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Movies vs Books

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on August 18, 2011

Do you prefer to watch a movie first and then read the book, or vice versa?

I’ve done it both ways. Here are some movies I’ve watched that have spurred me to get the book: City of Ember, Legend of the Seeker, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, and the Alex Rider teen spy series, beginning with Operation: Stormbreaker. Even my husband has enjoyed these books, most of which are YA novels.

City of EmberCity of Ember book

Legend of the Seeker, on the other hand, is based on Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth epic fantasy series (see Wizard’s First Rule to get started). After seeing this show on TV, I was delighted to learn there were twelve books waiting for my reading pleasure. It didn’t matter that Disney altered the storyline to suit their audience. Both were equally enjoyable in their own right. Terry Goodkind is about to release a new book about his beloved characters. I can’t wait to read it.

Legend of the SeekerWizard's First Rule

Now we’ve discovered I Am Number Four after renting the DVD. This is book one in a proposed series, and a movie sequel is already planned. I recognized the hero of this film as being the same actor who played the lead in Alex Rider. Coincidence, huh?

Alex RiderNumber Four

Harry Potter stimulated me in the opposite direction. I read all the books, then devoured the films. I’d say the same for Jane Austen movies. I love those classic romances. Who hasn’t watched Pride and Prejudice multiple times? Ditto for films based on Charles Dickens titles. And another remake of The Three Musketeers will soon appear on screen.

There’s one novel I am not rushing out to read, and that’s the one based on Castle, the witty TV show starring Nathan Fillion as a bestselling mystery writer. I can pass on the book supposedly written by his character because I’m not fond of movie or TV tie-in stories. I’d rather read original works by an author, where the world building originates in his imagination. Thus I’m willing to read books after watching a film based on the work, but I won’t run out to buy a book solely derived from the movie.

What about you? Do movies excite you to read the original book, or would you rather read the book first and then watch the film?


5 Responses to “Movies vs Books”

  1. While I don’t have any pattern for watching either a movie or reading the book first, I do have an experiece to share. Usually whichever comes first–book or movie–the book most often is better. Over and over again, I’ve heard people say the same thing.

    The one instance I recall where I was convinced the movie surpassed even a fine book was the film made of Alice Walker’s THE COLOR PURPLE. Remember the opening scene when the children were laughing and racing through a chest high field of sunflowers? Then they burst through the flowers and one of the girls was heavily pregnant. A breath taking moment. A visual moment. Over and over again in this film, the acting and the nuances of body language along with the dialogue made for an unforgettable viewing experience. But that said, the anchor of Alice Walker’s words is the basis for that creative reinvention.

  2. Thanks for sharing, Jean! I haven’t seen that film but it makes me curious.

  3. om didien said

    all the curious movie? i like it. thanks for sharing.

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