Read It First: Your Guide to Netflix and Hulu

by gabimaudiere | November 12, 2019 | All the Rest, News, On Our Radar

With platforms like Netflix and Hulu and their never-ending streams of content, finding time to read can often feel very challenging. When plot lines and screenplays are actually adaptations from a novel or memoir, are we allowed to rationalize watching them as a visual audiobook?

It’s no secret some of the greatest TV shows and films started out as great books. Harry PotterThe Princess Bride, and, Shawshank Redemption, to name a few. Each of these titles are begging -as are we who work in the book industry- that before you see them on screen, you read it first! 

Inspired By Books

Don’t just take our word for it. According to an article in Publisher’s Weekly, executives at Netflix were quoted as saying that so much of the inspiration behind content generation for the streaming platform comes from, “literary material as [being] an irreplaceable resource.” Matt Thunnell, the V.P of Original Series for Netflix said, “The reason I love books—especially a book-to-series translation—is that they often provide this incredible landscape, mythology, and opportunity for worldbuilding that’s really hard to come by in the everyday pitches I’m hearing.” So to get a sneak peek at these landscapes, we suggest you read it first! 

As a result, we’re here to give you an easy guide on what’s trending now on Netflix and Hulu. Before you binge watch whatever new series it seems everyone and their grandma has been watching, you can read it first and dish out better insights.

Here are a few popular titles on both streaming sites that were originally words on a page.

Read it First: Your Guide to Netflix


  • Alias Grace, a novel originally written by Margaret Atwood
  • Mindhunter, inspired by the non-fiction book, Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit by John E. Douglass
  • Anne with an E, inspired by the beloved classic, Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • Orange Is the New Black, inspired by Piper Kernman’s memoir, Orange Is the New Black: My Year in A Women’s Prison
  • 13 Reasons Why, inspired by the novel written from author Jay Asher
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events, inspired by the beloved young reader’s series from author Daniel Handler…more famously known as Lemony Snicket
  • Unbelievable, inspired by the harrowing true story and book, A False Report: A True Story of Rape in America by Ken Miller and T. Christian Miller
  • The Umbrella Academy, originally a comic book series written by Gerard Way and illustrated by Gabriel Bá
Read It First: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn


  • Gone Girl, written by author Gillian Flynn
  • The Pursuit of Happyness, based on the unbelievable true story written by Chris Gardner
  • Room, inspired by true events turned into a fictionalized re-telling of the story by Irish-Canadian author, Emma Donoghue
  • Bird Box, written and based on the same novel by Josh Malerman
  • Still Alice, based on the devastatingly true story written by Lisa Genova
  • The Wolf of Wall Street, based off the memoir with the same name, written by Jordan Belfort
  • Pitch Perfect, based on the novel Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Capella Glory by Mickey Rapkin
  • Mean Girls, the now legendary movie based off the novel written by Micol Ostow
  • P.S. I love You, based off the novel by Irish author Cecelia Ahern
  • Eat Pray Love, written by incandescent author, Elizabeth Gilbert

Read it First: Your Guide to Hulu


  • The Handmaids Tale, inspired by the book and award winning author, Margaret Atwood
  • Looking For Alaska, written by John Green (the first book he ever published!)
  • Catch-22, adapted from the iconic American novel by Joseph Heller
  • Shrill, based off the memoir, Shrill: Notes From A Loud Woman by Lindy West


  • Annihilation, the first book in the Southern Reef Trilogy, written by author Jeff VanderMeer
  • Big Fish, based off the book Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions by Daniel Wallace
  • Election, based off the book by Tom Perrotta
  • Fever Pitch, based off the delightful romantic-comedy by Nick Hornby
  • If Beale Street Could Talk, the revolutionary tour-de force written by James Baldwin

What’s Your Favorite On-Screen Adaptation?

Yes, we’re still partial to the book versions, but we’re happy their stories have made it further than simply existing on paper.

This list is certainly not all encompassing. There are many titles we left out, perhaps on purpose for you to find yourself! Make sure to tag us on social media @WestMarginPress and tell us what YOUR favorite book that’s been made for the big (or little) screen is.

get lost in the book first
What’s your favorite literary adaptation?

Searching for your next great book to read? Here’s what else we’ve been loving lately.