated to English.  His works are available on Overdrive through the Boston Public Library. (Any Massachusetts resident can access their digital collection with a BPL e-card, please see their website to sign-up.) For videos, Anthony is watching Wu-Tang an American Saga on Hulu, as well as, foreign films on the library’s streaming services, Hoopla and Kanopy. Please see below for some of the movies Anthony has reviewed for the library’s website.

Graphic Novels and comics adapted for TV and Movie. Click here to download a list of popular titles available to read and/or watch with your Oak Bluffs Library card.

Foreign Films

Amores Perros (2000), adapted from Guillermo Arriaga’s novel (Alan Page, translator for English version.)

  • Direct link to film available on Hoopla with Oak Bluffs Library card.
  • The language spoken in the film is Spanish.
  • Reviewed by: Anthony Ortiz

Amores Perros is considered by many to be one of the greatest movies to ever come out of Mexico and Latin America.  It has been included among a list of the 1,001 movies you must see before you die.

The film was co-written and directed by Alejandro Gonzales Iñarritu who is also known for such critically acclaimed films as The Revenant and Birdman. Amores Perros was his first feature film.  The movie is divided into three different story lines all connected by a horrific car accident. The film’s characters deal with love, regret and the harsh realities of life. The entire movie takes place in Mexico City, showcasing the different social classes among the three main protagonists. One of the main protagonists is actor Gael García Bernal, who has countless movie credits in both international and U.S. films. One of Bernal’s most recognized roles in the U.S. was the Amazon prime series Mozart in the Jungle.

Amores Perros opened the door for Iñarritu to break into Hollywood.  He joined Mexican directors Guillermo Del Toro and Alfonso Cuarón as some of the most respected movie directors to come out of Latin America.  

City of God (2004), adapted from Paulo Lin’s novel.

Based on true events set in and around the slums of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil from the 1960’s through the 1980’s, Cidade de Deus depicts gang violence, poverty and class struggles. Most of the film’s actors were residents of the slums portrayed in the movie. Narrated by Rocket, a main character, the story revolves around a group of teenagers, following them as they grow and change. All Rocket wants is to become a photographer and he spends the film desperately trying to escape his situation. It is an incredibly compelling story of resilience and strength in the face of insurmountable odds. This film received widespread critical acclaim in the U.S. and around the world and I would recommend this move to anyone who is captivated by stories of human struggle and the resulting courage to change one’s fate.

A Man Called Ove (2015), adapted from Fredrick Bachman’s novel

Swedsh director, Hannes Holme tells the story of Ove, a man recently forced to retire. Ove suddenly finds himself with more time on his hands while grieving the death of his late wife. Ove is both stubborn and grumpy.  Sadly, he has given up on life. Over time he develops a routine that keeps him busy. He watches over his small gated community and considers himself to be charged with making sure everyone obeys the communities rules and regulations.

Unexpectedly, a young amusing family from two very different cultural backgrounds moves in across the street from him. An unlikely friendship begins. This relationship forces Ove to come out of his comfort zone. With A Man Called Ove you get comedy and drama that plays out on the screen in ways that are unpredictable, yet incredibly enjoyable.  

What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

  • Direct link to film available on Hoopla with Oak Bluffs Library card.
  • Language of the film is English.
  • Reviewed by: Anthony Ortiz

What We Do in the Shadows is a horror comedy from New Zealand, directed by Jemeine Clement (Flight of the Concords) and Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit).  This movie is about vampires, but unlike most movies from the genre, it was filmed in a mockumentary style. For those of you unfamiliar with the mockumentary format, the television series The Office is a great example of this style. This film follows the lives of three roommates, who just happen to be vampires. They are over three hundred years old and hilarity ensues as they attempt to deal with modern times in Wellington, New Zealand. This is a very entertaining and well paced movie that was written and directed by two of New Zealand’s finest. I would recommend this movie to anyone who enjoyed the series The Office or Parks and Recreation.  If there was ever a time that we all needed a good laugh, it would be now. * In addition to Hoopla, you can also find an adaptation of this movie that takes place in Staten Island, New York, as a series on the FX network and Hulu.* 

Romance: TV adaptations of series

Sweet Magnolias, (2020, Netflix original series) adapted from Sherryl Woods’ Sweet Magnolias series.

