© 2008 HBO, Inc. All Rights ReservedBy Jennifer Haymore

I recently started watching DVDs of the HBO series True Blood, and I'm really enjoying them. I haven’t read Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series, but you can bet I’ve put them on my to-be-read pile! I wonder if they’re as good as the TV show, or better. I wonder about their similarities and differences. (I can get nerdy about these kinds of analyses....)

This got me thinking about books to movies and books to television. This past summer, I saw The Time Traveler’s Wife on the big screen, five years after I read the book that became one of my all-time favorites. I enjoyed the movie, and I’d recommend it, but for some reason it didn’t evoke the strong feelings in me that the book did.

In general, I don’t like the movie version as much as the book version of any given story. I think it’s because when I read a book, I can create mental images about the characters and what they’re going through, and in the end, that just might be more powerful than having images presented to me on a silver platter.

What do you think? Are there any movies you actually liked better than the book?


Jennifer Haymore

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  1. Forrest Gump. That's the only movie which was better than the book it was based on, in my opinion.

  2. Count of Monte Cristo, loved the movie more so than the book- which was fantastic too, but I liked that the movie had an HEA.

  3. I can't recall - I generally either like both or prefer the book version. I've I've read the book first. ;D I haven't read the Sookie Stackhouse series but from what I hear it's terrific!

  4. Red Dragon, by Thomas Harris, was so much better than the film versions. There were two film versions - one with the same title as the book and the other called Manhunter.

  5. Sure, Phantom of the Opera, The Hunt For Red October come to mind. . . in POTO, a) it's a slightly different ending, and no, the Phantom still doesn't get the girl and b) and version basically have the characters a bit less childish than the way it reads to me. In Red October, well, Sean Connery. Enough said. :)


  6. Ordinary People. And, I think, Holes

  7. Jennifer Haymore: Thank you for your post. It seems to be provoking plenty of thought. For this reader/movielover, your question is a real toughie.

    There are several old Hollywood Biblical epics---The Ten Commandments, Samson and Delilah, David and Bathsheba, Solomon and Sheba, King of Kings, etc.---that I like better than the book they were based on. But that's probably not what you had in mind.

    Keep up the good work!

  8. I adore True Blood, haven't read the books but my husband has. He loves the books but loves the series, too - often comments on what's different between them.

    I'm one of the rare people who usually loves the film versions of stories better than the book version. I'm just a film person, I guess - I'd rather see it and hear it in living color. Or black and white, whatever the case may be.

  9. In general, I almost never like a movie version as much as the book version. I agree with you - I get invested in much of the way I imagine the story to play out while I read.

    There is a certain amount of emotion that I feel that just doesn't translate the same once Hollywood gets their hands on it. Good examples: "Marley and Me" (LOVE the book because of all the emotion, HATE the movie because it was SO very lacking in emotion). It's also the same reason I am just not sure if I ever want to see "My Sister's Keeper".

    That being said, there are some books I can't help but think "this would make such a good movie, if done right". But then I start to think of how Hollywood would ruin it or change it, and *sigh* I would hate that.

    But to answer your actual question; there's only 1 book I've ever read where I liked the movie better: "Angels and Demons".

  10. Thanks, everyone! This is interesting--I've seen almost all of the mentioned movies, but haven't read the books. Maybe it's because in these cases the movies actually became more well-known than the books originally were? Very interesting...But now, knowing the movies were better than the books (and all these movies were very good!), I'm somehow not tempted to read the books. LOL! Thanks for the input, everyone!


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