Monday, August 22, 2011

Read the Book or Watch the Movie?

With the growing number of books being made into movies, I felt the need to tackle a debated issue. What should be done first: read the book or watch the movie?

I’ve never been one to be choosy either way. Usually what ends up being the case for me is that I grow up watching the movie before knowing about the book, then I read the book. Or I read the book and suddenly, they’re making a movie out of it. I don’t get the choice most of the time.

One that’s coming up soon is The Hunger Games. It will be out March 23rd 2012. I haven’t read the book yet. I know, I know. You’re probably thinking, “YOU HAVEN’T READ IT YET?!” I’m crazy to be this far behind. I hear it’s amazing. I have it downloaded to my Nook and I’m pretty excited to read it. With the movie’s premiere date approaching rapidly, it comes down to the above question.

As a book lover, I feel that reading the book is the best thing to do first if you can. I’d say 9 times out of 10 the book is generally better than the movie. Sometimes it’s hard for them to make a good book into a good movie. There’s so much to a book, so many details, and fitting it into 1 ½ to 2 hours is pretty near impossible.

On the other hand, a few movies and TV shows have piqued my interest in the book that originated it. Just like I said before in my review of Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar. I tried to read it before, couldn’t get into it, saw the show, read the book, liked it. Same with Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Saw the movie, had to read the book.

The movie The Help just came out recently, and it’s getting rave reviews (not to mention was being plastered all over Goodreads). At first, I was curious and wanted to read the book. The more I thought about it, I don’t know if it’s a book I can really sink my teeth into. It’s not really a genre I’m familiar with and before when I tried reading in the genre, my interest couldn’t stay alive. Then a coworker of mine strongly recommended it to me. Then a friend mentioned to my brother how great the movie was. And then I sigh.

I bought The Hunger Games because it was talked about constantly, and because it was actually being filmed (not just “in the works” of getting started like a lot of other novels turned books). With this one, I am definitely interested in reading the book before watching the movie. With The Help, you’re more likely going to get me to see the movie and we’ll see if I read the book.

It’s a never ending battle. I’m curious about everyone else: Do you have a hard and fast rule of always doing one or the other first? Or does it depend on the genre? I’d love to find out!

(Sometime later I’ll discuss movies from books that completely do everything wrong, there’s just too much to talk about there!)



  1. Drop everything and read The Hunger Games! You won't be sorry! It's better than the reviews. Generally, I would read the book before watching a movie. Only because I am really OCD and if there is a book I need to know what's going on. If I happen to find out a great movie was actually a book to begin with than I would still read the book afterwards. So I guess the moral of the story is...either way is fine with me!

  2. Great question! I either watch the movie, or I read the book. It does not happen very often that I do both, because I feel I already know the story so what's the point in reading/watching it?!
    With the Hunger Games I am torned. I LOVED the books and I want to see the movie! But what if they mess it up? Once I watch the movie, the books will never be the same again... Dilemma!

  3. I can do it either way. I saw both Twilight and I Am Number Four in movies before reading the books (love the book for Twilight much better than the movie.) On the other hand, take the Harry Potter series, I think both movies and movies were amazing, even though I read the books before watching the movies.

  4. This is something I can never decide on either. If I read a book first, then I almost never like the movie. I've already decided how things are in my head and very rarely is the filmmaker's vision the same as mine. However, if I see the film first, it can be difficult to imagine the characters as anything other than the actors who play them. Like with Gossip Girl, in the books Jenny has curly red hair, but I can't ever make myself see that - in my head, I can only see Taylor Momsen.

    So...I don't know. Sorry I can't be more helpful!

  5. I generally try to read the book first, but then I am usually disappointed in the movie (I think the worst I encountered was Memoirs of a Geisha, the movie was such a let down). There have been times though that I have seen a movie and had to read the books, like Twilight, I didn't think I would enjoy the books and then the movie was on TV so I watched it and the next day I got the books.

  6. Lan: You crack me up! I would totally be reading it next if not for my reading challenges. I'm finishing up my Summer Reading Challenge, and then I need to finish the Off The Shelf challenge. I should plan on reading it right after I finish the SRC. ^_^

    Selina: YES! I always worry about that, loving the book but hating the movie.

    Liza: Twilight the book was definitely better than the movie. :)

    TG: I know! I'm so used to TV Jenny too, I just picture her when I read the book.

    Angie: Isn't that just the worst? Loving a book and then hating the movie. It is nice when the movie hype makes you interested in the books.

  7. Good discussion topic! And I actually have a preference. I like to watch the movie first. If I read the book first I inevitably hate the movie, but if I watch the movie first, I've only wasted two hours of my life if it sucked, but if it interested me I'll try the book, and I usually end up loving it too. Of course, there are books that I read ages ago that are now having movies made so I don't have the choice of seeing the movie first. And even though I know I won't like it I usually watch it anyway.

  8. I prefer reading the book before I see a movie, but I've done it the other way around before too. It doesn't really matter to me -- it's an individual preference thing, I think :D

  9. Jenny: That's a good philosophy! One that reaffirms my thoughts on The Help... plus that other new one with Anne Hathaway in it, One Day. I'd rather waste 2 hours than my quality reading time.

    Jinny: Yep! Everyone's got a different view on this. You think like me, either way it's okay. :)

  10. I always try to read the book first.
    I'm trying to think of any movies that I saw before I read the book, and I'm totally stumped.
    I don't see movies very often though.


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