Are books better than movies? Almost always. If a movie comes out based on a book, should you read the book first? Well, that’s up to you, but consider the following:

“Hey, I just found out about this really awesome movie based on a book!”

“Man, you should read the book first, it’s so much better!”

How many times has this conversation occurred between friends? I’ve been on both sides of that conversation many, many times. In fact I can’t think of any movie/show* where the book(s) aren’t better. (*One exception: Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer.)

My question is: why do we tell people to read the book first? In what situation have you read a book, watched the movie, and were happy you’d done it in that order? Never? Likewise.

I started thinking about why we do this. Why do we want other people to read the book first, so they can be disappointed by the movie? Because misery loves company. Because we were disappointed in the movie/show, and we want others to feel the same disappointment we did.

My first few times seeing movies based on books, it was books I had read. I was exclusively disappointed.

Then I read a few books based on movies I had loved. In this case, I hated the book. It stepped away from the movie in ways that, had they been released the other way around, I could have understood, but I don’t know why they strayed so far from the movie. I realized books and movies are different media, with different capabilities and limitations for what they can accomplish. I began judging movies based on how they adapted the story to the screen, and was (mostly) able to understand the choices made.

I was still guilty of telling people to read the book first.

My first time reading a book after watching a movie/show based on it was amazing. Having seen the movie, I was grounded enough in the world to jump right into the book. Even with the movie characters in my mind, I built different images in my head for each of the characters and settings.

Right now I’m reading Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind. It’s the first book in the Sword of Truth series, and had a TV show based on it that aired 2008-10 (2 seasons). Each season was based on a book (first season Wizard’s First Rule, second Stone of Tears), and I watched it last year. I loved the show! Because of that, I purchased the first seven books in the series a few weeks ago (birthday gift card).

I only started reading the first book a few days ago, and I’m about halfway through now. I love having a good basis in the world, characters, and even the over-arching plot. However, even more, I love how different the book is from the TV show. Multiple things surprised me because in the show they were greatly simplified.

Books are better, but watch the movie first.



5 thoughts on “Books vs. Movies

  1. Great commentary and no doubt a topic debated many times.
    I’m one who sits on the fence, some books are worth reading before the movie, and some movies are better than the books. But most movies only arise from the imaginations of the ‘best-selling’ writer who first penned the plot. Without them, we wouldn’t be having this debate now, would we? 🙂
    (Feel free to delete if you dislike my cheekiness.) It’s a great post.


  2. What an interesting perspective. I have to think on it to decide what my point of view is. You have challenging a long-standing idea. I think the reason I’d want to read the book first is so that I can experience it fully without prejudice, but that seems to be exactly what you’re saying about the reverse. Hmmm. I do have one example where, in my humble opinion, the movie was as good as the book: To Kill a Mockingbird.


    1. I feel that both sides can be done, and enjoyed. In most cases, I have read (or do read) a/the book(s) before watching the movie or series. In the case of the ‘Outlander’ series by Diana Gabaldon, which has recently released the second season of the TV show (each season is based on a book), I am glad I read the books first, and think they have done an excellent job. Further, Diana Gabaldon is involved and has final say over each screenplay. I believe, in the case of To Kill a Mockingbird, the situation was similar, with Harper Lee having direct involvement in the filming of the movie. Plus, Gregory Peck has never hurt a movie in his life… (I’ve read TKaM 3 or 4 times, and think it is fabulous.)

      Liked by 1 person

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