Thursday, August 28, 2014

Books that turned into movies

Lately I've been on a kick where I've been reading books just so I can see the movies of the same stories. In general, I prefer to read the book first, since the book is the original story (most of the time, ahem, Star Wars). Without the book, there would be no movie! So I like to give credit where credit is due, and read the true author's version first. Plus, the book is usually better. Here is my reading list:

What's Next:
Book cover picture from; Movie cover from

1. Mockingjay: This is the third book in the Hunger Games series. The movie comes out in November (well, the first part of it anyway...), so I need to read this book before I go see it.

Book cover picture from; Movie cover from
2. Much Ado About Nothing: This is one Shakespeare play I never got to in school. But I bought a copy of the play from the library for 50 cents, so I figured I'd give it a go. The new movie looks fabulous, so when I finish reading the play I'm going to have a girls' movie night!

Just Finished:
Book cover picture from; Movie cover from
1. Ender's Game: I finished the book this week (thanks to my many metro rides that gave me plenty of reading time). My friends have always said this is a great book, so I finally got around to reading it. It is very action-packed, which keeps you hooked. I will say that I think I would have enjoyed the book more if I were a pre-pubescent boy, but what can you do. I did enjoy the story, but the end did throw me for a loop. I'm going to see the movie this weekend (thank you, Netflix), so I'll get to compare the two!
Book cover picture from; Movie cover from

2. The Fault in Our Stars: I read this book in three days; I couldn't put it down! I saw previews for the movie and predicted that I would cry while watching it. I cried while reading the book (while waiting for the metro, out in public...), so now I KNOW I'm going to cry during the movie. 

Book cover picture from; Movie cover from

3. Life of Pi: I wanted to read this book for ages and only just went to the library and actually read it. I was very captivated by the story (it has animals in it, so of course I liked it!), and the twist at the end was very unexpected. Next movie night!

Other books I've read that turned into movies:
Book cover picture from; Movie cover from

1. Memoirs of a Geisha: Love this book, love this movie. The movie was very true to the book, which only made me love it more. The mysteries of a geisha have always fascinated me, and this book/movie pair lets you in on the secrets. 

Book cover picture created from image on; Movie cover photo from
2. The Golden Compass: Again, another book that friends read in middle school that I'm just getting around to. I was told that the movie is horrible, but I figured I'd read the book so I could watch it anyway. Again, I liked this book because of the action and the animals (spirit animals, hello?!). The book is slightly dark, and quite deep with its religious undertones (or overtones rather). I did see the movie, and yes, it was awful; I fell asleep while watching. This is the first book of a series, so I read the following two stories as well. I enjoyed those books, too; it's too bad the first movie was terrible, otherwise we'd have two more movies to see!
Click here for image link.
Click here for image link.

3. Twilight: I read this book the summer after my freshman year in college (I borrowed my sister's copy; she had read it WAY before it was famous). I was entertained, and ended up reading the whole series. And that of course meant that I had to see all of the movies: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn (Part I and Part II) . I thought the movies were pretty good; Edward and Jacob were cast perfectly (Bella...not so much. Not a big Kristen Stewart fan.). I'm not a cult fan of the books or anything like that, but I enjoyed what I saw (though the last book did NOT need to be made into two movies!).
Book cover picture from; Movie covers from and
4. Pride & Prejudice: I saw the A&E series while growing up (my parents LOVE it; they recite lines from it to each other...gag). I read the book for high school English class my senior year, and having seen the mini-series, I understood the book better. I actually caught on to the humor (in most literature the humor flies right over my head), and I could perfectly picture the story in my mind (because the A&E version is THAT good). The recent movie starring Keira Knightley was just awful in comparison. Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy is perfection. He IS Mr. Darcy, and no one else. 

Images from and
 5. The Hunger Games and Catching Fire: These are the first two books from the Hunger Games series. I tore through the first book in a couple of days, and I love the movie (the "love" connection between Katniss and Peeta is more palpable on screen). The second book was not as good but still entertaining; ditto goes for the movie.

Book cover picture from; Movie cover from

6. The Grapes of Wrath: I have not read a more depressing story IN MY LIFE. Things go from bad to worse over and over again in this book; this family cannot catch a break! The movie has a slightly brighter ending, but still, the majority of the story is just SO sad. Not in an emotional way (at least not for me, not like The Fault in Our Stars sad), but just shitty, like you can't believe the horrible luck of this family. But if you're going to read this, just remember: Biblical metaphors.

Some exceptions:
Book cover picture from; Movie cover from
1. Anna Karenina: I will admit that I purposefully saw the new Anna Karenina movie before I read the book. But that's because the book is so intimidating! It's longer than a Harry Potter book! I think including the notes section, the version I read was more than 1,000 pages. So the movie was not only a kick in the pants to actually read the book, but also helped me understand the story. With such a long book, and the fact that there are plenty of philosophical tangents and switching between characters, the movie helped me follow the storyline of the book.

Book cover picture from; Movie cover from
2. The Joy Luck Club: I saw this movie first, too, but that's because I didn't know there was a book (written by Amy Tan, one of my favorite authors). I watched this movie a million times growing up (totally a mother-daughter chick flick), but I didn't read the book until I was in high school. Because I loved the movie so much, it tainted my experience of the book. I either could predict what was going to happen, or some of my favorite scenes from the movie aren't actually in the book (I'm usually annoyed when a movie strays from the book, but in this case, I knew the movie first, so there you go.). So totally see the movie!

Book photo from; Movie covers from
I am sure you are wondering where the Lord of the Rings books are on this list. I have not read them, nor do I plan to. The movies are amazing (though too long in my opinion), and I'm just going to leave it at that. As Jim Gaffigan would say, "You know what I liked about the movie? No reading!" Well, except the Elvish subtitles.

I'm sure there are other books I have read that turned into movies that I have forgotten to add to this list. And I KNOW there are plenty of movies I have seen and didn't even know they were based upon books. Here's just one list I found. I'm beginning to think that ALL movies are based upon books or their prequels, with no original ideas ever...

What are you favorites books-turned-movies? Any suggestions?

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