15 books you need to read before they become TV series and movies in 2019

From Good Omens to The Goldfinch, His Dark Materials to Catch-22, here are the biggest book adaptations coming in 2019

Good Omens

2019 is set to be the year of the adaptation, if this list is anything to go by.


From classics like Little Women and If Beale Street Could Talk to modern-day bestsellers like Pulitzer winner The Goldfinch, there are plenty of upcoming dramas to choose from.

Fantasy fans are in for a treat too, with Amazon’s Good Omens and the BBC’s His Dark Materials both pencilled in for a 2019 release.

So whether you’re in the market for your next bedtime read, or you just want to make sure you’ve read the book before the screen adaptation, you’ve got your work cut out.

Here’s our rundown of the books you need to read in 2019 ahead of their film or TV adaptation…

If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin

56th New York Film Festival - "If Beale Street Could Talk" - Arrivals

James Baldwin’s 1974 novel centres around a Harlem-set love story between Tish and Fonny, a newly engaged couple expecting their first baby. When Fonny is falsely accused of rape, Tish is in a race against time to prove his innocence.

Oscar-winning Moonlight director Barry Jenkins is at the helm of the adaptation, and he’s been working closely with Baldwin’s sister (the novelist himself died in 1987).

When is If Beale Street Could Talk released in cinemas? The film will hit UK cinemas on 18th January 2019.

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Good Omens

Neil Gaiman and the late, great Terry Pratchett struck gold back in 1990 with their collaborative fantasy novel Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, which follows an angel and a devil who strike an uneasy alliance in order to save the planet they’ve both come to call home.

Now Amazon Prime Video and the BBC are bringing the book to life, with the dream casting of Michael Sheen and David Tennant as the two celestial buddies.

When is Good Omens on TV? All six hour-long episodes of the series are set to be released on Amazon Prime Video globally in the first half of 2019, before later airing on BBC2.

Pure by Rose Cartwright

Joe Cole (Getty Images)

Rose Cartwright’s acclaimed biography follows one young woman’s experience of an extreme form of obsessive compulsive disorder, nicknamed ‘pure O’, where “the compulsions are unseen mental rituals”.

Channel 4 is adapting the book, with newcomer Charly Clive in the lead role alongside Peaky Blinders and Black Mirror star Joe Cole.

When is Pure on TV? March 2019, Channel 4

The Expatriates by Janice Y K Lee

Nicole Kidman (Getty, EH)

Janice Y K Lee’s book follows a close-knit group of women expats in Hong Kong, and is set to be adapted into an Amazon series, with Nicole Kidman acting as executive producer. That might explain why the series is already being compared to Big Little Lies

When is The Expatriates on TV? The series will air on Amazon at some point during 2019

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

George Clooney (Getty, EH)

Joseph Heller’s classic novel follows the increasingly outlandish and bizarre exploits of US Air Force pilots during the Second World War. George Clooney is bringing the book to TV, acting as series’ producer and director while also starring in a minor role alongside Hugh Laurie.

When is Catch-22 on TV? Catch-22 will air on Channel 4 in 2019

Death Comes As the End by Agatha Christie

If you’re a fan of Agatha Christie, add Death Comes As the End to the top of your bedside pile now. Vanity Fair screenwriter Gwyneth Hughes is writing an adaptation of Death Comes As the End for Christmas 2019, following Sarah Phelps’ The ABC Murders.

The tale is an historical novel set in Ancient Egypt around 2000 BC.

When is Death Comes As the End on TV? The adaptation will air Christmas 2019 on the BBC

The Goldfinch — Donna Tartt

The Goldfinch film set (Getty)

Donna Tartt’s third novel took the literary world by storm back in 2013, when her epic novel about a boy who steals a 17th century painting won the Pulitzer Prize.

Nicole Kidman, Ansel Elgort and Luke Wilson are all starring in the upcoming film adaptation directed by Brooklyn’s John Crowley.

When is The Goldfinch released in cinemas? The film will be released during 2019

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

His Dark Materials

Although the release date for the BBC’s adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy is roughly pencilled in for 2019, it’s still all rather up in the air. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as you’ll have time to read (or re-read) Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass, which follow orphan Lyra, who has a talent for lying and who lives in a parallel universe.

When is His Dark Materials on TV? The series is pencilled in for a 2019 release date on the BBC

Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey

Emma Healey’s novel, about a woman’s search for a missing friend in the face of encroaching dementia, is set be adapted into a 90-minute BBC1 drama. What better time to read the novelist’s bestselling debut?

When is Elizabeth Is Missing on TV? The film will air on BBC1 in 2019

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Cate Blanchett at the InStyle Awards (Getty, EH)

Bernadette is a divisive figure, particularly amongst the other mothers at daughter Bee’s school. So when Bernadette goes missing, it’s Bee who sets out exactly what happened to her.

The bestselling novel will be adapted for the cinema by Before Sunrise’s Richard Linklater, starring Cate Blanchett in the title role.

When is Where’d You Go, Bernadette released in cinemas? The film scheduled for released in March 2019

Pet Sematary by Stephen King

It’s a good time for Stephen King fans, and the trend continues with the upcoming film adaptation of Pet Sematary. The 1983 novel (said to be the  book that scared the author the most) follows a family who find that their new home is close to a local pet cemetery — and an ancient burial ground…

When is Pet Sematary released in cinemas? The film is set for release in April 2019

The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn


Amy Adams and Gary Oldman will star in the film adaptation of AJ Finn’s thriller about a child psychologist who witnesses a crime while spying on her neighbours — and must decide whether or not to inform the police.

When is The Woman in the Window released in cinemas? The film will premiere 4th October 2019

Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by  TS Elliot


OK, OK, we’ll admit it, this isn’t technically a book, but the classic poetry collection following a ragtag band of cats has already inspired the hit musical Cats. The musical is now set to receive the silver screen treatment later in 2019, with James Corden, Taylor Swift and Jennifer Hudson starring.

When is Cats in cinemas? The film is scheduled for release on 20th December 2019

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Emma Watson (Getty/FC)

The classic coming-of-age story of four sisters growing up in Massachusetts during the American Civil War has been adapted various times (including the 1994 version starring Winona Ryder), but Greta Gerwig seems to have a hit on her hands with her upcoming version starring Emma Watson as Meg.

When is Little Women released in cinemas? The film is due to be released on Christmas Day (25th December) 2019

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Elle Fanning (Getty)

Calling all Young Adult fans. Jennifer Nivon’s All the Bright Places tells the story of two teenagers, Theodore Finch and Violet Markey, living in a small Indiana town.

Netflix is adapting the novel: Elle Fanning will star as the popular ex-cheerleader Violet, while Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’s Justice Smith plays Finch.


When is All the Bright Places released on Netflix? The Netflix movie adaptation will air in 2019