7 books that inspired Emmy-nominated movies and series

Rather read than watch the film or TV show? This list is for you.

Margaret Atwood's novel The Handmaid's Tale was a critical darling when first published in 1985, winning the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction. Its recent jump back onto bestseller lists can partially be credited to the new and widely acclaimed television adaptation starring Elisabeth Moss. The series received 13 Emmy Award nominations, including outstanding drama series and several nominations for the cast.

The Emmy Awards show broadcasts live on Sept. 17, 2017. If you'd rather read than watch the TV show, here are seven books that inspired Emmy-nominated television shows.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's Tale TV adaptation stars Elisabeth Moss in the role of Offred. (Emblem Editions/George Kraychyk/Hulu)

What it's about: This classic 1985 novel explores a dystopian republic called Gilead, in which women are cast in subservient roles to a small group of powerful men. Women's actions, clothing and thoughts are strictly dictated and monitored. The book is told from the perspective of Offred, a handmaid, who has been taken from her husband and child, educated in the new world order and forced to bear children for powerful families.

Emmy nominations: 13 in total, including outstanding drama series, outstanding lead actress in a drama series (Elisabeth Moss) and two nominations for outstanding supporting actress in a drama series (Ann Dowd & Samira Wiley). The show took home three wins at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards on Sept. 10, 2017.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Reese Witherspoon stars as Madeline, an uptight alpha mom, in HBO's series adaptation of the bestselling thriller Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. (Berkley/Hilary Bronwyn Gale/HBO via AP)

What it's about: Liane Moriarty's bestselling thriller is the story of a murder and the three unlikely women caught up in the investigation: Madeline, a brilliant, harsh and enigmatic person; her best friend Celeste, a beautiful woman who harbours dark secrets; and Jane, a young single mom who recently moved to town.

Emmy nominations: 16, including two for outstanding lead actress in a limited series or movie (Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon), outstanding supporting actor in a limited series or movie (Alexander Skarsgard), two for outstanding supporting actress in a limited series or movie (Laura Dern and Shailene Woodley) and outstanding limited series. Big Little Lies picked up three wins at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards on Sept. 10, 2017.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

The HBO adaptation of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks starred Rose Byrne as author Rebecca Skloot and Oprah Winfrey as Deborah Lacks, daughter of Henrietta Lacks. (Crown/Quantrell Colbert/HBO via AP)

What it's about: This book recounts the true story of Henrietta Lacks, a poor tobacco farmer from the American south, whose cells were taken and used in medical research without her knowledge or consent. HeLa cells, as they were known to researchers, were crucial in developing the polio vaccine, making advancements in in vitro fertilization and understanding cancer. Lacks' own children did not know about their mother's involvement in these medical breakthroughs until more than two decades after her death.

Emmy nominations: The TV movie, starring Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne, received a nomination in the outstanding television movie category.

Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson

Geoffrey Rush stars as Albert Einstein in the National Geographic adaptation of Walter Isaacson's biography, Einstein: His Life and Universe. (Simon & Schuster/Dusan Martincek/National Geographic via AP)

What it's about: In this biography, Walter Isaacson delves deep into the life of Albert Einstein — his brilliant, fearless mind, his early years as a frustrated patent clerk and his path to everlasting stardom.

Emmy nominations: 10 in total, including outstanding lead actor in a limited series or movie (Geoffrey Rush) and outstanding limited series.

The Wizard of Lies by Diana B. Henriques

Robert De Niro stars as Bernie Madoff in HBO's TV movie adaptation of Diana B. Henriques' book The Wizard of Lies. (Bell Media/HBO Canada)

What it's about: A nonfiction book by journalist Diana B. Henriques about how New York financier Bernie Madoff swindled $65 billion U.S. from his friends, relatives and outside investors — the biggest Ponzi scheme in history.

Emmy nominations: Four altogether, including one for Robert De Niro for outstanding lead actor in a limited series or movie, one for Michelle Pfeiffer for oustanding supporting actress in a limited series or movie and one for outsanding television movie.

House of Cards by Michael Dobbs

Kevin Spacey stars as Francis Underwood in the Netflix political thriller House of Cards, based on the novel by Michael Dobbs. (David Giesbrecht/Netflix via AP)

What it's about: Originally published in 1989, House of Cards launched the writing career of British politician Michael Dobbs. Set in the U.K., the thriller follows a Machiavellian politician named Francis Urquhart who is dead set on becoming prime minister.

Emmy nominations: Seven nominations in 2017, including outstanding drama series and lead acting nominations for Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. House of Cards won an award at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards on Sept. 10, 2017. Over its five season run, the show has collected seven Emmy Awards.

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

Uzo Aduba portrays Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren in the Netflix series Orange is the New Black. The series is inspired by the memoir by Piper Kerman. (JoJo Whilden/Netflix)

What it's about: A 2010 memoir by Piper Kerman, who recounts her time as inmate #11187-424 at a Connecticut penitentiary. A decade after carrying a suitcase of drug money, Kerman is sentenced to 15 months in prison.

Emmy nominations: The series received two nominations in 2017, one for Uzo Aduba's portrayal of Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren and one for Laverne Cox as Sophia Burset. After five seasons, the show has amassed four Emmy Awards and 19 nominations.


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