Read It Before You See It

Let’s face it, a movie based on a book is nothing new. Some adaptations manage to translate the story to film very well, and some… eh, you know. (One of my favorites is Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake – beautifully written and acted.) Before you head to the multi-plex in the next few months, check out a few of the books that are making the jump from page to screen.

Gangster Squad – From journalist Paul Lieberman’s book, this is your “based on a true story” offering. In order to take down one mobster, Sgts Jack O’Mara and Jerry Wooters form an uneasy alliance with another. With a backdrop of 1950s Los Angeles, this tale explores a time when police could be almost as lawless as the criminals they were chasing.

Warm Bodies – Isaac Marion’s book was one of my favorite reads from last year. The story itself is a loose take on Romeo and Juliet, with zombie R (all he can remember of his name) falling in love with the very human Julie. R’s internal dialogue is much sharper than his outward abilities, but as he spends more time with Julie, his humanity begins to creep back.

Beautiful Creatures – First in a growing series, this YA book is part paranormal fantasy and part Southern gothic. Beautiful Creatures is told from the perspective of Ethan, who is drawn to the new girl in town – Lena. Lena has just moved into an appropriately creepy, falling-apart plantation, and is dealing with magical powers and a family curse that has lasted generations.

The Host – This was Stephenie Meyer’s stab at an adult sci-fi novel, post-Twilight. Earth has been invaded by an alien species that takes over the minds of a human host. Melanie is now carrying Wanderer, but is fighting it with all she can, especially for the memories of Jared.  Melanie and Wanderer become reluctant allies as they search for one of the last human safe places.

Safe Haven – I’ll be honest – Nicholas Sparks is not my cup of tea at all. I certainly don’t mind some schlock-y romance every now and again, but everyone has their limits. In Safe Haven, the very mysterious Katie moves to a North Carolina coast town to start her life over. Between Jo, her neighbor, and Alex, the handsome widower with two kids, Katie begins to find a reason to settle down in this new town.

– Jess


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6 responses to “Read It Before You See It

  1. Great comments! I just saw the poster for Beautiful Creatures Saturday and will have to read the book now.

  2. Sarah Louise

    I know I am in the minority here, but I can never resist this argument. I like movies, I like going to movies. I don’t want them to be “homework.” So when I can, I see the movie first. Then I enjoy the movie for its own merit and not “oh jeez, they totally butchered the book.”


    • I feel like I’m one of the few people with no real feelings either way. If I get to the book first, great. If not, that’s okay, too. Though, I’ve found that I got more out of dense fantasy stuff, like Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, when I read them after seeing them in their adapted states first.
      – Jess

      • Sarah Louise

        YES! For instance, I don’t think I would have tackled Dumas’ Three Musketeers (which took me a week to read) if I hadn’t loved the silly Disney movie with Charlie Sheen and Kiefer Sutherland from the early 90s. Often adaptations are the “gateway drug” to books that seem dense. Although, I have tried, and I’m just not an LOTR girl at all.

  3. I didn’t realize Gangster Squad was a book! Thank you!

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