July 28, 2015

Peach Talk: Books vs. Movies

July 28, 2015


Ah yes, books versus movies, the age-old debate.  For generations, those with a preferred taste for books clashed with those with a preferred taste for movies.  And all the meanwhile, lovers of both, (like me), mediated the battlefield.

I must admit, however, I used to exclusively be a book-lover.  I had little to no interest in movies, and for that matter, hated the whole "going out to theaters" experience.  I hated the scratchy fabric seats under my thighs (and the dirty cushion against the back of my head), hated the buttery smell of popcorn, and absolutely hated the oily feel of the theater atmosphere (which did not clash well with my oily teenage skin).

Yes, I was a crabby little hermit living under a rock; I rarely went out to see movies in theaters.  I couldn't fathom why a person would want to attend a public lice fest when a person had the option of watching Netflix in the comfort of their own cozy home.

Since my "moving-hating" times, I am now happy to say I am no longer a recluse or hater of movies.  In the past year especially, I've developed an appreciation, a fondness, you may call it, for the movie form.  A particular friend of mine began dragging me out to new showings on the weekends, and my family turned trips to the movies as frequent family outings.  When I had an hour or two to spare, they were dedicated to watching movies I'd previously missed in theaters.


So, why all the nonsensical babble about books and movies?  Well, as you may know, author John Green's Paper Towns was released in theaters this past week.  And although I had begun reading his bestselling book, I was forced to leave off halfway through.  It was the last day of school, and unfortunately, you just couldn't check out a book for all of summer.

This brought up some discussion between my book-loving, movie-watching friend and me.

Is the book always better than the movie?

"THE BOOK'S SOOOOO MUCH BETTER THAN THE MOVIE," many a book snob around the world would haughtily declare with their nose held high in the air.  And though perhaps at one time, I, myself, would recite the line with them, I must now digress . . .

My answer?  No.  The book is not always better than the movie.  It depends.  I've seen movies I've loved a thousand times more than the book, and of course, vice versa.  Movies are just different takes on stories we've come to know and love.  They can't be exactly the same: it's impossible.  Movies and books are completely different forms of entertainment and cannot be compared fairly.  So don't snub movie counterparts, and for Christ's sake, please don't snub books either.  Share your opinion, but don't knock down the opposing side of the argument.

Is it better to read the book first (then watch the movie) or watch the movie first (then read the book)?

I'm sure you fellow book-lovers will immediately shout at your screens, "READ THE BOOK FIRST, DUH!"  And a couple years back, I would have to agree.  However now . . . I'm not so sure.  The main dilemma either way is YOU'RE SPOILING YOURSELF.  I love being surprised with storylines, sitting at the edge of my seat, gripping on by my fingertips, not knowing what's going to happen next.  That's the thrill of reading a story or watching a movie, isn't it?  So what's worse?  Spoiling the movie for yourself, or spoiling the book for yourself?

Of course, there is not always the choice to make.  More popular books such as The Hunger Games or Divergent Trilogy are hard to escape unread or unnoticed before their movie counterparts are released.  And for books such as those, I do believe reading first is proper.

So, readers and moviegoers, what do you think?  Books, movies, books and movies?
What do you love about both?  Hate?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Let's talk!

author image

Julia Anne

I'm a teen with a refined taste for good books and great writing, currently living in Honolulu, HI. I'm a reader. A dreamer. And an aspirant writer. One day I have hopes to travel the world, but for now, I'll settle with venturing through the written works I read.

13 comments :

  1. The reading the book first vs. watching the movie first dilemma can be pretty difficult! Most of the time, I like to read the book first just because I like to have my own idea of how the setting and characters look before my imagination is tainted by the books...XD That being said, I have no problem with other people wanting to watch the movie first because they're experiencing the story in one way or another.

    Annie @ Indoor Sojourner

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    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Annie! You brought up an excellent point I didn't think of mentioning in the post: if you watch the movie first, you won't be able to picture the characters or the story for yourself. That's totally true. I have to agree.

      Julia Anne

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  2. I like both forms, but I prefer reading the book first, so that I have the experience of picturing both the setting and characters before seeing someone else's interpretation of the story. But there are good movies which have prompted me to read books I wouldn't have otherwise picked up.

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    1. I completely agree. One of the best parts of reading a book is imagining the story for yourself. It's true that watching the movie first will set your mind into a certain way of thinking.

      And like you said, a few movies prompted me to pick up their book counterparts!

