(Balzer + Bray)

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Lee Israel’s memoir gave Melissa McCarthy a long-awaited chance to star in a movie worthy of her talents. She’s getting some best-actress buzz for her portrayal of Israel, a prolific fraud who sold forgeries of collectible letters.

Crazy Rich Asians

The blockbuster book by Kevin Kwan turned into a blockbuster movie that debuted in August — usually a sleepy month for box-office returns. Not in this case. The romantic dramedy has raked in more than $230 million worldwide and counting.

The Hate U Give

Amandla Stenberg delivered a star-making performance in the adaptation of Angie Thomas’s topical YA book about a girl who witnesses her unarmed childhood friend get shot by a police officer.

If Beale Street Could Talk

Barry Jenkins, the Oscar-winning writer and director of “Moonlight,” applied his considerable talents to adapting James Baldwin’s 1974 romantic drama. The movie premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival to rapturous praise.

Patrick Melrose

In an ingenious bit of casting, the Showtime miniseries stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the highborn but damaged-goods lead in the series adaptation of Edward St. Aubyn’s novels.

Paddington 2

One of the most delightful surprises of the year was this feel-good talking-bear adaptation of Michael Bond’s classic tales, which appeared to be just as much fun for the star-studded cast — Hugh Grant as a villainous ham, Brendan Gleeson playing a convict with a heart of golden marmalade — as for the audience.


(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

Sharp Objects

Amy Adams starred in the HBO limited-series version of Gillian Flynn’s psychological thriller, which delivered all the disturbing twists of the novel with deft atmospheric touches from director Jean-Marc Vallée.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

This huge success for Netflix made instant stars of its leads, Lana Condor and Noah Centineo, who play two teens posing as a couple in the adaptation of Jenny Han’s YA rom-com.

The Wife

Based on Meg Wolitzer’s novel, the film stars Glenn Close as a woman who becomes disillusioned with her Nobel Prize-winning husband. Close is so good in the role, awards prognosticators wonder if this will (finally!) be her Oscar-winning moment.


Lifetime transformed itself into a must-watch destination with this series based on Caroline Kepnes’s 2014 novel. The show, which was picked up for a second season, stars Penn Badgley and Elizabeth Lail in a story about a man who begins to obsessively stalk his new love interest.

Stephanie Merry is editor of Book World.