Required Reading: 11 Great Literary Spin-offs

A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley (inspired by King Lear by William Shakespeare)

Smiley’s contemporary spin on the classic tragedy, set in the cornfields of Iowa and told from Goneril’s viewpoint, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1992. If you’ve only seen the horrible film version — which starred Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jessica Lange, and Michelle Pfeiffer — do yourself a favor, and pick up a copy of the book. You’ll quickly realize how much effort must have gone in to butchering such rich source material.