6 Brilliant Books To Read This Summer Ahead Of The TV Versions

These reads by Sally Rooney, Candice Carty-Williams and more are all set for the small screen.

There’s one question everyone asks when an adaptation hits our TVs: “Have you read the book?” Now, you’ll be able to respond with a rather smug: “Yes”.

There’s a plethora of literary delights being reworked for the small screen at the moment, so we’ve rounded up a handful to get you ahead of the game.

Pick up these titles now and read in the sunshine at your leisure – and prepare to be so on trend later this year and next. You’re welcome.

Conversations With Friends, by Sally Rooney (BBC Three)

Faber&Faber
Faber&Faber

The BBC adaptation of Sally Roony’s second novel, Normal People, was such a big hit that they’ve now commissioned her first book, Conversations with Friends, for the small screen. The adaptation – with Jemima Kirk, Joe Alwyn, Alison Oliver and Sasha Lane among the cast – is expected to hit our screens early next year. It follows the story of two friends, Frances and Bobbi, who form a complicated relationship with a married couple, Nick and Melissa. Expect themes of longing, lust, friendship – and a brilliant subplot about endometriosis.

Anatomy of a Scandal, by Sarah Vaughan (Netflix)

Simon & Schuster Ltd
Simon & Schuster Ltd

A high profile cast of Sienna Miller, Rupert Friend and Michelle Dockery means this is a show that everyone will be talking about. Netflix says it’ll hit screens “sometime in 2021”. The book is about a married Westminster politician (played by Friend), who’s accused of raping his aide. His wife (Miller) is convinced he’s innocent, but the prosecutor (Dockery) is sure he’s guilty.

Queenie, by Candice Carty-Williams (Channel 4)

Regardless of the rumours about a TV deal, Candice Carty-Williams’s debut is a must-read. It follows the “flawed, defiant but vulnerable” Queenie Jenkins, a journalist whose life seems to be steadily spiralling out of control post break-up. The backdrop is an increasingly gentrified south London, which Queenie barely recognises as the home of her Jamaican/British family. Themes of mental health, racism and trauma interlace with friendship, family and forgiveness. There’s also a lot to laugh about. There’s no hint when it will appear on Channel 4, but the BBC has also commissioned Carty-Williams to write another series, so she’s a name you’ll be hearing a lot more from in the near future.

This Is Going To Hurt, by Adam Kay (BBC Two)

Picador
Picador

As a former junior doctor, Adam Kay kept a diary of the endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends he experienced. He turned them into a book and now, the BBC has turned that into an eight-part show, due to hit screens later in 2021. Set on a labour ward, the adaptation has been described as “a blisteringly funny, politically enraging and frequently heart-breaking wake-up call to anyone who values the NHS, and a frank and moving love letter to the 1.4 million people working on the front line every day.”

Everything I Know About Love, by Dolly Alderton (BBC)

Penguin Books Ltd
Penguin Books Ltd

Full of heart and humour, Dolly Alderton’s Everything I Know About Love is a coming-of-age memoir about falling in love, getting dumped, making mistakes, throwing disastrous house parties, and learning a hell of a lot about yourself on the way. It’ll resonate most with millennials (prepare to cringe and laugh in equal measure) and the true love story is about friendship (is it ever not?). The BBC is yet to announce when it will appear on screens, but it’s a nice summer read in the meantime.

Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson (BBC)

Life After Life follows the life (and death) of Ursula Todd. It’s an intriguing tale of a woman who dies one night in 1910, but then is reborn. The cycle repeats. The protagonist finds herself time and again, living and dying in different circumstances only to be reborn into a new, alternative iteration of life once more. At its heart, it’s a story about second (and third) chances. The four-part series began filming earlier this year, but an air date is yet to be confirmed. Oh, and did we mention it stars Fleabag’s Sian Clifford? A must-read and a must-watch.