Of Movies and the Books that inspire them

I got to thinking about books and movies after publishing my post on The Hunger Games. There are books where you feel, as you read them, that, as he or she was writing the book, the author was (consciously or subconsciously, I can’t know), writing a screenplay. Like he or she was writing with the ultimate objective that the book be produced for the big screen (or for HBO). That’s exactly what The Hunger Games did for me. As I expressed to a friend, I can imagine that the storyline, coupled with its potential to be a production design and cinematographic spectacle, would have loads of entertainment value on the big screen. A few other books, where I feel the author was writing for the big screen, come to mind: the Twilight series, The Devil Wears Prada (I mean, you’ve just got to get them designer clothes out there for people to actually see), The Lovely Bones (I imagine Alice Sebold’s heaven as delicious to recreate on the big screen), the works of John Grisham, and most Jodi Picoult novels (I picked up “The Litigators” and “My Sister’s Keeper” on separate occasions recently. Both Grisham’s and Picoult’s works are always quick reads. And good entertainment for the nonce). Nicholas Sparks’ Safe Haven evoked the same feelings (which leads me to assume his other books would as well, assuming they were fashioned from the same “formula” which has reaped him much success; and quite a few movie adaptations). As do the novels of Stephen King (“It” was a longtime favorite of mine). I was hitherto fairly convinced, you see, that there are very few movies that live up to the books they were based on. But in each of the books I mention above, the movie exceeded my expectations and, hence, bested the book (with the exception probably of Stephen King’s “It”; I liked the book a lot more. But that’s probably true for all books of the horror genre. Think Salem’s Lot, late at night, reading by the light of a lamp, and shiver!) “My Sister’s Keeper”, which I picked up because I was curious as to how the moral issue posed by the book was going to be resolved, for example. The book’s ending was disappointing; not so the movie version’s. There are also books I enjoyed thoroughly and the movies that were eventually spawned from them were also quite pleasant rides and, hence, met my expectations (spectacle and all). The Harry Potter series is one such. The classics The Little Prince, The Lord of the Flies, and The Lord of the Rings series fall into this same category. (I never imagined I would see Tolkien’s masterpieces come to life in movies. Never. And never in so grand a manner. I loved both the books and the movies.) I was also hooked on The Game of Thrones series on HBO, as I was hooked on the 5 novels that make up the Song of Ice and Fire series. I have a short list of novels I’d like to see adapted to the big screen. Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys (Heard once the movie was in the works but somehow got stalled?), Josh Bazell’s first novel, Beat The Reaper (Highly Recommended; his second book wasn’t as riveting), and Suzanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (Absolutely fantastic and highly recommended; would be a mammoth endeavor to make into a film, I know. But what a marvel that would be!). Happy reading.

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