What TV Shows Bookworms Should be Watching on Netflix

What to watch on Netflix if you are a bookworm. From romance and drama to horror all of these shows are based on books. Via @tbookjunkie

2021 may not have started the way we wanted. We may be in the midst of another lockdown with the pandemic still raging across the world, but to ease the pain for book lovers everywhere, Netflix has us covered.

I don’t know about you, but there have been times in the last year where I simply cannot concentrate on the written word. I pick a book up with great intentions only to find my mind wandering.

2020 saw me give up on more books in just one year than ever before, my attention span just wasn’t in it.

Instead, I found myself spending more time searching for TV programmes that would jump out at me, sparking some curiosity, and what I found was an extremely large library of viewing material that all bookworms will love. So if you love of reading is waning slightly at the moment, don’t despair; instead of reading novels by your favourite authors why not watch a couple of TV adaptations instead.

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Neflix TV Shows Taking Inspiration from Books

Drama and Romance

#1 Bridgerton

If you have yet to delve into this show, I do have to ask where you have been recently as this is possibly the hottest thing on right now.

This historical, costume drama set in London’s fine Regency Era is based on a series of novels by Julia Quinn.

At the heart of the first series is the Bridgerton family; a group of eight close-knit siblings who are trying to find their way in the world with only their mother for guidance. Anthony Bridgerton, Viscount and head of the home after his father’s death, is avoiding his own need to marry appropriately and instead transferring all attention to his sister, Daphne who is now of age and therefore in need of a husband.

It is a series filled with debutante balls and marriage proposals, blooming relationships and scandals. High society has never been soon enticing.  

Book relating to the show:

#2 The Queens Gambit

The Queen’s Gambit follows the life of orphaned chess prodigy, Beth Harmon, during her bid to become the world’s greatest player of the game. Set in the 1950’s we watch as Beth struggles not only with her desire to succeed and become recognised as a world-class chess player, but also with her growing dependency on drugs and alcohol.

Book relating to the show:

#3 Anne with an E

Set in the late 1800’s, this is a story of mistaken identity. Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert are a brother and sister pairing who live together after never marrying but are now in need of help to run their ancestral home, Green Gables. With no other options available, they decide to adopt a young boy to help with the chores around the house. Unbeknown to the couple, when Matthew arrives at the train station, in the place of the young lad they thought they were adopting, stands a rather chatty, high-spirited young girl named Anne.

This unplanned turn of events causes conflict between the siblings and sees Anne being sent back to the orphanage she detests, but with Matthew on her side, will she be able to return to Green Gables?

Book relating to the show:

#4 Thirteen Reasons Why

With a teenage suicide being the focal point of this show, it may not be for everyone, but for those that can watch it, there are some heart-wrenching moments that I am sure some people find easily relatable.

Hannah Baker is a high-school freshman, who before taking her own life, records a series of tapes so that people can understand what has driven her to kill herself. These tapes have been posted to classmates and detail the people and events that she deems the reason for her demise. People start to panic wondering whether they will become the next recipient of a tape?

Book relating to the show:

#5 Sweet Magnolias

Sweet Magnolias follows the story of three friends who have grown up together in South Carolina.  In this romantic drama we see how their lifelong friendships grow and change while they try to juggle relationships, families and careers.

“It is like a good Hallmark movie turned into a sentimental, feel-good series…” (Cinema Blend)

Book relating to the show:

#6 White Teeth

This four-part drama, based on the Zadie Smith novel of the same name, follows four different male characters as they navigate their way through life. The series spans a twenty-year period from 1974 to 1992 and three different cultures, and chronicles how each of their lives interlink over time when different generations come to mix together in multi-cultural London.

Book relating to the show:

#7 The Durrells

If you have ever dreamt of packing your bags and heading to the Greek Island of Corfu, this is a series for you.

This autobiographical account dates back to 1935 when Mrs Durrell decides that her and her four children will be moving from the south coast of England to the Greek Island to help easy their poor financial position.

The series then follows this move and the battle they will have trying to adapt to a new way of life; a life that may be simpler due in part to a lack of modern amenities.

Will they be able to turn their fortunate around? Will they see Corfu as their little slice of paradise?

Books relating to the show:

 Mystery and Thrillers

#1 You

This psychological thriller follows Joe, a New York Bookstore Manager who obsesses over new customer Guinevere Beck. Joe quickly develops feelings for the young aspiring writer which turns into a toxic and delusional obsession.  

The infatuation reaches a sinister level when he starts to stalk her using social media and technology to track her presence and remove any obstacles standing in the way of Joe getting his girl.

Book relating to the show:

#2 The Stranger

A mystery stranger appears to tell Richard Armitage a secret that will have a devastating impact on his life.  This secret in turn, affects his wife who as a result, goes missing.

The stranger, a young woman who always appears wearing a baseball cap, starts to uncover more secrets that will destroy the lives of many surrounding Richard and his family.

Book relating to the show:

#3 The Sinner

Police detective, Harry Ambrose, investigates crimes committed by unlikely suspects in the hope that he will uncover their motives. He begins by delving into the past of Cora Tannetti, a troubled woman, to determine why she stabbed a man to death.

Book relating to the show:

#4 Wallander

Wallander is a Swedish police investigator working in a small town close to the city of Malmo. Similar to other great detectives Wallander has very few friends, consumes far too much alcohol and junk food, does particularly like exercise and has a bit of an anger problem. However, he is also fantastic at his job, solving crimes others would fail at.

