5 More Reasons You Should Read Books before Seeing the Movie


by Captain Lyaf Yarr

As I revealed last time, I’ve done both scenarios: read the book first and seen the movie first. I am a firm believer now of reading the books first and I hate it when people see a movie before reading the book that it was based off of! It’s like cheating. You would never read a book’s ending before starting a book, right?

Here are some more reasons to read books first:

  1. You know what it’s about. Before you ever get into the theater you know what’s going on, who’s who, and how it ends. Not all books or movies have happy endings and by reading the book you won’t be surprised if the bad guy gets away to try again with his evil schemes.
  2. You know all the details that aren’t in the movie. All movies are different from the book. This is simple fact. You can’t get every nuance in a movie that you can in a book. When I see a movie I can usually tell where they leave off important information that is found in the book and what it is.
  3. Book to movie translation is never 100% accurate. If you see the movie first and than read the book then you’ll expect what will happen next based off of the movie. Not always the case. So watching the movie first will spoil both and mess up how you’d think of the book from the get go. You’ll never be able to erase how the conspiracy plot was spoiled by the main character and ruin the fun you’d have had trying to figure it out.
  4. It’s cinematic entertainment. (This builds off of points two and three and is not really a negative, just an observation.) A movie is not a book. Most movies are between 1.5-2.5 hours long. In that time, a director must make decisions. He will not only cut information from the movie that was in the book; he may even add to it. Comedic relief, dialogue, and scenes about things that could have happened are the most likely culprits for deviations from canon. It boils down to entertainment value. What works on paper does not always work in film. It’ll keep you on your toes and teach you differences between a script and a book.
  5. Character motivations. In a movie not all of a character’s motivations are given to viewers. Sad, but true. In a book, especially a first person narrative, a reader is always privy to what’s going on in a character’s head. Why did they dump their boyfriend? Insecurity, betrayal, stupidity? The reader knows.

So what do you think? Now you have ten reasons to read books before seeing the movie. Do you agree? What do you like to do?

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  1. So true. Just like if you had two of the same book but one was an extended edition, I would recommend reading the extended edition first. The book is like an extended edition of the movie. You may be a little annoyed that parts of the book are left out of the movie but you would be more annoyed expecting the book to be like the movie.

  2. Nooo! Those are all the reasons you should watch the film first – that way the book can only be better!

    As a former bookseller, this was a constant dilemma and source of debate, but the main thing is to read the book and not just watch the film.

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