This week’s book chat topic was inspired by a conversation I had with Joni (koehlerjoni) about movies that were actually better than the book they were based on. You can probably think of several movies off the top of your head that didn’t do justice to the books they were based on, but have you ever had the opposite experience? These are a few examples of movies that (in my opinion) were much better than the books they were based on. As usual, there’s a list of currently on sale Kindle books at the end of this post.
Julie and Julia, Julie Powell. I love cooking and food-related books and movies, and I thought this movie was charming, weaving together the lives of the iconic cookbook author Julia Child and 30-year-old New Yorker, Julie Powell as Julie attempts to cook her way through every recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year. In the movie both Julia Child and Julie Powell are quirky and endearing and make you want to be their best friend. I was disappointed when I actually read Julie and Julia and found that the Julie Powell who wrote the book was much cruder and much less charming than the character portrayed by Amy Adams. Her writing itself is decent, but I just found her tone and some of her humor off-putting. This was much more enjoyable as a movie.
Silver Linings Playbook, Matthew Quick. Let me preface this by saying that this is one of my favorite movies and if you haven’t seen it, you should. It wasn’t that I thought the book version of this was bad at all. I actually thought it was really good. I just found the movie more satisfying in some ways. I felt like the way the movie approached and dealt with Pat’s relationship with his dad was thoughtful and complex and there was more symmetry and cohesiveness to. Also, the ending to the book is much different than the movie (though it’s not a total downer or anything) and I happened to love the ending of the movie. From reading the book I have to say that I think Bradley Cooper really nailed the character of Pat. He does a great job in this movie.
Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn. I’ve already talked about this a few times, but to boil it down, this worked much better as a movie for me because it was a straightforward psychological thriller that was meant to be watched as a well-made piece of trashy entertainment without trying to be insightful or reflective. The movie is really well made – great acting, great suspense-building, etc., though of course every bit as disturbing as the book.
Wicked, Gregory Maguire I know this isn’t technically a movie, it’s a musical, but it is so very much better than the book which is kind of weird and even a little kinky in some bits. The musical, besides having the obvious advantage of the awesome songs, has so many satisfying connections that tie bits of this story into the story of the Wizard of Oz. I assumed these were all connections made in the book and was surprised to find that some of them had been added by the writers who did the adaptation. The musical took all the best parts of the book and made it something magical.
The Devil Wears Prada, Lauren Weisberger. This is one of my feel-good go-to movies. I love Meryl Streep in it. I love the clothes in it. It’s fun. In the book the main character is much less sympathetic and she doesn’t take the high road in the end the way she does in the film which kind of ruins it. I’m in no way trying to argue that this is a great piece of cinema, I’m just saying, the movie is a better and more fun story than the book.
What movies did you like better than their books?
Kindle Books On Sale
*As of February 23rd. I use the US Amazon site. Prices may vary on other sites.
New on sale this week:
Found: A Story of Questions, Grace, and Everyday Prayer, Micha Boyett ($3.03) One of my best books of 2014 and one of my favorite spiritual memoirs.
Girl Meets God, Lauren Winner ($1.99) I actually haven’t read this one yet, but I did buy it. I read Winner’s more recent book Still (see below) just this month and am now curious to read this book, her first, which tells the story of her conversion from Orthodox Judaism to Christianity.
Looking for Alaska, John Green ($2.80) This is the author who wrote The Fault in Our Stars. I’m just finishing this book now and have enjoyed it. It’s a coming of age story that, like Green’s other books, deals with the usual sex, booze, and rebellion parts of adolescence, but also grief, loss and the greater meaning of life.
Paper Towns, John Green ($3.99) I haven’t read this one, but wanted to include it for John Green fans who might like to pick it up.
Still on sale from last week:
Me Before You, JoJo Moyes ($2.99) Ambitionless twenty-six year old Louise loses her job and takes a temporary position as a caretaker for a 35 year old quadripalegic who challenges her to live life on a grander scale. This is a quick read, but not a particularly light one. Be warned that you’ll need Kleenex.
The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd ($3.99). There’s a reason this book is so popular. It’s great.
The Fault in Our Stars, John Green ($2.99) So good, but read with tissues.
The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd ($3.99) This was on many “best of the year” lists for 2014.
Eleanor and Park, Rainbow Rowell ($4.99) Just finished this a few days ago. One of my new favorite young adult novels. So sweet.
Three Wishes, Liane Moriarty ($2.99)
The Wise Man’s Fear, Patrick Rothfuss ($5.99) See above.
The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern ($4.99) I adore this book.
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