      Thanks for the comment,
      Julia Anne

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  3. I am someone who ADORES both with a passion. I watch a movie nearly every day, and I am never not reading a book. I could never choose between the two, because they both give me such different things, and I love them both so much for these different things.

    I also don't mind if I read the book before seeing the movie version of it. I sometimes actually like seeing the movie first because I prefer the unknowing suspense of movies more than books - I just think it's more enjoyable (to me). But sometimes I've read the book before the movies (mostly YA titles), and I don't mind that, either, because the movie adaptation almost always brings something new to enjoy, anyway.

    So yeah. Neither one wins in my case. Both of them have amazing qualities!

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    1. Yay for book AND movie lovers! This summer I've been viewing a lot more movies that usual (but reading a lot fewer books). Like you said, I don't really mind either way . . . I think it depends on the individual book/movie. There are certain cases where I would prefer one way over the other, though.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Chiara!
      Julia Anne

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  4. I like to read the book first before seeing the movie. I feel like I'll just understand the movie and everything behind it better if I've read the "muse" first. There are definitely times when the movie is better than the book, but it's not as prevalent. I think another part of it is that fans of the book will go see the movie and obviously they might be disappointed. If someone hated the book, maybe they'll think a bit differently about the movie. You never know.

    Great post! <3

    Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books

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    1. Interesting thoughts, Rachel! Thanks for sharing. I usually do read the book first, as like you mentioned, it's a definite plus knowing certain details that couldn't quite make the final movie cut. But it depends. And it's always hard to please both sides: the diehard fans of the book (who have practically every line memorized), and then on the flip side, lovers of the movie who may find the book rather dull.

      Julia Anne

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  5. I used to be the book snob who says that the book is always better than the movie. But since then. I've watched some movies that I liked better than the book version. (TFIOS, The Notebook) So yes, that's not always the case.

    I also always try to read the book first before watching the movie, although I've made an exception for The Book Thief. I loved the movie, although I haven't read the book yet. (I have to remedy that soon. :D) But by default, I tend to avoid watching the movie if I haven't read the book yet. :)

    Julie @ Books and Insomnia

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  6. I often prefer reading books before seeing the movie, especially so I can have my own impression of all the characters and the story without someone else essentially forcing me into viewing things in a certain way. I feel as if movies aren't exactly more straightforward, per se, but can sometimes force you to think of certain things in a specific way. I like having my own interpretation of a story before seeing someone else's, because otherwise I feel as though their opinions will overshadow my own and prevent me from making my own conclusions. In some cases, however, I have seen the movie first (like when they show it on an airplane for free and you can't just magically buy the book and read it before the movie starts).

    In terms of which is better, I used to be like many book lovers: I loved the book more than the movie. However, I have grown to appreciate movies more. I don't love it when they change things, but understand why they have to sometimes. And (I hope no one hates me for this, but) I actually preferred the Divergent movie to the book. The book was good, it just wasn't amazing for me. I'm not saying he movie was phenomenal, but I just found myself more engaged in the movie than the book.... And I did read the book first (if you were wondering).

    Awesome post! :)
    -Alexandra

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  7. I tend to try and read the book first if it's a book I'm actually interested in reading it at all.. But for things like The Hunger Games, I saw the film before I realised I would have any interest in the book, and then I went and read the book because I enjoyed the story so much. So it can work both ways I guess. The trouble is, I tend to prefer the version I see first, so if I read the book of a film I really enjoy, I tend to still prefer the film version.. But if I read the book first I almost invariably prefer that version. You're right though, they really are different and it's difficult to convey the same things. Sometimes books really feel like they *should* be movies, because they just seem so visual. I felt that way about Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman - I just really wanted to *see* everything that was being described! Anyway, sorry for rambling! Though that's probably the mark of an interesting post, if you can make people ramble in the comments! haha :P

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  8. It seems like we have more similarities than just our book taste, I am not a huge fan of the cinemas either, if I do go its for a outing with my friends, or if there is a new book to screen adaptations. I tend to only watch movies if I have read the book, cause I love seeing peoples interpretations! I love this post so so much, keep doing what you do cause its amazing (:

    Lauren

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  9. I usually watch the movie first, because it's shorter and I have so many books I want to read already. And that way I won't be tainted by the book and just annoyed at the changes. I agree, sometimes the movie is better, (Jumper) or they're just as good even though they're different, (Stardust, Jurasic Park). Usually though I'm partial to the book. (Harry Potter)

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