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Sandi Shilhanek |The Great Debate: Read the Book or Watch the Movie?

February 8, 2009

Sandi ShilhanekIf you follow my contributions to this blog you know that I often get my inspiration from one of my many yahoo groups. Thanks to one of those groups I have my idea for this week…. what is your opinion of books made into movies?

The book being discussed is The Secret Life of Bees, which I personally have not read. I have not seen the movie either, but am being led to believe it shall soon be available on DVD.

So the dilemma is…do I read the book first or watch the movie first?

What would you do?

Pelican Brief The Client

What about when you have already read a book, such as when I had already read The Pelican Brief by John Grisham, and then it was turned into a movie.

Naturally I had to see the movie, and I felt very satisfied that the movie followed the book.

However, when I read The Client (my personal favorite Grisham book) I was disappointed when I saw the movie because I didn’t think it followed the book well at all.

This leads to the idea of Harry Potter…the books versus the movies. Naturally they can’t put everything from such a large book into a movie. Should they break it into several movies, or should they do as Reader’s Digest does and show a condensed version?

As you can see I’ve got lots of questions and not many answers about books and the movies they turn into. I’m hoping that because you came here to read this week’s contribution that you can provide me with some good answers, or at least some interesting ideas to ponder.

Until next week…

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Readers ‘n ‘ritas…celebrating literary obsessions

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  • Brandy W February 8, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Sandi…great question about books and movies. I left a comment on the main page and not the blog. Hmmm…hope that’s okay. I will say that I prefer one or the other. There aren’t many books that I’ve seen as movies as well. My exception is the Harry Potter series. My children like the movies or at least the ones they have seen. They aren’t too into reading the books yet though I have.

  • LKap February 8, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    I prefer books and usually have a hard time seeing the movie because they don’t typically run the way my imagination pictured it. But that’s me

  • EmilyBryan February 8, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Definitely read the book first. That way you may decide you don’t need to see the movie. Invariably, the movie is a disappointment because I’ve already seen in all in the theatre of my mind.

  • Summer February 8, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    You it really depends…I read Circle of Friends and preferred the movie over the book. On the other hand, I love listening to Tom Clancy audio books, I’ve never been able to make it through all his jargon to read the books, but I love the movies.

  • Qwill February 8, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    I usually read the book first. And sometimes if I hear that the movie is wildly different than the book I won’t see it, if I really liked the book. Sometimes though it’s simply impossible for a movie to capture an entire book. Then I try to think of the movie and book as being related but not the same at all and try to see/read them on their own merits.

  • WK February 8, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    Ha, I remembered my password!

    Great post.
    Hummm I think it just depends. Some books, like with BONES from Kathy Reiches, she’s allowed the series to go in a completely different direction than her books and let it be known that she was doing this. Therefore the series can do things the book won’t and go in ways the books can’t. I think that’s great. Readers don’t go in looking for the books and fans of the show know the books won’t match the TVseries.

    I can’t really think of any others that work that great. But I think if it’s handled well a movie can work great. But I probably prefer the book to the movie.


  • Fantasy Dreamer February 11, 2009 at 11:39 pm

    IMHO, the book is usually 99% of the time better than the movie. Most of time I have already the book when a book based movie comes out. But, if I haven’t, I always try to read the book first. My reasons: 1) Because you can’t get as much detail in two a 2 hour movie. 2) Nothing can beat your imagination.

    An example, The Da Vinci Code, even though I like Tom Hanks as an actor, I never would of picked him for the lead. Tom just isn’t how I pictured Robert Langdon. Plus, didn’t like how they ended the movie.

  • Joy February 13, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    I usually try to do both but seem to always prefer the book over the movie.