Yes, you read correctly. This week’s post will feature my top ten best books turned into movies. I won’t be delving too deep into my reasons because I’m sure by now you all know that I prefer to read rather than watch movies of literary works. So reader, are you ready to venture below and find out the contenders for this list?
A small note: I must confess that I’m only focusing on children’s and teen books that have been turned into movies.
Shall we start then…
If you hadn’t guessed by now, the whole of the Harry Potter series is by far one of my top ten!! I suppose the heightened anticipation of delving into a magical and fantastical adventure is one that no one can resist, even us modest librarians!! Did I tell you that I ended up buying not just the series of books, but the movies as well?! A few of them were actually gifts from my movie-crazy brother!! Poor kid, he had no idea that they were lacking the intricate sub-plots Rowling had expertly crafted into the series and at times could be heard asking me some random question to get the answer from me, “Read the book bro!!” So that’s one of my main reasons why I favor the books, you get to read the whole story and formulate your own ‘movie’ in your imagination!!
The series that sort of runs tandem with Harry Potter is the Percy Jackson series. Although only two movies were made, neither of them lived up to the rich and vivid storyline presented by Riordan. Now I’m not saying the movies were bad, just that most of the important aspects of the book were slightly missing. Along with the original Percy Jackson and the Olympians series there’s also the Heroes of Olympus and Trials of Apollo series that continue to carry our characters through quests, adventures and many hardships that have a multitude of a fan base!! I’m only saying this because I see the many piles of these being taken out of the library I work in!!
Veering a little ways from the adventure genre, I’d like to tell you about some of the contemporary reads I’ve found cast on to screen in the last few years.
I suppose it goes without saying that the anticipation I felt when I found out that Wonder by R.J. Palacio was being made into a movie starring Owen Wilson and Julia Roberts was electric!! I prayed with all my might that it would do justice to the awesomeness of the book and I was so happy when I did watch it!! This is one of the few books where I found the movie was on point!! Every voice in the book was covered and the acting of those youngsters was stupendous!! I could watch that movie over and over again!!
Stepping across to the UK, I found my next contender for the contemporary genre with a slight fantasy blend to it in A monster calls by Neil Gaiman. I had first heard about this through a roundabout way from the author bio on another book and decided to check it out. I was lucky to find an illustrated edition with references to the movie creation. Just like Wonder, I found that the movie had most of the book covered with only a few bits of the plot missing. Intertwining themes of loss, grief and the bonds of family, I found that the movie brought the powerful story to life with some amazing actors and cinematography. Yes, there are some special effects that might be a bit dark in places, but the overall story is a lovely one.
One of my favourite children’s historical reads made into a movie is War Horse by Michael Morpugo. Taking readers into the years of the Great War as it impacts the life of one young man and his horse, I found the movie quite inspiring and poignant. Again, just like my previous book, I found an illustrated version which helped my imagination soar. The story became infamous in my mind after I watched the movie version with a star-studded cast and some superb acting. I must mention that having some of my favourite actors in the cast didn’t help this paragraph, but I must side with the book as I prefer descriptions of warfare to screen adaptations. Would you agree with me or not on this?? I’d love to hear what you think!!
I must digress to fantasy and sci fi stories now. Especially those teen tales that have brought dystopian worlds to the screen for us.
The Giver by Lois Lowry was one which I read before watching the movie. I actually read the quartet and enjoyed the stories. Have you ever read a book and thought to yourself, ‘How would a movie depict this?’ With The Giver, I felt as if my question was answered at least partially. Yes some bits and pieces were not included but the overall story was created well and a pleasure to watch.
Okay, I suppose you want my comments on the famous dystopian trilogy, The Hunger Games now that I’ve started. Well,… to be honest… I’ve read about half of the trilogy and watched maybe about the same. I did enjoy the movies I watched and thought the special effects were awesome. Don’t judge me please, but it’s the storyline I can’t seem to stomach!! Someday I plan on finishing Catching fire and Mockingjay – the books… and maybe the movies!! Until then, I’d like to go from the recommendation from my colleagues to say the books are better!!
Teen novels and romance seem to be a winning combination when creating memorable movies!! The few that I read and turned into screen creations range from the Twilight trilogy, John Green’s reputed The fault in our stars and the trending first novel from Becky Albertalli’s Simonverse; Simon vs the Homo Sapiens agenda or it’s movie name Love, Simon. I’m happy to tell you I watched all of these as movies before I embarked on the books!! And typically for me the books did win but the books weren’t that far behind to be honest!! In the case of the last one, it was the first time I saw LGBTQ themes introduced among younger audiences onto the screen and I must say I loved how it was portrayed both in book and movie form!!
Well, these are my ten. What about you?? Do you have a list of ten best books vs movies? I’d love to hear what yours are!!
Stay safe and keep reading