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Topic: Book Before Movie? Or Vice Versa?

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Subject: Book Before Movie? Or Vice Versa?
Date Posted: 4/5/2010 9:39 AM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2009
Posts: 11
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I'm having a hard time deciding if I want to read the book before watching the movie version. The last time I did that, I picked at the movie and compared it too much to the book. But if I watch the movie first, I'll know what happens and it kind of takes away from the book.

Which do you prefer?

Date Posted: 4/5/2010 10:07 AM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2010
Posts: 2,139
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I definitely read the book before the movie. I hate reading a book and already knowing the ending. But then again, I don't much like to know the ending of a movie either. Hmm. The book is just always better, so I try to read it first before seeing the movie. :)

Date Posted: 4/5/2010 12:39 PM ET
Member Since: 1/13/2010
Posts: 11,515
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Absolutely - The book before the movie.

Subject: Book before movie, definitely!
Date Posted: 4/5/2010 2:08 PM ET
Member Since: 5/17/2008
Posts: 2
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  With the book, you make it your own with your own imagination.  Then when you see the movie, you can see how similar, or different your interpretation of the characters, etc. are to the screen writers, directors, actors.  True, sometimes the movie just disappoints after reading the book, but in some cases it introduces new ideas that I would not have considered, or helps me to understand the characters more fully.  The Weight of Water, by Anita Shreve, was definitely one example where I enjoyed both equally well.


Subject: Agree, read book first
Date Posted: 4/5/2010 3:32 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 9,988
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I'm an avid movie goer, see a movie almost every week.  I've had it happen that I saw a movie first cause I didn't know it was a book, then hear from friends how good the book was.  Only a couple times was the book worse than the movie.  --Jeanne

Last Edited on: 6/1/10 5:21 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/5/2010 4:21 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2009
Posts: 611
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Definitely the book before the movie!

Date Posted: 4/5/2010 6:34 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,276
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Book before movie!!! When I do see the movie, it is usually a richer experience because I already know details that the movie can't explore.

Date Posted: 4/5/2010 9:29 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2007
Posts: 702
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Always, the book before the movie!

Subject: Book Before Movie? Or Vice Versa?
Date Posted: 4/6/2010 2:32 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2006
Posts: 11
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It's a close call, Staci, and really a matter of personal preference... but, I watch the movie first.

Unless you encounter the few exceptions where the movie changes the ending of the book (like in Hannibal), the ending will be known either way...so, it's a wash on that point.

The book generally contains much more detail than the movie; and, the movie invariably omits scenes from the book because of time constraints.  A movie gives more of an outline of the story while the book fills in a lot more of the details.  I found it frustrating to watch a movie after having read a book and not see scenes that I particularly liked or felt was important to the story.  When I read a book after seeing the movie, I feel like I am gaining something rather than losing something if done the other way.

It is true that when you watch the movie first, you lose the ability to form your own visual impressions as when you read a book first... though I'm not sure that's such a bad thing.

Date Posted: 4/6/2010 5:37 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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Either way is fine. If the movie is good then I'll probably want to read the book. The Kite Runner was that way for me. I watched the movie and knew the book would be better.

I am a Band of Brothers fan. Did you know the book is waayy better? It is! And this is amazing since I think some of those guys in the movie are H.O.T.

Date Posted: 4/7/2010 10:11 AM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2009
Posts: 11
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Thanks for the response!

The book/movie in question is The Time Traveler's Wife. I had rented the movie but, within a few days, received the book in the mail. And so the dilemma began... Book before movie? I think I might watch it first, maybe get an idea of how the story goes. I heard it could be a bit confusing.

Date Posted: 4/7/2010 5:42 PM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2006
Posts: 125
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I either read the book and then look forward to the movie or watch the movie instead of read the book. I don't mind knowing the end of a movie before I see it, but don't like to know the end of a book before I read it. Sometimes; however, seeing the movie after reading the book is a let down because it doesn't compare with your vision. What a dilemma!


Please check out my bookshelf! I haven't had any requests in awhile.

Date Posted: 4/7/2010 7:11 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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OK, all the comments have validity . . . . . .but with one exception------Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell.    That book and film are two artworks you are going to read, and see, more than once each!

