Tag Archives: books

Book vs. movie: which do you tackle first?

I’m about to go watch The Help, and for once, I haven’t read the book first. I was discussing books vs. movies with a coworker yesterday, and while we both agreed that a book is usually better than the movie based on it, I was having trouble putting my finger on why I prefer to read the book first. Either way, the ending will be ruined for me in one of the mediums, right? So why should it matter which comes first?

And yet it does. So without further ado, here are my top reasons to read the book first:

You get to imagine the characters and situations for yourself, without the actors from the movie overwriting your imagination. And you don’t have to worry about your imagined version of the story overpowering what you’ll see on screen, since film is a visual medium. Just try to remember how you pictured Harry Potter before you saw the movies!

It takes longer to read a book than to watch a movie. For example, The Help is 530 pages. I read about a page a minute, so the book will take me nine hours to finish. By contrast, the movie is only two hours and seventeen minutes. I don’t mind already knowing the ending if I’m only investing two hours, but I do mind if I’m investing more than four times that. Knowing the ending prevents me from getting lost in a book, but it doesn’t prevent me from enjoying a movie. Your mileage may vary, of course.

How about you? Do you prefer reading the book first, or watching the movie? Or do you choose one over the other? Let me know in the comments!