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Is the book better than the movie?

Posted on March 31, 2015 by Sunny South News

By Heather Nicholson
Coaldale Public Library

“Never judge a book by its movie,” J. W. Eagan.

This is a quote favoured by librarians. Not only is it witty but it’s often true. Most avid readers will agree, when a book is adapted into a movie, the book is better
There are many reasons for this.
First, books adapted into movies are missing parts of the story which may leave the viewer a bit confused.
In addition, movies don’t allow viewers to see what’s going on inside a character’s mind — giving insight into their feelings and motivations.
And, one of the biggest frustrations of readers is when you read a book you create an image in your mind about what the characters and the setting look like and too often the movie version doesn’t match up.
To be clear, I’m not knocking movie watching.
Movies are entertaining, offer a great way to escape, take up way less time, and are accessible to all regardless of their literacy level.
With the closing of video stores and the disappearance of Redbox in Canada, the public library is one of the last remaining places to borrow a movie.
Around 20-25 per cent of the items checked out from the Coaldale library are DVDs and the library spends a significant portion of the collection budget purchasing the latest hit films.
You might be surprised to discover how many of today’s popular movies are adapted from books.
I’ve read statistics that claim as many as 50 per cent of new movies are based on books.
Before you hit the theatres and risk misjudging a great book — this spring you might want to check out some of these:
“Still Alice” by Lisa Genova is a moving story about a successful university professor diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease.
I haven’t seen the film yet, but it was definitely one of my favourite reads in the last year.
“American Sniper” is based on the bestselling 2012 release by Chris Kyle, who recounts his career as a Navy Seal.
If you loved “Gone Girl,” you might enjoy “Dark Places,” also written and adapted for the screen by Gillian Flynn
“Dark Places” is a thriller about a woman coping with the murder of her family in what appears to have been a cult ritual.
Nathaniel Philbrick’s “In the Heart of the Sea” is based on the true story of the Whaleship Essex, which sank in 1820 after an attack by a sperm whale. This is the same event which inspired “Moby Dick” and will soon be on the big screen.
Following the huge success of “The Fault in Our Stars,” Hollywood is adapting “Paper Towns” — one of John Green’s earlier novels for the big screen. The story follows social outcast Quentin Jacobsen, who gets dragged on a wild adventure by the girl he has loved from afar.
*Editor’s note: This is Heather’s last column for the Sunny South News. We thank Heather for all her past columns and wish her luck in the future.

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