Great books adapted into great films – win a Silver Travel goody bag!

Travel Talk

Silver Travel Book Club

Win a Silver Travel goody bag by letting us know about your own thoughts on book-to-film adaptations. More information below.

How are you coping with the current unprecedented and distressing times? Your own health, and that of family and friends, is obviously of paramount importance, but we also have to deal with self-isolation and social distancing. And not being able to travel!

We’ve already seen some interesting and useful articles from the Silver Travel Advisor team:

The team coping with isolation
Travel the World on Lockdown
Journeys in the Mind
Thoughts of a Lockdown
Welcome to Your Hotel at Home

TripFiction And of course you can always carry on travelling through the pages of a book. Our Silver Travel Book Club partner TripFiction exists to let you find books – novels, memoirs and travelogues – with a strong sense of place, allowing you to explore a destination through an author’s eyes. 

And building on an original article from TripFiction, the Silver Travel Advisor Team thought we’d share with you a few great films that have been successfully adapted from books. We hope these provide you with some opportunities to travel vicariously during lockdown, whether through page or screen.

Empire of the Sun by JG Ballard Empire of the Sun

Set in Shanghai
Book by J. G. Ballard
Film released in 1987

The classic, heart-rending story of a British boy’s four-year ordeal in a Japanese prison camp during the Second World War.

Based on J. G. Ballard’s own childhood, this is the extraordinary account of a boy’s life in Japanese-occupied wartime Shanghai – a mesmerising, hypnotically compelling novel of war, of starvation and survival, of internment camps and death marches. It blends searing honesty with an almost hallucinatory vision of a world thrown utterly out of joint.

Rooted as it is in the author’s own disturbing experience of war in our time, it is one of a handful of novels by which the twentieth century will be not only be remembered but judged.

Nominated for 6 Oscars. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Starring Christian Bale, John Malkovich & Miranda Richardson.

Silver Travel Advisor recommends Wendy Wu Tours for travel to Shanghai.

Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara The Motorcycle Diaries

Set in South America
Book by Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara
Film released in 2004

In January 1952, two young men from Buenos Aires set out to explore South America on a 500cc Norton. One of them was the twenty-three-year-old Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara.

Written eight years before the Cuban Revolution, these are the diaries of Che Guevara, full of disasters and discoveries, high drama and laddish improvisations. Touring through Argentina, Chile, Peru and Venezuela, his greatest concerns are where the next drink is coming from, where the next bed is to be found and who might be around to share it.

Within a decade Che Guevara would be a household name. His trip might have been the adventure of a lifetime – had his lifetime not turned into a much greater adventure.

Won 1 Oscar. Directed by Walter Salles. Starring Gael Garcia Bernal & Rodrigo de la Serna.

Silver Travel Advisor recommends Sunvil and Jules Verne for travel to South America.

The Shipping News by Annie Proulx The Shipping News

Set in Newfoundland
Book by Annie Proulx
Film released in 2001

Annie Proulx’s highly acclaimed, international bestseller and Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.

Quoyle is a hapless, hopeless hack journalist living and working in New York. When his no-good wife is killed in a spectacular road accident, Quoyle heads for the land of his forefathers the remotest corner of far-flung Newfoundland. With ‘the aunt’ and his delinquent daughters – Bunny and Sunshine – in tow, Quoyle finds himself part of an unfolding, exhilarating Atlantic drama.

‘The Shipping News’ is an irresistible comedy of human life and possibility.

Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Directed by Lasse Hallstrom. Starring Kevin Spacey, Julianne Moore & Judy Dench.

Silver Travel Advisor recommends Canadian Sky for travel to Newfoundland.

Atonement by Ian McEwan Atonement

Set in England and Dunkirk
Book by Ian McEwan
Film released in 2007

On the hottest day of the summer of 1935, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis sees her sister Cecilia strip off her clothes and plunge into the fountain in the garden of their country house. Watching her too is Robbie Turner who, like Cecilia, has recently come down from Cambridge.

By the end of that day, the lives of all three will have been changed for ever, as Briony commits a crime for which she will spend the rest of her life trying to atone.

Won 1 Oscar. Directed by Joe Wright. Starring Saoirse Ronan, Keira Knightley & James McAvoy.

Silver Travel Advisor recommends Shearings Battlefield Tours for travel in the UK and France.

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby High Fidelity

Set in London (book) and Chicago (film)
Book by Nick Hornby
Film released in 2000

Do you know your desert-island, all-time, top five most memorable split-ups? Rob does. He keeps a list, in fact. But Laura isn’t on it – even though she’s just become his latest ex. He’s got his life back, you see. He can just do what he wants when he wants: like listen to whatever music he likes, look up the girls that are on his list, and generally behave as if Laura never mattered.

But Rob finds he can’t move on. He’s stuck in a really deep groove – and it’s called Laura. Soon, he’s asking himself some big questions: about love, about life – and about why we choose to share ours with the people we do.

Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Directed by Stephen Frears. Starring John Cusack, Jack Black & Iben Hjejle.

Silver Travel Advisor recommends Frontier America for travel to the USA.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini The Kite Runner

Set in Afghanistan and USA
Book by Khaled Hosseini
Film released in 2007

The Kite Runner of Khaled Hosseini’s deeply moving fiction debut is an illiterate Afghan boy with an uncanny instinct for predicting exactly where a downed kite will land. Growing up in the city of Kabul in the early 1970s, Hassan was narrator Amir’s closest friend even though the loyal 11-year-old with “a face like a Chinese doll” was the son of Amir’s father’s servant and a member of Afghanistan’s despised Hazara minority. But in 1975, on the day of Kabul’s annual kite-fighting tournament, something unspeakable happened between the two boys.

Narrated by Amir, a 40-year-old novelist living in California, The Kite Runner tells the gripping story of a boyhood friendship destroyed by jealousy, fear, and the kind of ruthless evil that transcends mere politics. Running parallel to this personal narrative of loss and redemption is the story of modern Afghanistan and of Amir’s equally guilt-ridden relationship with the war-torn city of his birth. The first Afghan novel to be written in English, The Kite Runner begins in the final days of King Zahir Shah’s 40-year reign and traces the country’s fall from a secluded oasis to a tank-strewn battlefield controlled by the Russians and then the trigger-happy Taliban. When Amir returns to Kabul to rescue Hassan’s orphaned child, the personal and the political get tangled together in a plot that is as suspenseful as it is taut with feeling.

Nominated for 1 Oscar. Directed by Marc Forster. Starring Khalid Abdalla, Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada & Atossa Leoni.

Silver Travel Advisor recommends Frontier America for travel to the USA.

Win a Silver Travel goody bag

Do you agree that these memorable books were adapted into equally compelling films? Which books have you enjoyed reading and which were subsequently adapted successfully on to the big screen? We’d love to hear from you. Please just leave a comment below, and the best entry will win a Silver Travel bag packed with treats!

209 people found this helpful

Share Article:

Andrew Morris

Travel writer

Leave a comment


Sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest travel tips on top destinations.

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Most Recent Articles

Mark Nicholls visits Austria’s snowiest ski resort and stumbles across a chapter of pop history….

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.