The film industry is always looking for inspiration for the latest big hit and where better to look than on that ram-packed bookshelf of firm favourites? But with sure-fire blockbusters making their way down the Hollywood production line, niggling internal debates are surely on the rise – to read or to watch, now that is the question. The fork in the road that is buffing-up on the book beforehand or waltzing straight to the local cinema is fraught with indecision and often regret. Will reading the book first ruin the surprises in the movie? How irritated will you be if your favourite scene is cut out of the movie altogether? In regards to up-and-coming film adaptations, reading the book first is a must, and here’s why:
Fifty Shades of Grey
By E. L. James
While E.L. James’ Fifty Shades will never be a great literary piece, there are plenty of reasons why you should read the book before being exposed to the film. The main reason being that reading it first will mentally prepare you before seeing the… controversial scenes on a whopping big screen – advanced awareness would definitely be a good idea for this one! Keeping a straight face at some of the scenes will be vital when surrounded by cinema-goers, particularly as some of James’ work comes across more hilarious than erotic. If the film follows a similar path, fits of laughter will seem very inappropriately timed!
By Suzanne Collins
The final instalment in The Hunger Games trilogy is sure to delight even the most unenthusiastic fans, and those who haven’t delved into the books should definitely pick them up! In short, Mockingjay is the most widely-appealing of the series as revolutionary forces storm the Capitol from District 13. The book covers a lot of ground, and for this reason many fans may feel that splitting the novel into two parts for the films will lose some of the complexity of the plot. There is also the added bonus of being able to finish the series in one go, while film fans will have to wait until November 2015 to see part II.
The Maze Runner
By James Dashner
When reading The Maze Runner, it is easy to imagine the world and the characters in it for yourself due to James Dashner’s cinematic narrative and use of bold descriptive language. Forming your own picture of the characters in the Glade and the terror which lies within the maze is part of the delight of reading the book – a pleasure which will be taken away by watching the film first! The cliffhanger at the end of the first book will make the second book in the series look very appetising!
By Gillian Flynn
Despite the Ben Affleck movie being heralded as a perfect adaptation of the book, Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl is still a must-read. The twists and turns, character backstories, suspense, and changing perspectives between the present Nick Dunne (the lead character) and the diary of Amy (the wife who disappears), really make the book a great read – the film sorely misses several of these vital narrative techniques. Discovering Flynn’s own early career in pop culture writing (and her consequent dismissal from her job) hidden amongst her lead character’s backstory makes the read all the more interesting.
By Dan Brown
The next Dan Brown bestseller to be turned into a film will be Inferno, which is the fourth book in the series that follows the adventures of Robert Langdon (university-lecturer-turned-Indiana-Jones). As with all of Brown’s novels, the sheer intricacy of the plot and the churning-out of important art pieces, facts, figures, and obscure religious references makes the book an important read. Unfortunately, the previous films have often glazed over these significant details – so reading it will definitely answer the questions that the film will most likely neglect!