Read the book first!

Several years ago, back when I was in high school, I readJurassic Park by Michael Crichton.  I was enthralled.  It was great science fiction, had a good deal of science, and was intelligent.  I enjoyed the book very much.  I later watched the movie when it came out.  While I was impressed by the special effects, and I really enjoyed seeing the dinosaurs, I felt that the story was lacking.  The story was a bit different than the book, and wasn’t nearly as intelligent.  The movie was almost all action and special effects.  It didn’t satisfy the story lover in me.

After that, I was determined to read the book before I watched the movie.  I read Lord of the Rings a year before the movies came out.  I read the Harry Potter books before I watched any of the movies.  In both cases, I enjoyed the experience of seeing a familiar story unfold on the big screen (or on DVD), but I felt that the book was better.  However,Lord of the Rings was extremely well done as an adaptation of a novel.

At the moment, I’m reading A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin.  There’s a TV series based on his novels out right now, and I haven’t touched it at all.  I won’t watch it until after I’ve read the books.  I just feel that I can gain so much more by reading the book before seeing the movie.  I can imagine what the world is like first, then see how they made it look in the TV series or movie.  If I watch it first, then read the book, my imagination doesn’t work very hard.  I just picture the actors and the scenes that I remember from TV or the movie.  I want to use my imagination.  Therefore, I will read the book first.

How about you? What do you prefer to do?  Book first or TV series/movie first?

10 thoughts on “Read the book first!”

  1. I am exactly the same as you…books first, movies after! Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Millenium Trilogy…all books first. I’ve just started reading The Hunger Games and won’t see the movie till I’m done. There is just no way that a 2 hour movie (no matter how good the visual effects) can capture all the amazing detail of the written word…and how our imagination transforms that. We could be biased as writers, but either way, happy reading!

  2. Hehe. Truth to be told: I’m more of a Watcher than a Reader. When it comes to books, I mostly read ancient scriptures (translated of course), enyclopaedias, medicine, prehistory or archaeology-related works. Reading fiction isn’t my thing. Ironic thing is that while I dislike reading Fiction, I actually enjoy Writing fiction! Yet that doesn’t mean I despite the Fiction genre itself. In fact, I love it… I’m just too lazy to catch up and read Books. That is why I use Movies/TV as a Medium to help me better understand the fictional/fantasy worlds and the Story. Lots of people complain that Books are better than Movies but to me, I better understand the Story through watching the Movie first. Once I get to know the Movie, I get to know the basic plots and characters. After I’ve got enough knowledge on the Basic Story, I then further indulge myself in Wikipedia or any other Wiki related to the Story, read up information and polish my understanding of the Story. And unlike many, I do enjoy Spoilers. After all, reading the Book itself is a Spoiler for a TV/Movie 😛 Then again, that’s just my preferences.

    Moving on, if I do indeed create sagas or fantasy stories, I won’t be offended when People don’t read my Books and instead watch TV or Film adaptations of my Tales. Because I know some People aren’t interested in reading through an ocean of words. And that’s where the Movie comes in to entertain and feast peoples’ eyes. This is the part where I, The Author, thanks the Movie for helping me gather more fans not just for my books, but for my Story itself. And hey, who knows… maybe we Watchers might become Readers when the Story goes more interesting…

    We’ll see.. we’ll read..

    so thinks The OldenDude. Bah!

    1. I can see your point, and I understand that some people are more interested in the TV or movie editions. I guess it’s whichever you feel more comfortable with. Another thing is that I’m often quite busy, so I don’t have much time to watch movies or a TV episode (I’m very slowly going through Battlestar Galactica). I can read books in short bursts, though.

  3. While I do enjoy reading books first, I don’t like it when people expect the movie to be exactly like the book and say that the movie is bad because it’s different.
    Both are different media that function differently, and one cannot be a perfect copy of the other (what would be the point by the way?).
    Imagine a Lord of the Rings that the perfect copy of the book, that would make it a pretty unwatchable movie, just because of the structure and pace of the book.

    That being said, I also hate it when the movie is just a byproduct of the book (usually developed by studios to cash in from the success of the book). The perfect example being the Harry Potter series. Every person I’ve met who love the movies is a fan of the books who just enjoys seeing their characters on a screen, without thinking twice of the quality of the movies.
    Personally, I haven’t read the books, I watched the movies because a friend (and an ex-girlfriend) made me to, and first I think that they are bad movies (except for the third one, the one directed by Alfonso Cuaron – coincidence, I think not), and worse, they are pretty much unintelligible if you haven’t read the book. Believe me, starting with the fourth episode not much is making sense to me in those films (to the point that I didn’t even bother watching the last two), and every time, people tell me that’s because I haven’t read the books.
    Well, a movie is a movie and should be its own works, not just moving illustrations of the book, what the Harry Potter series definitely is.

    1. Lord of the Rings would be incredibly long if it was adapted exactly like the books. What they did do was excellent. It was faithful to the books, which I was happy about.

      Harry Potter movies lose a lot from the books. I’ve read all of the books, which I would have to admit I enjoyed quite a bit. The movies just seem to lose so much of the story and depth of the characters. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the movies, I do. I just don’t think they’re anywhere near as good as the books.

      But I agree that we shouldn’t expect exactly the same thing in the movies as we read in the books.

  4. I try to read the books whenever possible, but most of the time its usually after watching the movie. I get a little be upset every time I watch the harry potter films and they dont explain why certain situations happen. Lord of the Rings was by far easier to digest as a movie than as a book though I did like the books too.

    1. I mentioned to David that the Harry Potter movies leave out a lot of the story. They seem incomplete. But Lord of the Rings was put together quite well. They were a delight to watch after the books. Even though they’re missing Tom Bombadil, that’s okay with me. He didn’t contribute much to the story.

      I have a friend whose wife tried to read the Lord of the Rings books. However, she felt that they were an information overload. She just couldn’t get through them.

      1. The first time I read Lord of the Rings (yep, I read it several times), it was difficult because of the information overload in the Fellowship of the Ring. However, the second time I read (I kinda had become a Tolkien geek in between) I found that it was the most fascinating part. So you know what to do, read it at least twice. 😉

        1. When I have the time, I’ll read them again. I have so many books to read right now, it’s going to take me a long time. I guess I just have to spend more time reading.

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