Article,  Books,  FiA,  Films

Book-to-Movie Adaptations; Read Before or After?

Hey Guys!
Today I am here to bring you a discussion on book-to-movie adaptations that I’d love to hear your thoughts on!
As there are so many YA film adaptations coming out lately, I thought it was high time that I did a post about this but it took me a while to work out what I wanted to say. Then, upon having a discussion with fellow book bloggers – and book lovers! – I decided that it was time to deal with that age old question; Do you read books before or after you see the movie?

For this post, I’m writing all the pros and cons to each and then I’ll tell you what I do and why, and then I’d love to hear all of your thoughts on the matter as well!

Read Before The Movie

  • You have background knowledge to the story.
  • You already know which characters you love.
  • You know you love the story and cannot wait to see what it looks like on screen.
  • You feel ALL the feels more strongly because YOU KNOW.
  • It’s so lovely to just see all your imaginings come true.
  • You get to see the book with your own imagination first!
  • You’re easily disappointed by the film.
  • You see the changes vibrantly and it can instantly ruin your enjoyment.
  • It’s not how you pictured it.
  • They cut your favourite characters and scenes.
  • You’re so lost in what they haven’t included, you miss the brilliance of the adaptation.
  • You may just lose faith in the entire story – was it really THAT bad?

Read After the Movie

  • You get the treat of additional information after the film.
  • You can see the film clearly in your mind when you read.
  • You get to enjoy the movie without questioning ulterior motives.
  • All the things that are changed or missed become exciting in the book.
  • You are introduced to the story in a condensed format before being given more information to gobble up.
  • You get all excited reading the back-story’s of your favourite characters.
  • The film is never as exciting as it could be.
  • The book may be so different from the film, that it isn’t what you hoped it’d be.
  • You already know the story so it’s hard to slug through the words.
  • You don’t always get all the FEELS.
  • You miss all the “oooh” secretive moments when watching the film.
I’m sure there are more pros and cons to be said for both, but these are just the ones that I came up with. And now I am to tell you my verdict on this question;

If I find out a film adaptation is coming out of a book I haven’t read, I will not read that book before the film. On too many occasions I’ve read a book close to the film release, then seen the film and been wholly disappointed in the film. But then, if I read the book a while ago and then see the film, I often find myself enjoying it as I try to remember the best parts of the book to see if they occur!

If I then like the film, I am more likely to read the book. Thus furthering the story and making me fall in love with it more. (see The Kite Runner!).

On the other hand, when I’ve read a book and then it’s made into a film, I find myself very wary and unsure if I even want to see the film. What if it doesn’t live up to the book’s expectations? I wouldn’t want the film to ruin the book (see Twilight) and make me realise that the book isn’t even that good to begin with!

But then, you have the Harry Potter films and The Hunger Games and how they truly brought those books to life.

In summary?
I try not to read the books close to release. And that’s about the tall of it.
Because at the end of the day, it is only by believing that books and films are the same that disappointments occur. And when those books are fresh in your minds when watching the films, it’s hard to remember that.



  • Anya

    I do normally read before watching but I was pretty disappointed with The Host because there were so many things missing.

  • Tanya M @ Mom's Small Victories

    I like to read books before movies. I saw the Harry Potter movies before reading the books and I dont like reading and seeing the movie in my head. I would have rather pictured it myself. But in this case, I think the HP movies were very well done! I hope you link up with my #SmallVictoriesSunday linky open now. Great place to share anything bookish, recipes, blogging tips (just keep content clean). :)

  • Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook

    I usually read books before the movie, if they are books I’m interested in reading. If I’m not interested in the book, but I am the movie, then I’ll see the movie and usually I won’t read the book.

    But, usually when I read the book, I see the movie BECAUSE I liked the book. I usually don’t make it a point to read a book when I know a certain movie is coming out, if that makes sense.

    But I try really hard to not compare the movie and the book, because they are different formats. For example, my favorite Harry Potter movie is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, even though the movie left a lot of stuff from the books out.

  • Jesse Owen

    I always try to read the book first and then watch the film as I prefer to see the story in my head before seeing it visualised on screen. I do however prefer for their to be a gap between reading the book and watching the film.

  • Julie S.

    I think I’m with you that I don’t read the book right before seeing the movie. If it is a book I’ve already read, that’s good enough. If I haven’t read it at all, I might end up reading it after the movie. I really like your pro/con lists. YES to the point that the movie may disappoint if we read the book first and remember all the awesome.

  • Caroline @Big Book Little Book

    YEP I’m with you. The bigger the distance between me reading the book and watching the movie the more I can enjoy the movie.
    For example- I hated the first few Harry Potter movies when I first watched them. But having never reread the book series, but recently watched the movies back to back, I love the films.

  • Michelle (Fluttering Butterflies)

    Really interesting discussion with the pros and cons! I really don’t mind which happens first, reading the book or seeing the film. Mostly because I see them as very different things with different aims and goals. I do find it frustrating how many people have very strong opinions on which *should* come first though.

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