Monday, February 28, 2011

Books to Movies...

Every reader is different. Some prefer to watch the movie before they have the slightest interest in reading the book, others are hardcore readers and won't go near a film adaptation for fear it will destroy the story they've come to love. My own tastes are somewhat varied. On the average I am the type of person who prefers to read the book before I watch the movie, but there have been a number of occasions where I have done just the opposite.

I enjoyed reading William Shakeapear's plays as a teenager, but I often struggled to understand the writing style, setting, and vocabulary. It was after viewing film adaptations of Henry V and Much Ado About Nothing that I appreciated what truly excellent pieces of literature these plays were. As a 16 year old I attempted to read Jane Austen, but failed to get "into" the story until I sat down and watched the six-hour BBC miniseries adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Then everything changed and I quickly discovered what a wonderful writer and storyteller Austen was and Pride and Prejudice became a life-long favorite read. Charles Dickens is another author that I sometimes find a challenge to read, but thanks to yet another BBC adaptation I was able to read his longest novel, Bleak House and thoroughly enjoy the intricate details I might have otherwise missed.

But there have also been the occasions when I've decided the book is a much better read than the movie. Case in point, Gone With the Wind. Good movie, but the book was so much better. It had richer detail and the character development was such that I found myself understanding the characters and the story in a totally different way than I had anticipated.

No matter which category you fall into, reading a book or watching the film adaption are a definite way to carry on the enjoyment of a good story.

The Academy Awards were last night and the topic of movies and where they originated is a topic fresh in many people's minds. To coincide with this, the Lincoln, Nebraska public library has put together a list of the films awarded "Best Picture" by the Academy Awards and listed them next to the short stories, plays, and books that each screenplay originated from. In their words, "You've seen the movie... Now read the book!" Or, perhaps if you've read the book, then maybe it's time to consider watching the movie.

Check out the list as well as several other book-to-film lists and see what you've read (or watched) and loved and how you can enjoy the story still further.

- You've Seen the movie... Now read the book (Lincoln, NE Public Library)
- From Books to Movies (Arrowhead Library System, WI)
- Kids Reads: Books to Movies
- Wikipedia: Films Based on Books
- Upcoming Films Based on Books (2011)

Happy reading (or viewing)!


zetor said...

Movies have helped in my 'understanding' of some books ---'Pride and Prejudice 'and Taylor and Burton in 'The Taming of the Shrew' is wonderful.

Nana Fredua-Agyeman said...

Thanks. This is something I have also thought about. I haven't watched many book-based movies and so cannot make such an objective analyses as you have made here. thanks all the same.

S. Mehrens said...

Zetor, Taming of the Shrew is a hilarious play. I don't think I've seen the adaptation of it. Will have to check it out.

Nana, it's a fun reading idea. There are only a couple (two or three) books that I've read that were on the Best Picture list. I see a few more I'd like to read.