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Friday, August 2, 2013


By Caroline Clemmons

Obviously, I love reading, especially romance. If the romance includes mystery or suspense, even better. But I also love movies, especially when I can enjoy them in my own home. When my eyes are too tired to focus or my mind and body too tired to concentrate, a good movie on TV or Netflix is relaxing. Like a mini-vacation for the brain.

Isn't this a great cover?

When a movie is a depiction of a favorite book, I have mixed emotions. With a book, the author’s descriptions create images of characters in my head. If the book is engrossing, I know who these characters are, how they dress, even how they walk. The reader is privileged to characters’ internal dialogue as well as vivid descriptions. Of course, a movie doesn’t need setting descriptions, but I miss the author’s version. One that comes to mind is Loretta Chase’s LORD PERFEC T.  When the main characters first see one another, Ms Chase has what I think is the most enchanting reactions recorded in any book I’ve read. My favorite is the hero’s thoughts about the heroine’s astonishing beauty and presence : “She is a woman who causes accidents merely by crossing the street.”

I think this is her edgiest book. Do you?

Depicting a book like Nora Roberts’ or Debbie Macomber’s as a screenplay usually results in a very pleasant movie. I love Ms Macomber’s Mrs. Miracle movies. Say that fast three times. For me, though, the movie doesn’t quite live up to the book. For instance, one of my favorite books by Nora Roberts is MONTANA SKY. That book scared me in many places and kept me turning the pages hurriedly to learn about the sisters. In the movie, some of the edginess disappeared. Oh, the movie was satisfying, but the book much better.

Hugh Jackman! Need I say more?

For long, involved books like Victor Hugo's LES MISERABLES or Ken Follett's EYE OF THE NEEDLE, only portions appear in the movie. Of course I enjoyed “Les Miserable.” Hugh Jackman! Oh, I mean, the movie inspired me. Hugh Jackman! Um, each of the actors performed superbly.

A frightening book with perfect tension!

EYE OF THE NEEDLE is one complicated book, as are each of his tomes. This is not a book you read in one sitting. The movie depicted only the last few chapters of the protagonist’s journey and the heroine’s courageous actions. I enjoyed the movie, but it paled in comparison to the book. Ken Follett is a gifted author and I am in awe of his ability.  

Every author hopes one day his or her books or book will be adapted into a movie. The fact is, though, that I enjoy reading books. I like to visualize each of the characters and the settings. Perhaps it’s because I’m old enough to have played “pretend like” as a child before watching TV or playing video games commandeered imagination. Yes, I watched TV, but the selections for kids were very limited and I had chores and homework to keep me from being glued to the set. And I read and read and read. 

Not great works like LES MISERABLES, no. But Nancy Drew and Louisa Mae Alcott launched me into other worlds and made me a lifetime reader. I had no knowledge of the "write for hire" process or that Mildred Wirt Benson was Carolyn Keene for most of the Nancy Drew books.  Those authors created my desire to grow up and write like Carolyn Keene and Louisa Mae Alcott. I'm still trying. 

Which do you prefer—movies, books, or both? What are your favorites of each?


  1. Great post. Love the images. I love both. But after hours at my laptop working on a book and or researching as I go, I am inclined to kick back and watch a movie or show, and am more and more partial to Amazon streaming with my prime membership. I also spend too much money there. :) I particularly enjoy British films.

  2. I prefer books. Movies leave out too much of the action. I prefer getting the whole story, not the Cliff Note's version movies deliver.

  3. Like you and Beth, once I've been on the computer for long hours, I go to something easy on the eyes and that I don't have to think. I rarely both read a book and watch a movie from the book. It's either or for me. While I loved reading Gone with the Wind, I can't stand Scarlett O'Hara in the beginning of the movie and have turned it off every time I've tried to watch it. Obviously I toned her down in my mind when reading. I watched Janet Evanovich's ONE FOR THE MONEY movie. It was okay, but the characters weren't what I had pictured. I LOVED LES MISERABLES! But I haven't read the book.
    Great post!

  4. I like both. If it's a good book, I'm in heaven. Also, a good action movie keeps my interest. So, I love them both.

  5. To me, they're separate, and I enjoy watching adaptations of books. Sometimes. I thought the Harry Potter movies were better than the books. Lonesome Dove, the book and the mini-series were about even. Eragon--they totally mucked up the movie, which was unfortunate.

    In general, I prefer reading over watching movies but film does have its advantages. Mamma Mia just wouldn't cut it as a book. :)

  6. I like both, but I'm generally better off if I haven't read the book that inspires the movie. Case in point is what Hallmark did to Julie Garwood's FOR THE ROSES. Now, I love Hallmark movies, but that one truly butchered the book! It was years before I could watch it and just remember how much I like Jennifer Garner.

  7. Much prefer a book - this is where my imagination runs amuck .

  8. Much prefer a book - this is where my imagination runs amuck .

  9. I guess I don't compare books to movies because movies are put together so differently than a book. Scores of people have input into the finished product of a movie adapted from a book which is why the movie is usually not faithful to the book. Considerations like box office revenue of the lead actors and other such matters affect the movie via book.

    Fortunately, most authors don't have to deal with those matters or with product placement etc. So if I watch a movie adapted from a book, and I really love the movie, I probably won't read the book because I'm pretty sure it would be disappointing. But if I read the book first and love it then I'll try the movie.

    Funny huh?


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