Books & Movies

This post comes out a conversation with a fellow writer of mine, Chris. I’d asked if he’d read “Revolutionary Road,” by Charles Yates. He had not. I told him to read it, but don’t see the movie.  The book was devastating. As much as I love Leo & Kate, I can’t watch the movie because I fear it will sully my feelings about the book.

But there are a number of movies that I thought were better than their books, like “The English Patient.” The movie was able to give more complexity and vividness to the entwined stories than the book had. That got me thinking about the relationship between the two mediums and how the same story is told through each.

Please post your thoughts about movies and books!

Books > Their Movies

“To Kill a Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee. Good movie but great book.

“The Shipping News,” by E. Annie Proulx.

“Cold Mountain,” by Charles Frazier.

Any thing by Dr. Seuss.

Movies > Their Book

“The English Patient,” by Michael Ondaatje.

“The Wonder Boys,” by Michael Chabon.

“Fight Club,” by Chuck Palahniuk. Good book, fantastic movie.

Movies I Won’t See Because I Love the Book Too Much

“Short Cuts,” based on short stories by my hero Raymond Carver.

“The Feast of Love,” by Charles Baxter. Best. Book. Ever.

“Revolutionary Road,” by Richard Yates.

“The Road,” by Cormac McCarthy. I can’t say I “loved” this book, but it has held its grip on me for almost two years now and, no matter how great Chris says it is, I just don’t want to see the movie.

“Running with Scissors,” by Augusten Burroughs. The book was crazy enough.

Movie and Books = a draw

“Sense & Sensibility,” by Jane Austen. My second favorite Austen novel, but boy did Emma Thompson do a bang up job with the screenplay and casting.

“Smoke Signals” / “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven,” by Sherman Alexie. Same story told in slightly different ways.

“The Color Purple,” by Alice Walker. The book was incredible but I weep with joy and grief every time I see the movie.

“Housekeeping,” by Marianne Robinson. If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, do at least one.

“The Shining,” by Stephen King. Equally creepy.

2 thoughts on “Books & Movies

  1. I will say that the cartoon version of “The Grinch” rivals the book, but only because Dr. Seuss wrote the screenplay. He had the chance to basically have a re-do of his book, so he put together something he thought was an improvement over his original. Karloff’s voiceover totally makes the thing come to life.

    I liked the movie version of “The Road,” but the book remains superior.

    “The Shining” as a movie and as a book can hardly be compared because they’re so different. I did like the movie better, though.

  2. I almost always love the book more. So hard to put to screen something better than I can visualize in my head. I’m trying to remember recently I saw a movie and liked it more than the book, but of course it’s not coming to me!

    I would agree with Color Purple- both are great. Similar to the difference in the Shining versions is Jaws. Not that either the book or movie are the greatest ever made or written, but they are very different and both entertaining.

    The Firm- not a great book, but a much worse movie.

    I read Shutter Island b/c I like Dennis Lehane, but have no desire to see the movie.

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