Better than books?
We all have at least someone in our life who does not like to read. Whether it’s a friend, spouse, parent or sibling. It just can’t be helped. Not everyone embraces the euphoria that reading offers. While I don’t understand how people survive on a day-to-day basis without reading, I certainly don’t want alienate all non-readers and shut them out of my life. So here is the conundrum: Given that I love to read and like to discuss books, how can I incorporate my non-reader friends into my life and conversations? Answer: Movies.
Everyone likes movies. And so many books are eventually made into movies. So I figure, the non-readers in my life can see the movie. I’ll read the book. Then we’ll chat. In order to make this work, the trick is to find movies that adhere to the book as much as possible and really do the book justice. Because, let’s face it, some movies made from books are absolutely horrible when compared to the book and some are so different from the book that “based on the book” is hardly an apt characterization.
To aid readers and non-readers alike, I put together a list of my top 10 book and movie combos. These are simply books I thought were good and were adapted into movies equally as good or better. “The Soloist” by Steve Lopez is released on film April 24. So if you read fast, you can put my plan into action.
“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
Atticus Finch is without a doubt one of my favorite characters in any book ever written. Gregory Peck, who portrays Atticus in the movie, is amazing.
“Twilight” by Stephenie Meyer
If you don’t know about this book and movie you’ve been living under a rock, and there is nothing I can do to help you.
“The Devil Wears Prada” by Lauren Weisberger
I know. I know. Not exactly a literary classic, but the book was entertaining, as was the movie.
“Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexandre Dumas
This is not an easy read but well worth the effort. The movie, released in 2002, leaves out some important parts (which is not surprising given the length of the book) but adheres to the major plot points.
“The Other Boleyn Girl” by Philippa Gregory
The book was saucy and scandalous to say the least and the movie starring, Scarlett Johansson, Natalie Portman and Eric Bana, is equally saucy and scandalous.
“Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen
The most recent movie version was released in 2005, but I recommend the British Broadcasting Corp. made for TV version starring Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy.
“Absolute Power” by David Baldacci
The book is action packed. As for the movie, can you really go wrong with Clint Eastwood and Ed Harris?
“House of Sand and Fog” by Andre Dubus
Both the movie and the book are absolutely beautiful and depressing.
“Little Children” by Tom Perrota
The movie was released in 2006 and stars Kate Winslet. There are a number of glaring differences between the book and the movie (for example, the endings are completely different) but both were so good I had to include “Little Children” on my list.
“A Civil Action” by Jonathan Harr
The fact that I am an attorney may make me a little biased, but I thought both the book and the movie were compelling dramas.