Soaring celsius and sweat has had all of us at Champaca wanting to curl up at home, sipping on something cold, and waiting for mangoes and summer rain. If you want to avoid the heat and can stay put at home, you might be tempted to binge on another series. We thought we’d bring you a collection of books that were adapted into TV shows or films. Rediscover your favourite stories in another medium, unearth nuances that the adaptation may have missed, or equip yourselves to spot the details when you catch their on-screen avatars!
Click the titles to go to the book pages, and get your copies from Champaca.
Aspiring writer Tanay and his free-spirited sister Anuja fall in love with the same enigmatic man who comes to stay in their house in Pune as a paying guest. What ensues is a story that deals with the themes of family, sexuality, and love. Sachin Kundalkar’s novel Cobalt Blue was originally published in Marathi and was translated into English by Jerry Pinto in 2013. Kundalkar has helmed the movie version too.
What if a mother realises that she is not cut out for motherhood? The Lost Daughter is the story of Leda, a devoted college professor and her relationship with her two daughters. Leda embarks on a holiday to a quiet coastal town in Italy and feels liberated until a family’s presence in the resort forces her to confront her disconcerting past. Writer Elena Ferrante needs no introduction. The Lost Daughter is her compelling and perceptive meditation on womanhood and motherhood, exploring the conflicting emotions that tie us to our children.
At school Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He's popular, the star of the school soccer team, while she is lonely, proud, and intensely private. A strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagers that irresistibly draws them together through the years that follow – years of exploration, self-destruction, and impending adulthood. Sally Rooney’s Normal People brings her brilliant psychological acuity and spare prose to a story that explores the subtleties of class, the electricity of first love, and the complex entanglements of family and friendship. Her debut novel, Conversations With Friends, is also the source of a recent adaptation by the BBC!
It's the 1990s in Atlanta, USA. Two Teenagers struggle with their parents' expectations and raging hormones. Soon they discover an ancient alchemical potion from stolen gold.Sounds exhilarating? Gold Diggers by Sanjena Sathian,soon to be adapted by Mindy Kaling’s production company, is a coming of age story laced with humour, magical realism and commentary on identity.
One of science fiction’s most famous epics, Frank Herbert’s Dune has been the basis of a number of adaptations. Denis Villeneuve’s 2021 movie swept the Oscars, bagging prizes for music, editing, and production design. Make sure you don’t forget to read the sequel before the next film drops! The ‘Dune’ trilogy is an epic tale set in the future, as young Paul Atreides is tasked with the stewardship of the desert planet of Arrakis, home to the most valuable material – melange – in the universe. This series sits at the intersections of technology, ecology, politics, and religion.
Nandita Das’ 2018 film Manto is a unique blend of biography and fiction. It is the true story of Saadat Hasan Manto, including his friends in the Progressive Writers’ Association, his relationship with his wife, growing political worries, and endless court trials on charges of obscenity in his short stories. Seamlessly weaved in are some of Manto’s most famous stories. Discover the writer in this collection, which brings to us some of his most impactful stories in English translation.
One of Netflix’s latest offerings is Heartstopper, a gentle and sensitive coming-of-age story about young love, as its lead characters navigate high school and questions of identity. It’s based on Alice Oseman’s best-selling graphic novel, featuring simple illustrations that speak volumes.
Emily St. John Mandel’s book was picked up for a TV adaptation much before our world went into a global pandemic – lending the book, and its adaptation, a newfound gravity. It’s hard to imagine a life-affirming novel about a pandemic, but both book and show are suffused with hope, and a strong sense of humanity. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, following a devastating pandemic, a small theatre group travels across North America. Story strands connect across time and space in a non-linear narrative, combining to form an expansive, beautiful meditation on the nature of art (celebrating everything from Shakespeare to Star Trek) and connection.
If family sagas and historical fiction that sweep across generations is your interest, you’d surely enjoy Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, a book about a Korean family immigrating to Japan. It unpacks war, racial profiling, and stereotyping.
In this Japanese thriller by Kotaro Isaka, translated by Sam Malissa, five different assassins find themselves on a bullet train hurtling towards its destination, seemingly brought there for different reasons – until their storylines begin to intersect. Fast-paced and exhilarating, this is a delight to read – pick it up before watching the movie adaptation, set to release later this year.
Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer-Prize winning novel The Underground Railroad reimagines the secret network of abolitionists that worked together across the length of America to help free enslaved people. In this novel, the ‘railroad’ becomes literal – a system of safe houses connected by a secret transport system. This expansive, moving novel has a stunning TV adaptation helmed by Barry Jenkins, director of the Oscar-winning Moonlight.
And finally, in tune with the times,if only cricket is on your mind, we highly recommend The Fire Burns Blue by Sidhanta Patnaik, a thorough history of women’s cricket in India. Happy summer!
If you like this book, you may like A Frayed History: The Journey of Cotton in India by Meena Menon and Uzramma, A Taste of Time: A Food History of Calcutta by Mohona Kanjilal, and Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh.
Three parts teacher, two parts writer and complete mental glutton, Shakti Swaminathan is a free(lancer) spirit based in Bangalore. This listicle was put together by her, with help from Team Champaca.