Last Edited on: 12/30/11 6:07 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/7/2010 9:39 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 4
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Definitely read the book first.  Personally, I can't get into a book if I know what happens next.  I need some "unknown" factor in order to grip me.  I know some movies and books are different from each other (i.e. My Sister's Keeper, etc.) but why chance missing a really good book because you saw a mediocre movie?


Just my opinion.  ;)



Date Posted: 4/8/2010 9:36 AM ET
Member Since: 10/27/2007
Posts: 2,287
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Always the book before the movie!  I don't see many movies and usually wait till they are out on NetFlix. 

Date Posted: 4/8/2010 11:43 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2007
Posts: 12,851
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I dunno, like Andy Samberg said, AVATAR loses something on the page...

Date Posted: 4/8/2010 12:18 PM ET
Member Since: 9/16/2005
Posts: 463
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Book first-UNLESS it's Shakespeare. 

Shakespeare plays were meant to be performed, not read like a novel.  I was never really into Shakespeare until I saw the movie "Much Ado About Nothing" (Kenneth Branaugh).  I loved the movie so much I actually read the play, and could picture scenes from the movie as I was reading the play.  Also did this with "The Taming Of The Shrew" and "Macbeth", and "A Midsummer Night's..."  Maybe this is true of any play.  JMO!

Date Posted: 4/8/2010 12:20 PM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2008
Posts: 1,518
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Personally I would rather see the movie before I read the book given the opportunity. If I read the book first I usually find the movie disappointing. If I watch the movie first in most cases they are good but then I read the book and it is way better than the movie because they usally change stuff up for the movie.

Date Posted: 4/9/2010 3:59 PM ET
Member Since: 9/16/2007
Posts: 188
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I personally would rather read the book before the movie, but honestly I have to say it dessn't really matter either way. There are arguements for both. Ususally, if I see a movie before I read the book, the movie just inspired me to read the book even more.

My big pet peeve is when people complain that the movie was not exactly like the book. Books and movies are two completely different and separate genres. There is no possible way a movie could be exactly like the book, because books rely on your imagination to fill in the details. Even the most detailed books are interpretted different ways by different readers. Also, some things in books, such as charaters' thoughts and motivations, cannot be shown in movie format. If they did a voiceover of thoughts, it would just be tedious. So directors are forced to make changes in the plotline so that the movie is actually watchable.

One good example would be The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Lena's storyline in the book is engrossing, but it occurs almost entirely within her own thoughts and feelings. If the movie had followed the book exactly, her plotline woudl have been noexistent, so they had to change her story a bit. Both the book and the movie are good, but on different levels.

Date Posted: 4/23/2010 11:23 PM ET
Member Since: 9/30/2007
Posts: 681
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Book before movie, and of course, when I see a movie and then find out it was a book as well, then I have to read the book...unless the movies totally sucked..

Date Posted: 4/24/2010 3:05 PM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2009
Posts: 584
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I always prefer to read the book before the movie. However just finished Shutter Island and now when I watch the movie the surprise ending will not be such a surprise. Unless the movie doesn't follow the book.....


Date Posted: 4/26/2010 1:46 AM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2007
Posts: 13,223
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Oh, book before movie, ALWAYS, for me! Ok, not always there was ONE exception and I was just talking about it the other day with one of my co-volunteers at my FOL. It's totally slipped my mind.   

Date Posted: 4/29/2010 2:26 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2010
Posts: 1,207
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Book First!  If I have a book on my shelf and I see the movie first, this happened with My Sisters Keeper, I have to give the book away, no interest in reading it after the movie, even if I know the book will be better.

Date Posted: 4/29/2010 7:24 PM ET
Member Since: 6/29/2005
Posts: 2,187
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Book First... A book has no time limit.. The movie does... Often they leave out things that are important and the rest of the people are wondering why something happened.... You know why you read the book....

Subject: Book 'em
Date Posted: 5/11/2010 12:38 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 2
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As an old screenwriter who has adapted several books, fiction and non-fiction, for the screen, guess what? We scripters always read the book before the movie. And much, but not all of the disservice readers often feel is done to the printed word in the film is built in by the constraints of the celluloid medium. For the moviegoer/reader, I'd say it's a wash. Both versions will have, granted their quality, their own merits. Now if we could only get movie watchers to educate themselves in the medium as they are educated in reading, it would really level the playing field.