Read the Book or Watch the Movie

Lately, I have heard a lot of conversation about whether to watch a movie that is based on a book or to read the book. I have heard both pros and cons regarding this debate. After listening to these conversations, I thought that this blog would be the perfect platform to discuss this debate. To read the book or to watch the movie, that is the question. 

The answer to this question is subjective because it is based on a person’s personal preference. Some people may prefer watching a movie based on a book while others may prefer to read the book. In the article, “Why Books are Better Than Movies,” Ivette Gonzalez identifies why she thinks books are better than movies. She states,  

  • “You can imagine the setting/events happening in the story;
  • books are more detailed;
  • we can visualize the characters a certain way;
  • books have a plot twist that may not occur in the movie.”

These arguments are valid because there is truth to them.

When reading a book, I imagine the events that happen in the story. For me, this helps to bring the book to life. It also allows me to feel as if I know the characters on a personal level. For example, I felt this way when I read Eric Jerome Dickey’s novel, Naughtier than Nice. From the first page to the last page, the McBroom sisters became my friends and just like with friends, you are there for them through the good and the bad times.

In novels, the author describes the characters for his or her audience. If the descriptions are clear, then they can help readers to understand the characters from a physical, mental, and sometimes, a spiritual point of view. Based on the descriptions, I close my eyes to visualize the characters in my mind. For example, I read the novel and watched the movie, Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan. In both mediums, four friends deal with the highs and lows of the men in their lives. When reading the book, I visualized what these men looked like. When I watched the movie, the images were already created due to the actors playing the role of the characters. Needless to say, I preferred my images as opposed to Hollywood’s version.

Most recently, I watched the movies, True to the Game 1 and True to the Game 2, which is based on Teri Woods’ book series. I did not know that this movie was based on a book, but I absolutely loved the movies. After watching both movies, I decided to buy the Kindle version of the first two books. I immediately began to notice the differences between the books and the movies. Now, even though I loved the movies, I loved the books even more; there were many more details, the action was greater, and there were noticeable differences with some of the characters in both books and in both movies. Finally, because I watched movies first, I did not get to visualize the characters in my mind. While I was reading the books, I kept picturing Columbus Short. He played the role of Quadir Richards in both movies. Although he delivered outstanding performances and is extremely handsome, I still would have preferred to create my own image of Quadir Richards.

To my readers, which do prefer? Do you prefer reading the book or watching the movie? I would love to hear your thoughts. (for the HS Insider Los Angeles Times. 

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5 thoughts on “Read the Book or Watch the Movie

  1. I think that both movies and books have clearly different ways to tell a story.
    A novel, because it’s own characteristic is the main act of imagination in the reader, not only can describe with an open description a place or a person with complete freedom (the reader is free to think or imaginate) but at the same time the writer can show us a flowing stream of thoughts from the characters, specially the protagonist.
    That’s why the movies can’t be so imaginative sometimes. There are obvius examples of a great adaptation and some of them are so accurate to the book BUT there are others, like the adaptation of The Shining from Stanley Kubrick, that are totally different from the book. Movies are 70% visual and obviusly, they can’t introduce itself into the character’s minds and they have the limitation of time, of course.
    When the rhythm of the
    movie is well done and the story is enough interesting to carry the spectator throughout all the characters, places and situations without boring them, the movie has a chance. What I’m trying to say is that most of the people are closer to see a movie in (two) hours than reading a book of (400) pages during a week (or less).
    And then we can talk about how movies have the problem of belonging and depending to a “popular” (more and less ignorant: the average) public.
    Sometimes, that makes the work of the scriptwriter (screenwriter or whatever) so tricky.
    The scriptwriters have to be conscient of the public for who are writing. The problem is that may not know the public so well. Maybe a kid enters to see a terror movie. Maybe an adult enters to see the new Peppa Pig (I don’t know) movie.
    But the book writers don’t have this concrete problem of not knowing the readers. They are writing for readers so… readers are not so a huge mass of people like with the movies. So the book writer can intuit that readers must have a minimum of intelligence and taste to appreciate their work.

    Well, I could be talking for hours about this topic, but I have expressed my opinion: we can’t say how adaptations are are as good as the book because adaptations depend on a lot of factors from the cinema.
    Thanks for starting this interesting conversation.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You have to be able to appreciate what both sources offer. For instance, I am an avid epic fantasy fan and I read lord of the rings every year as an annual tradition. I love the books and love the interpretation that Peter Jackson gave us. He left things out and moved much of the content around. But as a movie it made total sense putting Shelob’s lair in Return of the King. Or not involving The Scouring of the Shire in the movie at all. Both of those things would have made the films anticlimactic and wouldn’t have worked. So with that said, what is in a book doesn’t always translate well to camera. There is no other author that this makes more sense than Stephen King. Most of his books are gems but the movies… especially the horror ones tend to lack the grit and specialty the books offer. But that is still debatable. As much as I disliked IT chapter two, it was still good to not have the chapter where the losers club run a train on Beverly.

    Liked by 1 person

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