  • Read all of the books in the Sweet Magnolia series, free on Hoopla with your Oak Bluffs library card.
  • Direct link to the first e-book in the series, most of the series is also available on e-audiobook through Hoopla. (Log into Hoopla and search “Sweet magnolias” to find all of the titles.)
  • Reviewed by: Nina Ferry

A personal journey of forgiveness, healing, and strength by strong female characters, Sweet Magnolias is worth watching over a single weekend! Adapted into a 10 show first season, the characterization loosely follows the first four books in the series of 11. Follow three lifelong friends as they lean on each other through divorce, lawsuits, hormonal teenagers, and financial woes. The books appear to have a “steamier” romance plot than the TV show, but they all get thousands of positive reviews on Goodreads, so it’s up to you if you want to dig deeper with all 11 books, or steep yourself in the concise version of small-town mystery and plot cliff hangers on the screen. Netflix is still waiting to announce if a second season will be released, so if you want a jump on life in Serenity, South Carolina, use your library’s Hoopla access to curl up with the e-books in this series.

Book #1: Stealing HomeBook # 2: A Slice of HeavenBook # 3: Feels Like FamilyBook # 4: Welcome to Serenity
Book # 5: Home in CarolinaBook # 6: Sweet Tea at SunriseBook # 7: Honeysuckle SummerBook # 8: Midnight Promises
Book # 9: Catching FirefliesBook # 10: Where Azaleas BloomBook # 11: Swan PointBonus: The Sweet Magnolias Cookbook
Find synopses and 4+ star reviews on Goodreads:

Virgin River, (2019, Netflix original series) adapted from Robyn Carr’s Virgin River series.

  • Read all of the books in the Virgin River series, free on Hoopla with your Oak Bluffs library card.
  • Direct Hoopla link to first book in the series, Virgin River (log into Hoopla and search “Virgin River” to find all of the books!
  • Once library materials are circulating again, you can also pick up a hard copy at the library! Search the CLAMS catalog and log-in to your account to place a hold. (There is more than one edition of many titles, so make sure you scroll the list for your library’s!)
  • Reviewed by: Nina Ferry

A show adapted from this long running book series in 2019 by Netflix, Season One of Virgin River should be added to your binge list. Following a mysterious protagonist who leaves a seemingly-perfect-cookie-cutter life in LA for the small mountain town of Virgin River, the characterization in the TV series is just an introduction to what readers can enjoy with the book series. This is a plot full of mysterious adventure while the main character, Melinda Monroe, a Nurse Practitioner, tries to re-establish a sense of normalcy amidst small-town gossip and a “this is how things have always been done” stubborn attitude of the town’s people. Readers can enjoy all or part of the 20-book series–before, or after they watch the show on Netflix. Just remember, so far there’s only one season on streaming, but 20 books to keep you informed of each character’s trials and tribulations. See the books in order here: 

Book # 1: Virgin RiverBook # 2: Shelter MountainBook # 3: Whispering RockBook # 4: A Virgin River Christmas
Book # 5: Second Chance PassBook # 6: Temptation RidgeBook # 7: Paradise ValleyBook # 8: Under the Christmas Tree
Book # 9: Forbidden FallsBook # 10: Angel’s PeakBook # 11: Moonlight RoadBook # 12: Midnight Confessions
Book # 13: Promise CanyonBook # 14: Wild Man CreekBook # 15: Harvest MoonBook # 16: Bring Me Home for Christmas
Book # 17: Hidden SummitBook # 18: Redwood BendBook # 19: Sunrise PointBook # 20: My Kind of Christmas
Click on each title for a synopsis.