Can you believe all of the novels being made into TV shows these days? New books by Jennifer Egan, Chad Harbach, and Karen Russell have already been picked up, not to mention the promise of a new series based on the novels and stories of William Faulkner. Will 2012 the year of literary television? Does television—and by "television," I also mean "the future"—only get better? Sure, novels have forever been adapted for the big screen, but has television ever seen this many books? In that spirit, I’d like to suggest my top five novels I would love to see on the small screen in 2012.
1. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoevsky). No one is really all that thrilled with Dexter anymore. Maybe it’s time to go back to the insecure, faith-tortured existentialists? There’s only one real murder, but hours of drunk Russians, confession, confusion, prostitution, destitution, cowardliness, callousness, salvation and defeat. Can you imagine the episode (dream-directed by Martin Scorsese) where Mikolka stumbles out of the bar and, with the crowd largely egging him on, beats the horse to death? This is something we need to watch. Michael Pitt can play Raskolnikov—I hear he’s free now.
2. Housekeeping (Marilynne Robinson). Full disclosure: mostly I just want to live in this book. I end up re-reading it because it’s kind of what I want my life to be. Strong but transient women, in a silent house in a town haunted and defined by a lake. There would be such silence! And Beauty! And small, dark moments where we could worry about our grip on reality!
3. Rabbit, Run (John Updike). Haven’t we absorbed enough darkly twisted misogyny and white male privilege from Mad Men? The answer is NO! At least I haven’t. I adore my spoiled brat man-children; the more time we spend exploring what’s wrong with them, the better.
4. Letters to Wendy’s (Joe Wenderoth). This has to be one of my favorite books of all time. Not your traditional novel, each entry could be fleshed out into its own episode—each episode an adventure at that copper-top fast food chain. There is philosophy, there are bodily functions, there is human need, there is meat.
5. Firework (Eugene Marten). Isn’t it time we return to the racist Rodney King America of the early nineties? When we worked in a forms warehouse, got caught up in some violence, and then ran away from it all on a road trip with Miss D and Littlebit? Wouldn’t it be great to have a pre-9/11 enemy again? That enemy being ourselves?
What novels would you like to see made into television? Any ideas on what would make the perfect miniseries? Share your comments below.