Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Books and Movies

by Sophie Epstein

Hi, I'm Sophie Epstein! I'm a twelve year old girl, and I'm the author of the book blog Mrs. Magoo Reads.

I recently interviewed two people about their opinions about books turned into movies.

Do you prefer to read the books before viewing the movie version, or the other way around? Why?

HBP: I nearly always read the book first, for a couple of reasons. One is that the book is almost always better that the movie, so I want to enjoy it thoroughly before seeing the film version. Another reason is that when I read a book, my own imagination creates the pictures of the characters, the setting, etc., in my mind. When I see a movie, the movie places those images in my mind. So, if I see the movie first, while I am reading the book, I have the images from the movie--that is, someone else's images--in my mind. And I don't like that! Even if I see a movie after reading a book, because visual images are so strong, they usually supplant my own imagination's creations; I don't necessarily like this, but I can't help it.

WCE: I definitely prefer reading the book before seeing the movie version----when reading the book, I want to create the 'visual images' of the characters, settings, etc. in my mind's eye, rather than have the movie set it for me. Also, I have found that oftentimes the movie takes liberties with interpreting the book that does not appeal to me.

What are some movie versions that you have preferred over the novel it was based on?

HBP: I loved the movie "The Jane Austen Book Club," and this is an occasion where I read the book after having seen the movie. I must say, I preferred the movie. I have watched it numerous times. Another movie which I preferred to the book was "One True Thing," based on the novel by Anna Quindlen. Again, I saw the movie first.
WCE: Actually, I tend to read more non-fiction; I can't think of a movie version I've preferred more than the novel. In fact, there are too many movies made out of novels that I have not enjoyed.

What books do you think have been successfully turned into movies?

HBP: All the Harry Potter stories. I think the movies are terrific! Also, the "Wizard of Oz," which is a wonderful book if you haven't yet read it, and I have no doubt that you have seen the film. I think the movie "To Kill a Mockingbird" is excellent--almost as good as the book. I like the movies, almost all of them, that have been adapted from Jane Austen's novels, but don't ever let the movies replace your reading of these most excellent novels!!!

WCE: What immediately comes to mind is 'To Kill a Mockingbird', and 'The Grapes of Wrath'.

What books would you like to see turned into movies?

HBP: "A Secret History" by Donna Tartt.

WCE: Definitely the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by John Kennedy Toole, "A Confederacy of Dunces'.

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