Classic literature is one of those things we are all forced to read in school. Typically, people either develop a love of the complex and timeless stories or they absolutely loathe them. Early on in school, I had mixed feelings about classic novels, because when you’re told you have to read certain books with a deadline looming — it’s not always easy to enjoy or appreciate them. Years later, upon reflection, these stories hold a special place in my heart. Classic novels are filled with rich stories that vividly portray the trials and tribulations of life, so they tend to leave a lasting impression. So, if you find the time, why not check them out or revisit some of these classic stories? All of these novels and the corresponding film adaptations are available through your local Library in one form or another.
Classic Novels Adapted to Film
Below, you’ll find a description of each classic novel along with the corresponding movie and/or miniseries adaptations. Many of the titles below are considered to be some of the greatest books of all time (voted on by 125 famous authors – Brain Pickings and by the American public – The Great American Read). And if you’re looking for a study guide – SparkNotes is a great resource. Enjoy!
A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father—a crusading local lawyer—risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime.
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and National Book Award for Fiction in 1983.
This is the story of two sisters—one a missionary in Africa and the other a child wife living in the South—who sustain their loyalty to and trust in each other across time, distance, and silence. Beautifully imagined and deeply compassionate, this classic novel of American literature is rich with passion, pain, inspiration, and an indomitable love of life.
The passionate love between the wealthy and pampered Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a mysterious orphan, mirrors the powerful moods of the Yorkshire moors, in a classic novel of class, love, and revenge.
Watch the Movie or Miniseries
Directed by Robert Fuest
Starring Anna Calder Marshall, Timothy Dalton and Harry Andrews.
Directed by Peter Kosminsky; starring Juliette Binoche and Ralph Fiennes.
Directed by Coky Giedroyc; starring Tom Hardy and Charlotte Riley.
Directed by Andrea Arnold
Starring Kaya Scodelario, James Howson and Solomon Glave.
A would-be writer Nick Carraway leaves the Midwest and comes to New York City in the spring of 1922, an era of loosening morals, glittering jazz, bootleg kings, and sky-rocketing stocks. Chasing his own American Dream, Nick lands next door to a mysterious, party-giving millionaire, Jay Gatsby. It is thus that Nick is drawn into the captivating world of the super rich, their illusions, loves and deceits.
Watch the Movie
Directed by Elliott Nugent
Starring Alan Ladd, Betty Field and Macdonald Carey
Directed by Jack Clayton
Starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow
Directed by Robert Markowitz
Starring Mira Sorvino, Toby Stephens and Paul Rudd
Directed by Baz Luhrmann
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan
A young orphan named Mary is sent to live at the dark and foreboding English estate of her widowed uncle. She discovers a secret garden which was abandoned after a tragic accident. With the help of her crippled cousin Colin, and Dickon the country boy, her spirit is gradually reawakened as they bring the garden back to life.
Watch the Movie
Directed by Alan Grint
Starring Gennie James, Barret Oliver, Jadrien Stelle, Michael Hordern, Billie Whitelaw and Derek Jacobi.
Directed by Agnieszka Holland
Starring Kate Maberly and Heydon Prowse
Directed by Owen Smith
Starring Glennellen Anderson, Amanda Waters, Max River and Erin Bushko.
As a Toledo Lucas County Public Library cardholder you have access to resources throughout the state of Ohio, because we participate in library consortiums like Search Ohio and OhioLink. To request these items they must be available in the catalog. Ask a librarian for more information.
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