Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

The Best Book Adaptations You Probably Missed in 2017

This content contains affiliate links. When you buy through these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Trisha Brown

Contributing Editor

Trisha Brown grew up in Washington State and moved to Washington, DC, to work on programs that support vulnerable families. She decided to take a break in 2019, so now she’s traveling around the United States learning about different places and communities. She plans to return to her life in DC eventually, but for now she can be found chatting with people in bars and parks, catching up on sleep, and trying to keep herself from buying more books than her car and budget can handle. Find her on Instagram (@trishahaleybrown) or Twitter (@trishahaleybrwn).

Realistically, there’s only so much time in the day and only so much money in the film studio publicity budget: most of us miss dozens – if not hundreds – of movies every year. Luckily, if you’ve got vacation, long weekends, or budget airline travel coming up, now is the perfect time to get caught up. And if you’re hanging around on Book Riot, you may have special interest in stories that came direct from the page.

Here are four of the best book adaptations from 2017 to find if you’ve been too busy with Wonder Woman and Murder on the Orient Express:

Lost City of Z based on Lost City of Z by David Gran

Lost City of Z is very good film about obsession, adventure, and the cost of each. But the main reason to see this one might be how gorgeous it is. The landscapes and the sunsets in “Amazonia” are almost enough to make you understand why British explorer Percy Fawcett risked life and limb to go back time after time. As a fun bonus, the movie also features some excellent work by Robert Pattinson, who knows a thing or two about adapting books to the big screen.

I Am Not Your Negro based on a partial draft of Remember This House and other writings by James Baldwin

Technically, I Am Not Your Negro wasn’t based on a book, but rather a book that never completely was. In the early 1980s, James Baldwin began work on a book called Remember This House about his friends Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr., all of whom had been killed. Although he never got more than about 30 pages in, Samuel L. Jackson narrates text he did write, forming the backbone of this searing documentary by director Raoul Peck.

(Worth noting: Technically, I Am Not Your Negro was released in a couple of theaters in 2016 for awards consideration, but it’s on this list since most people didn’t have a chance to see it until February of this year.)

Their Finest based on Their Finest Hour and a Half by Lissa Evans

I wrote about Their Finest earlier this year, and it remains one of my favorite movies of the 2017. In a year that has had three very good films highlighting the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940, Their Finest takes a unique look at the contributions of women to the war effort. Whether a moment is laugh out loud funny or gut-wrenchingly tragic, the movie is consistently smart and creative.

Mudbound based on Mudbound by Hillary Jordan

The reason Mudbound might have slipped past you is that for most of the country, it premiered on Netflix instead of in theaters. But that just makes it easier and cheaper to find, and you definitely should find it. At times the violence in the film is devastating to watch, but the complexity in the way Mudbound explores race and class and loneliness is revelatory on any screen.