Written Rambles

Should Books Be Made Into Movies?

I like books. I like the way they smell, the way they feel, the way the pages slip through your fingers before giving you a dozen paper cuts. I like the way Times New Roman font looks against white paper. I like holding another world in your hands and feeling the weight of the words. I like their covers. I like their back-covers. Occasionally, I like the content.

I also like movies. The combination of visual effects, effective casting, and cinematography create an experience that cannot be matched by any other medium. Movies can make you feel things. They can show you two actors (whom you know, through one magazine or another, are not in a relationship/dating/cuddling) and make you truly believe they are in love, to the point where, three minutes in, you have gone through a Costco-sized collection of tissue boxes and are beginning to question the true meaning of “love.”

Why do you care about what I’m saying? Or, rather, why should you care, other than the fact that you are my dutiful readers and must value everything I say? (This is a cult, right?) Because, while I appreciate the power of both film and literature, I am hesitant to mix them together and you should be too, not because all film adaptations are bad, but because I believe audiences should question the content they’re consuming before completely ingesting it. Though I am partial to the anti-adaptation team, it is important to consider both sides.

Reasons Against Film Adaptations

They Perpetuate Laziness

As the age of technology reaches its peak, humans are becoming more averse to tackling challenging reading material than ever before. You never hear someone say, “I just want a really difficult read, you know?” Movie adaptations, in some ways, can be considered an extension of that ideology. If you don’t want to read the book, watch the movie. If you don’t want to watch the movie, read the summary on SparkNotes. If you don’t want to read the summary, read the back cover and hope for the best. It seems that the path of least resistance is becoming smoother by the second.

They Help Non-Readers Become Faux-Readers

Readers used to possess their own sort of exclusive culture. People could get together and discuss books in depth, and feel connected with those around them merely through their mutual excitement. Take the Harry Potter craze, for example. If you are in a group of people that are chatting about Harry Potter and you have not read Harry Potter, you automatically become the outcast. I’m not trying to encourage the exclusion of your less bookish friends. (Yes I am.) I’m just pointing out that reading is kind of like Greek Life, without the public humiliation and weekly blackouts. There’s a certain camaraderie behind it that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. However, if books are the door to that literary culture, then movies are the disruptive, misunderstood cop that likes to kick doors in while needlessly firing a machine gun. Or, if that metaphor didn’t do it for you, imagine if the outcast went and watched the Harry Potter movies instead of reading the books. They wouldn’t have the same level of information as those who had pushed through all 7 stories but they would know enough about the series to re-enter the conversation and make the transition from outcast to friend group again. Movies let people into that VIP book culture while removing the hassle of actually reading the books.

They Eliminate Personal Interpretation

Perhaps the most important reason books should remain books (and ONLY books) is that they were made to be interpreted differently. The character that I envision in my head will not be the same as my best friend’s, no matter how intertwined our thoughts are, and the message that I take away will differ – in fact, it should. To make a movie about The Great Gatsby is to establish a solitary image for each character, setting, and scene. In other words, movie adaptations remove the privilege of developing your own personal interpretation. (If you watch the new Gatsby movie before you read the book, you will find it difficult to imagine Jay looking like anyone else because that image was already provided for you.)

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1399238651 Sandra Henningsson

    I love books. They make it much easier for you to point your own picture. And I like pointing my own picture. But I also love Movies. It’s so hard. People always asks me; What do you prefer, Movies or books? My answer? Boovies. I really can’t decide. BUT I do think you should always read the book before the Movie. Otherwise, you can’t get the movie characters out of your head and they will not be the same as the one you’re imagining. So it’s ruins a lot! But in some cases, you can get really dissapointed about the movie if you’ve read the book first. Like “The Hunger Games”, I really didn’t like the movie just because I read the book first. The same goes with “P.s I love you”. That book was soooooo much better than the movie. And “The Shopaholic” serie. The same goes with that. Soooooo much better than the Movie! And after I saw the movie it ruined the rest of the books for me. You see, I can’t really decide. My head is everywhere… I guess I’ve watched to many movies and read to many books.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=21200068 Caitlin S Griffin

    I love movie adaptations of my favorite books, because I love seeing how someone with a filmic sensibility imagined my book. I don’t always love the movie (HP3, WHYYYYYY?!?!), but I love the way film breathes life and color into the world I’d only been able to see behind my eyes before. I’ve been brought to tears with the full splendor of the screen over what I was able to conjure on my own. I also love movie adaptations of books I’ve never read, because I want to see what’s important to that director and then when/if I read it I can have a mental conversation with them (really? That color?).

    I’ve always wanted to start a Book/Movie Club (read the book, watch the movie, discuss both), but that’s more about having the time to do so. Overall, I feel like being exclusive about having read the book ostracizes a lot of people from the discussions we could be having. Are book lovers really in a position to claim exclusivity?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=514463848 Angie Boyce

    I love reading and I love watching movies. I really like seeing movies adapted from books I’ve read. It’s so interesting to see how others visualized the characters, settings and what parts to emphasize. Sure, I’ve been disappointed with a few films based on books I’ve read, but overall I like the experience. Comparing a book to a film is also a good teaching tool.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=514260177 Amy Stanton


  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=514260177 Amy Stanton

    Please excuse my spam below, I have long deleted my facebook and was wondering if i could still comment. its like weird (but good) magic that the internet knows enough about me to ‘connect’ with my non-existant facebook. Books are always better, but I am looking forward to the new film version of Gatsby like nothing else. Movies based on books have made this former bookworm a lazier reader, admittedly (and sadly). Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Help… haven’t read them, but have publicly professed my love for both movies, much like those pesky, pseudo-Harry Potter fans.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=763582607 Nicole Paskowsky

    Books should absolutely be made into movies! Books and movies are two separate mediums and they need to be both viewed and reviewed as such. The complaint that “the book is always better than the movie” comes from the fact that movies must occur in a finite amount of time. Books don’t. I get super excited in the beginning of a movie trailer when I see that it’s based on a book I’ve read. The first line of voice over in the trailer for White Oleander gave me chills. I knew those words, I had read those words. However, this was not true in the case of Chainletter, a book that I loved in middle school. Great young adult book and they ripped off the plot to make a really stupid movie called I Know What You Did Last Summer. *face palm*

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