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Monday, June 3, 2024


 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 is relaxing. Like a mini-vacation for the mind.

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 example of excellent description that comes to mind is Loretta Chase’s LORD PERFECT. 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. It's too long to include here. My favorite is this part of the hero’s reaction to the heroine’s astonishing beauty and presence: “She is a woman who causes accidents merely by crossing the street.”

Depicting books like Nora Roberts’ or Debbie Macomber’s as a screenplay usually results in an engrossing movie. I love Ms Macomber’s Mrs. Miracle movies. (Say that fast three times.) For me, though, the movie often 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 great, but the book is much better.

For long, involved books like LES MISERABLES or EYE OF THE NEEDLE, only portions appear in the movie. I enjoyed “Les Miserables.” Hugh Jackman! Oh, I mean the movie inspired me. Each of the actors performed superbly.

Ken Follett’s EYE OF THE NEEDLE is one complicated book, as is each of his fascinating works. The movie depicted only the last few chapters of the protagonist’s journey and the heroine’s courageous actions. Again, 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 book or books will be adapted into a movie. I was excited for Lori Wilde, a friend and local author whose books I enjoy, when one of her books became a movie. Now she's had others adapted into movies. Yay, Lori!

The fact is, 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. Nope, but Nancy Drew and Louisa Mae Alcott launched me into other worlds.

Which do you prefer—movies, books, or both?


  1. I'm usually fonder of the movie if I haven't read the book first. Like you, I love the Mrs. Miracle movies--especially the ones with Doris Roberts. To this day, I've only watched Gone With the Wind once because--other than Clark Gable--I totally hated the casting. To answer the question, I usually prefer books.

  2. I am a big Audible person, I can listen while I do my ADHD hive of activities. I loved the book Firefly Lane and just recently watched the series. The fact that Katherine Heigel starred in it, didn't hurt. While both were great, the vivid imagery of the TV version brought back a lot of childhood memories.


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