Chat Between Chapters: Reading after Watching – do you like the movie/TV show better?

August 24, 2014 Chat Between Chapters, Featured Posts 52


 Do you like a movie or TV show better if you watch it first, before reading the book? Or does the book always win, no matter when you read it?

Julie Review Avatar Julie:

For the most part, I tend to have already read the book before seeing the movie. But there are a few cases when I  do the reverse. One such example is Water for Elephants. I saw the movie with some book club friends but had never read the book before. I really enjoyed the movie and thought it was excellent. When I finally read the book, it just wasn’t as good. The movie made some changes to the plot that I actually thought were better than the events in the book. I guess the same goes for the first few seasons of True Blood. I hadn’t read the Sookie books yet but was hugely addicted to the show. The first season, while being similar to the book, was so much better than the book. I didn’t enjoy book 1 all that much, so in that case the TV show won out. I do think I tend to compare one to the other, so whichever comes first tends to win. I can’t think of any examples where I read the book first, then saw the movie, and thought the movie was better.

Rose review avatar Rose:

I am a firm believer in first impressions being the lasting impression, the most influential.  If I see a movie before having read the book, then I tend to like the movie better.  The same rings true for the reverse. If I read the book before seeing the movie, I tend to like the book better.  One exception that I can think of off the top of my head is the TV series Game of Thrones. I watched to show first, then started reading the books. I have read only the first two books. I enjoyed the TV show and that is why I decided to read the books. Because I watched the TV show first, I expected to like the show better than the books. However, I think I like the books more.  There is so much more detail in books than what a TV show can allow. I also tend to be more willing to watch a movie that looks only so so than I am to read a book that lacks appeal.  Case in point, I did not have any desire to read the Twilight books, but after I saw the first movie in the theatre, I ran out and bought the book. (I still prefer the first movie better than the book, btw.) Just watching the previews for Fifty Shades of Grey made me go and read the series. I think that some people are too picky when it comes to watching the movie/TV show adaptation of their favorite books. I am currently enjoying watching the TV series Outlander and even though it is different from the books and NO WHERE NEAR AS GOOD as the books, I can still appreciate it for what it is. That, and I can certainly appreciate Jamie Fraser…his voice, his eyes, his kilt, his bare knees, his, OKAY! I will stop now.

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52 Responses to “Chat Between Chapters: Reading after Watching – do you like the movie/TV show better?”

  1. Victoria @ Creative Home Keeper

    I go back and forth on this one. Sometimes I make myself read the book first if I know a movie version is coming soon and other times I watch the movie first, then read the book (which also might be several years later). Sometimes I find the movie is better and sometimes I prefer the book. The hardest thing I have found when I watch the movie though, is I can’t get the actors and images out of my head which sort of interferes with the creative imagination but then on the flip side, sometimes I’m disappointed that that movie doesn’t match up to my imaginations! So I guess there isn’t a real winner as to which is better 🙂 Thanks for linking this up at Book Notes!

    • Julie

      I’m with you that it is hard to get the visual characters out of your mind if you watch the movie first, and the lip side is true for the characters you envisioned in your mind.

    • Rose

      I found that watching Game of Throne before reading the books was very helpful for me in picturing the characters and not getting everything confused.

  2. Leila @ LeilaReads

    That is a really good question. I’d say most of the time the book is better, whether I read it before or after watching a show or movie. I can think of two major exceptions: Big Fish and Forrest Gump. The movie version of Big Fish took the story to a whole other level, while still respecting the book (which was pretty good). The movie Forrest Gump took a really bad book and made something wonderful with the bones of that story. I gave up on the book Forrest Gump after about 50 pages. I just hated the book Forrest.
    Leila @ LeilaReads recently posted…The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

    • Rose

      I gave up on Forrest Gump the book as well. I agree that the movie took the good bones of that book and made something amazing!

  3. Tina at Mommynificent

    The only exceptions to the “books are better” adage for me are with a few classics that I find too wordy. Other than that, it doesn’t seem to matter which I encounter first; I almost always prefer the books. Recently, I’ve come across (but not yet read) a few book adaptations of movies. I’m curious to see how those will play into this conundrum since the movies actually came first!

