What comes first for you? The book or the movie?

What comes first for you – the book or the movie?

Does a book get on your reading radar when a new movie based on it is coming out? Do you then rush out to read it before seeing the movie? Or do you go and see a movie based on having read the book? For me, probably like most of you, it is a mixture of both. I read all The Hunger Games books before going to see the first movie. Likewise, I went to see the film version of Life of Pi because I loved the book so much (the movie was fantastic too!).

“The book is so much better than the movie”

Do you find yourself saying that? I do. Even though I love movies almost as much as I love books, I inevitably always think the book is better. I guess it’s because they can squeeze so much into the novel that they can’t into the movie. Plus, I’m a purist. I’m one of those annoying people who will drive you crazy during a movie by saying, “that didn’t happen in the book!” There are only two exceptions that I can think of: The Lord of the Rings movies were much more entertaining than the book and I loved Gone With The Wind both in book and film version.

Right now I seem to be going through a film tie-in reading phase

I just read:

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

I can’t wait to see the movie!

I’m now reading:

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

I was going to get the DVD and then bought the book at a sale. So I have to read the book first!

See the film. Read the book?

What I don’t usually do is see a movie and then go and read the book. I saw the film Silver Linings Playbook but see no need to read the book. I loved The Hobbit movie but probably won’t ever get around to reading the book. I confess to seeing more than a few Nicholas Sparks movies but have never picked up the corresponding book. And while I loved the film The Help, I never did read the book version – even when it was given to me by my mum. I just don’t go from the film to the book.


Is anyone else like this? How do films influence your reading habits?

7 thoughts on “What comes first for you? The book or the movie?

  1. ostriche April 22, 2013 / 8:05 pm

    The books comes first. It let your imagination free..


  2. booksonthetube April 22, 2013 / 9:03 pm

    Generally I like to read the book first but I think if you want to enjoy both it’s best to see the film first. If you know the book then you go in with an expectation of what’s going to happen, what the characters look and sound like etc which the movie never lives up to.

    On the other hand if you see the film first then reading the book is like getting all the backstage gossip, the extra details which embelish the story and give it more depth.


  3. northmum April 22, 2013 / 11:47 pm

    I disagree with booksonthetube – I think that enjoying the film can actually prevent your enjoying the book. This happened to me with Maeve Binchy’s Circle of Friends. I saw the film when it first came out in 1995 but didn’t read the book until about 2 years later. The book’s ending is far more bittersweet than the film’s, which would have been fine had I not been expecting something much more unequivocally happy and upbeat, which meant I was actually quite disappointed and let down on reaching the end of the book. Since films, if they’re going to alter the ending of the story, would tend to change it in that direction, I reckon you’re safer reading the book before watching the film. Since that time I have NEVER watched a film first and have even returned DVDs unwatched to Lovefilm if I haven’t got around to reading the book!
    When we went to see the first Lord of the Rings film I had finished reading the first book just in time, and it caused me some serious confusion to see things happening at the end of the film that were completely unexpected to me. My husband had to explain that the final events of the first film actually come at the start of the second book so that was a bit of a spoiler!


  4. northmum April 22, 2013 / 11:53 pm

    Just realised another way in which books can impact on my watching films is by making me not want to see them! Eg recently I read Life of Pi as when the film came out I realised I’d never read it. I found it quite bloodthirsty and I don’t think I want to see the film now! It was the same with Jude the Obscure – it was filmed in 1996 in Durham while I was at uni there and although part of me would like to see some familiar places on film, having read the book at about the same time it was being filmed I have no desire to see some of those scenes played out graphically before my eyes, the mental picture was quite enough!


    • janereads April 23, 2013 / 10:44 am

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on films versus books. Glad to see that someone shares my views on wanting to read the book first before seeing the film. The Life of Pi film is a bit bloodthirsty in parts, but visually stunning.


  5. jessicabookworm April 23, 2013 / 1:29 am

    I generally like to read the book first but if I haven’t I don’t let it put me off watching a film I fancy that is based on a book. I don’t always think the book is better than the film either. I just love seeing a familiar story told through a different medium. I specifically look out for screen, stage, and TV adaptations of my favourite books to watch.


    • janereads April 23, 2013 / 10:46 am

      I have to agree with you on the TV adaption side of things. I watch anything associated with Pride and Prejudice just to see a new spin on a story I love so much.


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