If you are a fan of the detective then make sure you also watch Young Wallander, a prequel to this much loved detective series.

Books relating to the show:

#5 Alias Grace

Set in Canada during the 19th century Alias Grace tells the story of Grace Marks, an Irish immigrant and domestic servant.  Along with James McDermott a stable hand, they are accused and convicted for murdering their employer. While McDermott is killed by hanging, Grace is instead sentenced to life in prison, gaining the reputation as being one of the most notorious women in Canada’s history.

But was she insane when she committed the crime? A psychiatrist tries to uncover the whole truth.

Book relating to the show:

#6 The Woods

Set in Poland, and subtitled, The Woods follows the story of prosecutor Pawel Kopiński who is haunted by the disappearance of his sister.

Kamila disappeared more than 20 years ago while at summer camp. Along with her brother they spent their days making new friends, swimming at the lake, drinking and failing in love for the first time.

One night, Kamila and three other friends wander into the woods and something tragic happened. In the following days two are found, one with their throat slit another stabbed, but two remain missing.

Will Pawel ever be able to uncover the truth?

Book relating to the show:

#7 Perfume

When the corpse of a young lady is found on the banks of the Lower Rhine, investigations to find a murderer begin.  Before the investigation can really get underway however, more bodies start appearing leading to the search for a series killer.

The investigation stumbles upon a group of friends who are obsessed with scents, in particular human scents, all of whom are part of a secret club. Is this club the reason the young lady lost her life?

Book related to the show:

#8 The Innocent Man

A true crime documentary series follows the murder of two people in Ada, Oklahoma. The people accused continue to claim their innocence and when people try to exonerate them evidence comes to light that points towards police corruption and evidence manipulation.

Book related to the show:


#1 The Haunting of Bly Manor

The story follows the events unfold at this English country manor when an unsuspecting Au Pair is hired to look after the two children that live at Bly Manor. Hired by the children’s uncle, he seems to have missed out a vital piece of information during the hiring process: namely that the manor is haunted.

It is only after strange things start to occur and she begins to see the apparitions for herself that she starts to realise that the actions of the children are being influenced by the paranormal.

Book related to the show:

#2 The Haunting of Hill House

Flashing between the past and the present, we follow the story of five siblings who experienced paranormal activity at the house as children, still haunt them now.  The flashbacks depict events leading up to the fateful day when tragedy strikes and the family decided to leave.

Book related to the show:

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

#3 Dracula

Following Dracula from his origins in Eastern Europe to his battles, we discover more about the famed vampire and his legend through new gory tales and bloodthirsty adventures. Just when you think you know all there is know about this famous Transylvanian, new stories are discovered.

Book related to the show:

#4 The Mist

When an unexplained, impenetrable mist settles over Bridgeville in Maine the residents of the town begin to realise that their situation is even more severe than they first thought when strange things start to happen. Trapped, the residents begin to panic when an unexplained phenomena start to kill people off who appear to be guilty of something in their past.

Book related to the show:

Fantasy and Supernatural

#1 Bitten

The story begins by us being introduced to the only female werewolf in existence, Elena Michaels, who is torn between living a normal life with her human boyfriend and her pack’s commitments which would involve having to spend time with her ex-fiancé, the person responsible for her transformation.

Who will she choose?

Book related to the show:

#2 The Vampire Diaries

Mystic Falls is home to two brothers who have seen their fair share of disagreement and  family feuds, but then I suppose that would happen to anyone that have lived several lifetimes over.

Stefan and Damon Salvatore are vampires that have already been around for centuries when they met Elena Gilbert, who falls for one brother and then the other.  Until this time, the school girl is completely unaware of the supernatural of the town she has grown up.  Afterwards however, she is forced to acknowledge the many horrors lurking around the town.

Book related to the show:

#3 The Witcher

Set in a fantasy world, simply known as the continent, the legend of Geralt of Rivia and princess Ciri unfolds. As Geralt travels through the realm, the lone monster hunter struggles to find his place in a world where people appear to be more wicked then the beasts he fights.

Book related to the show:

#4 Shadowhunters

Clary Fray, after turning eighteen, finds out her whole life up until that point has been a lie and that she isn’t who she thought she was. In fact, she is what they call a shadowhunter, a human-angel hybrid who is meant to hunt demons for a living.

Before she knows it, Clary is thrown into the world of demon hunting with a mysterious, narcissistic group of shadowhunters while questioning everything she once believed.

Book related to the show:

#5 Hemlock Grove

The story follows Peter Rumancek, a gypsy boy and potential werewolf, and Roman Godfrey, a wealth heir, as they embark on a mission to solve and stop the series of awful murders that are ripping through their small town in Pennsylvania.

Book related to the show:

And if none of that takes your fancy…

How about a much loved TV show that focuses on a mother and daughter relationship and their colourful life. The Gilmore Girls explores themes surrounding family life, romance, education, friendship, ambition, social class and Rory’s love of books. In nearly every episode, which spans seven series, you will be exposed to at least one new novel or non-fictional title that has attracted her attention. In fact, for die-hard fans, there is even a Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge for anyone wanting to take on the task of reading everything mentioned during this well-loved show.

Have you got a favourite Netflix TV show based on a book that we haven’t mentioned?

Disclaimer: Some links in this article are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase through them, we receive a small commission. 

If you are based within the UK or the US and prefer to support independent bookshops, then you can find a full list of all the books and authors mentioned in this article on our bookshop page.

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24 tv shows that all bookworms should be watching. via @tbookjunkie

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