    Thanks so much for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday at! Hope to see you again soon!
    Tina at Mommynificent recently posted…$200 September Blogger Appreciation Giveaway

    • Julie

      Tina I am so with you on some of those super wordy books. No, there is no reason a book needs to be 700+ pages lol. Let us know how you end up liking the books for those specific few movies you watched first 🙂

    • Rose

      Tina, I have never read a book adaptation of a movie, except one time. It was the karate kid part II. LOL. And I was in love with Daniel LaRusso, so yeah, I actually read that book. It was like the movie, but with “extra” insight into what Daniel was thinking.

  4. Carrie

    I LOVE seeing movies/shows after I’ve read the book, and the other way around, too. My neighbor and I both love to read YA books and go see the movies…I’ve been really impressed with The Hunger Games, and I also thought Divergent was pretty good.

    I’m loving Outlander…I think they are doing a great job for the scope of the story, and…a hot Scot in a kilt doesn’t hurt much, either.

    I’m not usually too critical of movies after reading the books, though…I just like to see them!
    Carrie recently posted…Dark Hope by Monica McGurk Fuels My “YA” Obsession

    • Rose

      Carrie, I have learned to not be overly critical of the movies/tv shows when comparing to the books. I loved tonight’s episode of Outlander “Rent”. I of course think the book is way better, but am enjoying the tv series as well. I feel like it was a little slow to start, but is building up momentum nicely now.

  5. Cassidie Jhones

    I tend to read the book first because it’s the way almost everybody does and so far, it’s just happened this way. However, I now want to try the other way around as I often end up comparing the movie to the book and missing the scenes that were omitted, finding it lacking and so on. And since my friends who might not have read the book loved the certain movie not one time, I feel like it’s a good idea to give it a go.
    Cassidie Jhones recently posted…ARC Review: The 100 Society by Carla Spradbery

    • Julie

      That’s a good idea to try it the other way and see how that changes your enjoyment of the movie and book after:)

  6. Laura Pol

    Usually I like to read the book before a movie and it always wins, but The Legend of the Guardians is a minority in that! I really disliked the book and enjoyed the movie so much more! Thanks for sharing at Booknificent Thursday!

    • Julie

      I think in some cases the movie is made to attract a wider audience than the book, so it ends up being more enjoyable. I haven’t seen or read Guardians though.

  7. Brenda @DailyMayo

    In some cases, I like the show adaptation better than the book. I love Game of Thrones as a show better than the book because they used the apparently lost art of editing when making the show. I tend to forgive shows more than movies when it comes to deviations from the original plot. Thanks for linking to Quote Me Thursday!
    Brenda @DailyMayo recently posted…Quote Me Thursday: Famous Quotes Featuring Apples

  8. Julie V.

    I generally like books better than movies (unless it’s a book written after a movie).
    I do have an English degree, so I’m biased.
    On the other hand, plays–like Shakespeare, or Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion (What the musical My Fair Lady is based on)–I like better performed. Reading them is a little silly.

    • Julie

      Now that is a really good point about plays – they are definitely more fun to watch acted out than read. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  9. Bookworm Brandee

    I tend to always read the book before seeing a movie. That’s just the way I roll. 😉 And if I do see the movie, I generally think the book is better. But I suppose it might be because, like you said Rose, first impressions might be the most influential. I don’t watch t.v. so I’m missing out on all these shows based on books. And maybe I’ll catch them on DVD someday, after I’ve finished all the series. 🙂

    By the way, my kids refuse to watch movies based on books…this started after my oldest watched The Spiderwick Chronicles movie. She was so upset. So no Harry Potter in my house because my kiddos firmly believe their imagination is waaayy better than Hollywood’s. 🙂
    Bookworm Brandee recently posted…**Release Day Blitz ~ Beast Part Two ~ Ella James**

    • Julie

      Ooh your kids are quite cool then Brandee. I love that their imagination is more important than TV 🙂

    • Rose

      wow, that is interesting. I know that I was worried that I would have a hard time with the new Starz original series Outlander. I absolutely love the books, but I knew there was no way that I could feel the same about the tv series. So I am into episode 4 of the series, and it is NOT as good as the books, but I like them, too. I just try to accept them for what they are, an adaptation.

  10. Charlotte @ Thoughts and Pens

    As for me, it really depends. There are times that I like the movies better than the books and there are times that the opposite happens.

