In recent years, it seems that more and more books are being made into movies. I always prefer to read the book first when this is the case. Robbie and I both read the books and watched the movies for the titles I'm reviewing today.
I've had The Fault in Our Stars on my to-read list since my sweet teenage friend Ally told me it was her favorite book sometime last year, however I didn't get around to reading it until a week before the movie came out. This story about two teenagers battling cancer is both uplifting and heartbreaking, filled with the everyday angst of teens and lots of humor despite the seriousness of their conditions. The movie was a wonderful adaptation of the book. If you're the type who cries easily when reading or watching movies, have some tissues handy . . . but don't skip it - highly recommended.
My sister sent me Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card as part of our monthly book exchange. We'd seen the previews for the movie that came out last year, so I was eager to read the book. I was several chapters into the book before I really got into this science fiction story, but then it moved along and kept my interest, drawing me in to the futuristic setting and Ender's schooling designed to help him lead a fleet to save the human race against an alien species. I would recommend the book, however we both felt that the movie left a lot out and would have seemed extremely disjointed and uninteresting if we had not read the book beforehand.
Robbie and I both read the The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins a few years ago. When we left for our unexpected trip to Ohio last month, I didn't have time to run by the library and check out any audio books. Luckily, it's easy to "rent" an audio book from Cracker Barrel, so we picked up a copy of the first book in the trilogy and listened to it during the long drive. (The narrator of the audio book did a wonderful job!) During our one day at home between trips, we re-watched the movie. I took the second book with me on our trip to Canada, and we re-watched that movie when we returned home. So, of course, I went ahead and re-read the third book, despite the fact that the first of the two movies adapting this book is not due out until November of this year. I highly recommend these books and the movies. (You can see my full reviews of the three books HERE, HERE, and HERE.)
Ever since we saw the Saving Mr. Banks movie early this year, I've wanted to read P. L. Travers' book Mary Poppins. Of course, everyone else had the same idea, so I waited a while before I put my name on the request list at the library. I was actually surprised by the book as it has a totally different feel than the movie. In the book, Mary Poppins is much more serious and doesn't seem to be nice or FUN. In fact, one of the children notes in the book that she "never wasted time in being nice." She did spend a good bit of time looking at her reflection in store windows and mirrors, which is portrayed in the movie when she often looks at herself in the compact mirror. (There is one chapter in the book that I thought was hilarious - when they go to the zoo at night and humans are in the cages while the animals roam around watching them and ooh and aah when the humans are fed.)
We watched the movie, and I could see why P. L. Travers might have been upset with the Disney production - Mary Poppins appears much less serious than in the book and the animated scenes really interrupt the flow of the story. The character of Bert is greatly increased in the movie - he only makes one appearance in the first Mary Poppins book (and I didn't read any of the others). Of course, Dick Van Dyke's portrayal of Bert is fantastic, but overall I think the movie drags during quite a few scenes.
Which of these books and movies have you enjoyed? What are your thoughts on watching the movie before reading the book?
Be sure to check back tomorrow for my reviews of the non-fiction books I've read this year. (Click here to see all my book reviews.)