Wednesday, September 11, 2013

WHAT? WEDNESDAY: THE BOOK, BUT NOT THE MOVIE

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

In a WHAT? WEDNESDAY post during August, I asked if you have a book or movie that's so special to you that you won't read or watch it a second time. (Click HERE to read the post.)

Kianwi at simply she goes said this in her comment: I can't say I've ever had a book that I didn't want to read it again. I'm definitely a re-reader. I mark pages and passages that I want to read over again. I have had books that I loved so much that I refused to see the movie, though.

So I started thinking about how some books are so amazing that we don't want to see the movie. Therefore, today's question is Have you ever read a book you loved so much that you wouldn't see the movie?

When I was in high school during the Dark Ages, I asked our debate coach if he had seen the new movie of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. He said no, and that he wasn't going to see it because the book was too important to him. I hadn't yet read the book, but I did soon after that. I understood why he felt so strongly about the book.

Sophie's Choice by William Styron is such an important book to me that it propelled me into Christianity. I might tell that story some other time.



Sophie's Choice was published in 1979. I think I read it during 1981. A movie version of it came out in 1982 and Meryl Streep won the Academy Award for Best Actress for playing the titular character.

I wouldn't have seen this movie even if we'd had enough money to go to a theater. In later years when we acquired a VCR and the movie was available on videocassette, I would not see it.


I finally caved and watched Sophie's Choice a couple of years ago on an Encore movie channel. I know many people think this movie is amazing and that Meryl Streep's performance is one of the best ever, but I felt unmoved by the movie. I went ahead and watched it out of curiosity and because it had been such a long time since I read the book. It would have been better to just let the book live in my head.

By the way, I never re-read the book. It's too painful, and I love it too much.

So, how about you? Have you ever read a book you loved so much that you wouldn't see the movie?

I look forward to reading your answers. Also, I have a quick announcement: On October 10th, I'm going to be the guest in a Twitter chat. The topic will be strong female characters in books. I'll provide more information soon because, ya know, be there or be square.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

22 comments:

  1. Well, the Harry Potter books are better than the movies, but I did see both. So no, I don't think so.

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    1. Oh, yes, the books are definitely better, but I couldn't live without seeing the movies.

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  2. I love this book. And I read Gone With the Wind when I was in the 7th grade. Although the movie had been shown every year in reruns, I didn't watch it for a long time simply because I didn't want anything to spoil the experience I'd had with the book.

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    1. I used to work with someone who had never seen Gone With The Wind and said she never would.

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  3. Isn't it interesting how opinions vary. I disliked this book so much that I never even finished it. Had no idea what Sophie's choice even was. All I remember (and it's been thirty years since i read it) were endless letters to Stingo (?) by his pompous father. Maybe I should give it another read to see if my tastes have deepened since I first read it.

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    1. Sophie's Choice has become known as a phrase that means a decision that's impossible to make. People always focus on a choice Sophie makes in a concentration camp, but Sophie actually makes more than one choice. The choice in the concentration camp leads her to other choices. You might like it better now. Who knows? I don't even remember the letters to Stingo from his father.

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  4. I've not read Sophie's Choice but have read One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. I found that I enjoyed the film more than I enjoyed the book, which is unusual.

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    1. That is unusual. I think that's a great book. I heard Ken Kesey speak a couple of years before he died. He went on and on about how pot should be legalized and barely mentioned writing. I enjoyed him but felt a bit disappointed.

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  5. I can't think of a book I've read that I wouldn't want to see the movie. But I will say, there are a lot of movies that don't do the books justice!

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  6. I felt that way about "Bridges of Madison County." I really loved the feeling of that book, and i knew what the characters looked like. When i found that it was going to be made into a movie, i didn't think anything visual could capture so much of what went on in the characters' minds. When i found out they had cast Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep, i knew i'd never watch it. They didn't look anything like the characters in my mind.

    I never read that book again, although i usually reread books that really move me.

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    1. I'm sorry I watched that movie. I detested it.

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  7. There's an unimportant but interesting series of books by Lee Child featuring a character named Jack Reacher, which I enjoy. Reacher is a large man--6'4" & 240 lbs--& was played in a recent movie by Tom Cruise--5'5" & 170 lbs. I refused to see it!!

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    1. I know two other people who love those books and decided not to see the movie when they found out Tom Cruise was playing Reacher. You are not alone.

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  8. I think my issue is I love movies so much that even when I love a book and don't want it ruined I have to see what they did with the movie. There are some I have watched that I wish I could "un-see" though.

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    1. I love movies, too, as you may have noticed. There aren't many I wish I could un-see because I'm somewhat discriminating when making my choices in the first place. Netflix knows me so well. I almost always love what they recommend for me.

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  9. Oh yes, please do give us the details on that Twitter chat. I want to go...even if I just lurk.

    I'll usually only see a movie version of a book I liked/loved if it's been a few years since I've read the book. A book that I loved that I WISH I didn't see the movie of is Gone with the Wind. I really, really don't like that movie and that's probably only because I love the book so much. I've neither seen nor read Sophie's Choice, but now if I ever do one, it'll be the book.

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    1. Another Gone With The Wind person. Interesting. Some people love the movie of Sophie's Choice and think it's brilliant. I don't want to make anyone think the movie is bad. It didn't move me because I was so moved by the book.

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  10. I love both books and movies, as you know, so it's hard. But I have to say I usually think the books are better. Not across the line, though. I know they are almost like two different species--books and movies. I can usually keep that in mind and enjoy them for their own sakes--but if I ever get annoyed it's when they've done a really terrible job on a book I liked.

    I wasn't all that impressed with Sophie's Choice even though I had never read the book and I really like Meryl Streep. Not sure why. People raved. That's happened to me quite a few times...and speaking of Meryl...a couple were hers. Out of Africa and The Bridges of Madison County both left me unmoved. But I have never read those books, either.

    Which poses another question--have you seen movies you weren't impressed with and that made you not want to read the book?

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  11. I'm sure I've seen movies that made me not want to read the book, but I can't think of any off the top of my head. Good question. Interesting you didn't like Sophie's Choice or Madison County. I kind of liked Out of Africa, mostly because Robert Redford washes Meryl Streep's hair. For the longest time I wanted Robert Redford to show up and wash my hair.

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  12. I'm pretty sure I haven't read or seen Sophie's Choice. I feel like there are so many really good books I need to put on my list. I did start reading the Game of Thrones series, and I found that to be the opposite. The books were torture, and the TV series is pretty good so far. I gave up on the books...

    -andi

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    1. I've heard of the show but have never seen it. I don't think I even knew that it was based on books.

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