    Here’s my current opinions about some books that were adapted into movies or TV shows:

    1. Harry Potter books Vs. HP Movies= Books win!
    2. Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Books/ Vs LOTR movies= Movies win!
    3. The Fault In Our Stars Novel Vs Movie- They’re equally good!
    4. Gossip Girl books vs. TV Show- TV Show wins
    5. Divergent books vs Movie- Books win!
    6. The Mortal Instruments books vs. movie- Books win!
    7. Vampire Academy Books Vs Movie- Books win
    8. The Perks of Being A wallflower novel vs movie- Movie wins!

    I can go on and on but yeah, you get the idea. There are so many factors at play whenever I am made to choose between books or movies.

    Lovely discussion, Rose and Julie!
    Charlotte @ Thoughts and Pens recently posted…Book Review: Sempre

    • Julie

      Great list there Charlotte! Now in the cases where the movies win, did you still read the books before going to see the movie?

    • Julie

      OOh interesting point about skipping the book since you already know the plot from the movie or show. I haven’t thought about it that way, but I’m sure I’ve done that a lot too.

    • Rose

      I am sure I have done this as well. Although watching the movies sometimes is what makes me want to go and read the books. I could also see how it would make you skip the book.

    • Julie

      Wow so you’re definitely sticking to the rule of watch after reading. I would suggest you make reading TFIOS a priority so you can go ahead and see the movie 🙂

  11. Jessica

    I really prefer to read the book before I see the movie. And usually, I’m disappointed in the movie because it’s not EXACTLY like the book! With books, I use my own imagination on what the scenes look like, how people look/speak, etc. and the film writers and directors 99% of the time get it wrong. 🙂
    Jessica recently posted…My Favorite Laundry Detergent

    • Julie

      Haha yea I agree, if the movie deviates too much from the book and my impression of it, I tend to be disappointed as well.

    • Rose

      I think sometimes it matters how soon after I read the book that I see the movie. If I read a book and IMMEDIATELY go to see the movie, I do not usually have as much of an issue with the movie scenes looking different than from how I imagined them. However, if I have read this book a long time ago and re read it many many times, I have more a problem with that.

  12. Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun

    I so prefer to read before watching. Right now I’m actively not watching movies that I really want to just because I’ve heard good things about the books and I know I won’t enjoy the books if I see the movie first. The one exception to that (so far) is True Blood. I’ve watched the tv show and still plan to read the books. Mainly because I’ve only liked the show, not loved it and I’ve heard the show and books are so different you almost don’t recognize them as the same thing anymore. Great question!
    Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun recently posted…#COYER-SV Update | Final Twitter Party Today!

    • Julie

      Yea with True Blood the show has definitely went in a direction the books did not. The first few seasons were related though and I’m curious to see if you end up liking the books better even though you didn’t read them first.

    • Rose

      So, if you watch the movie first, you will not like reading the books? Interesting. Usually it just makes me have a preference, not necessarily dislike one or the other.

    • Julie

      Terri I am so with you on the memory thing. I have an awful memory too, so unless the reading of the book was recent compared to the movie watching, I’m going off basic feeling but not specific details. However, when it is obvious that everything is changed for the adaptation, it does get annoying.

    • Rose

      How odd. I don’t even remember the color of the car… in the books or the movie. lol

  13. April @ The Steadfast Reader

    Huh. Even when I see the movie/series before I read the book I generally still find the book to be better. (Thought, admittedly, it doesn’t happen very often.) ‘Gone With the Wind’ is a great example. I’ve been watching that movie since I was young and when I finally read the book – I found it to be even MORE incredible than the movie.
    EXCEPTION: Les Miserables. I HATE THAT BOOK. 😀 I love every movie/stage adaptation that has ever been made. 🙂
    April @ The Steadfast Reader recently posted…Spread the Love 2.0: Week Twenty Nine

    • Julie

      GWTW is an excellent example. The book is superb, but I’ve watched the movie more times than the book, for obvious (size) reasons because the movie is excellent as well. So that one is hard to judge.

    • Rose

      I love Les Miserables! (movie or book or musical, makes no matter) ad GWTW is great! The book is better, but only for the detail. The movie is excellent as well.

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