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movies vs books

I don’t know about you, but I can’t read a book and then watch the movie: one is always better (usually the book) and the changes bother me.  I worked at Barnes & Noble for 10 years, and I was continuously amazed that when a book went to movie, everyone immediately came in to buy the book. And then went to watch the movie. How do they do this?

My first experience with this phenomena was The Black Stallion. I read the entirety of Walter Farley’s series, cover to cover, repeatedly. I had the Black Stallion Breyer figure. Words could not describe my excitement when they made a movie! Anxiously I waited in line with my older brother. The lights went down, my excitement peaked, and the movie started. Only, that wasn’t Alex! And, and that part was wrong…and that part…..oh, dear!

At age nine, that event made an indelible impression. Now, I did read both Star Wars (again repeatedly) and V (anyone remember V?). Those books were based on the screenplays, and were almost exactly what we saw on the screen. Perfect!

Most movies I really like–and rewatch regularly–are similar to the books I read. Action and adventure are always my favorites.  Elizabeth Peters–also known as Barbara Michaels– hooked me on Egypt with her Amelia Peabody series. A strong-minded female, Amelia is never so happy as when she is crawling around a tunnel in a pyramid and outwitting a villain. Peters’ awe for the beauty of Egyptian art and archeology  sparked a similar love in me.  The power of a book!

Indiana Jones, Sahara, The Mummy: I wish they made more movies like them.  Family friendly, loads of humor,  great heroes, spunky heroines, simple good vs evil. And best lines ever:

                               “I, sir, am a librarian”

                 “No, you must not read from the boooook”

Yes, both of those are from the Mummy, my favorite. I think I was probably predispositioned to love the Mummy after the Peabody series. But you have to love a heroine who is proud of being a librarian. And as a book-lover, who ever listened when we were told not to read?

I read Bridget Jones long after the movie came out (which I had never seen). I admit I got my copy in the Barnes & Noble bargain section. I found the book hilarious, and particularly appreciated that one of her friends went missing after she moved her trash can into a bad Feng Shui position.  Much later I caught the end of the movie as I waited for something else to come on. It was not even remotely like the end of the book. Even Colin Firth can’t make that worth watching. I did watch the second one, as I never read the book. It definitely has to be one or the other.

Some movies I watch so I don’t have to read the book. Two hours takes a lot less time, you know 🙂  Makes more time for reading!  I adore the Lord of the Rings movies, but was never able to make it through Tolkien’s books. Harry Potter books were done so well as movies that I felt no need to read the books.  So sometimes a movie can very well be preferable than a book. Some movies so perfectly capture the location or the characters that they can far outstrip the book. Book or movie, however, some just make me want to return to their world again and again.

What do you think? Can you do both, and how do you reconcile the differences?

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