Why I Sometimes See the Movie Before I Read the Book

Why I Sometimes See the Movie Before I Read the Book

My friend, Michaela, at The Ardent Biblio recently talked about reading War and Peace for the first time. If you aren’t aware, War and Peace is considered one of the best books of all time written by the most prolific writers, Leo Tolstoy.

However, it was originally written in Russian, is over 1400 pages long, and it takes place during the Franco-Russian War. Unless you’re actually studying the text, there aren’t many people who decide to pick this book and read it. And if you do decide to read it, there’s a lot of families, a lot of names, and a lot of important moments you have to remember.

But a copy of the book has been sitting on my shelf for years. I even dedicated some time to read Anna Karenina (Tolstoy’s other epic classic) a few years back only to stop reading it one day and never picked it back up.

When it comes to books like this, I’m immediately intimidated. I felt the same way about Game of Thrones when the show first came out. I was weary with reading the novel because of all the characters, the places, and the events you had to remember. I think this is one of the many reasons why I put off reading War and Peace.

Today just happened to be the day I decided I will read it. I know that some of this influence does come from Michaela, but the other part comes from the fact that I’m currently watching the TV adaptation of the book. Here’s a trailer below:

So you must be angry at me for watching the BBC version of this show rather than reading the actual novel. Don’t worry, I will definitely read the novel in time. I just would rather watch the show first before diving into the book.

But why?

I think we’ve come to a day and age where reading classics (or some more difficult fantasy novels) has become easier. Aside from the myriad of translations you can choose from (definitely check out The Ardent Biblio post about it above), many of the beloved classics from yesteryear are now available on TV. Movies and retellings and mini-series have been made in abundance for so many classic books. I remember the day I watched all of the BBC Pride and Prejudice and after watching the epic mini-series, I decided to read the book. I read Little Women after watching the 1995-film version with Winona Ryder for the millionth time.

Similarly to many other books I come across, I always have a tough time with visualizing characters and people. With a ton of names and events, it’s hard to keep track of them all. I always find myself flipping from the front of the book and the family tree and the index back to the page I was reading. God forbid the author doesn’t even give you that! Even when the novel is simpler, I always find myself using some actor or actress I feel is appropriate for the main character instead of dreaming up someone in my head. I should have gone into casting or something for these movies.

What watching the show does is allow me to visualize what may have been more difficult without. I’m able to see who exactly is Pierre and Andrei and Natasha and all the others. I can see them in my head and when I read the book I can use that to help shape the story. When I go to the book later on, I’ll be able to read with those characters in mind and be able to visualize the nuances of their emotions and reactions.

I’m also able to visualize the story. You may think that this will spoil a novel for me, but it doesn’t. When a book is as popularized to make a movie, I feel like the spoilers are gone. You already know what’s going to happen or you can read about them online. But the visualization of the story allows me to follow along and understand the bigger events that happen.

Of course you’re not going to get the whole book in the show. If anything, the shows and movies provide a bone structure for you to go back and read the book and fill in the muscle and the tissue. A movie without the book isn’t the same as the movie with the book. You get to a battle scene with its gore and guns and fighting and for some reason these scenes have always been really tough for me to envision in my head. Instead, I get this battle scene played out for me and I can go back later and fill in the gaps I missed about that scene.

The last added bonus of watching the movie before reading the book is that you’re never disappointed. I’ve read books before watching the movie and felt the upset of it not being true to the film. I’ve seen movies that were even better than the book and that annoys me to no end as well. Watching the movie before the book sets me up for good reading with well-crafted scenes and if the adaptation is really good, it can really blow the book out of the water (but that’s a post for another time).

Y’all probably hate me now because I do this weird method of watching the adaptation before reading the book, but for some reason it’s worked for me. I’ve been able to really enjoy some of my favorite classics because I was able to watch them played out like this. It’s also great when the people who made the movie put in the extra work to make it incredible. With an adaptation like War and Peace, there’s a lot of ground to cover in more than just three hours. I mean, look at what happened with the Lord of the Rings movies.

Little Reads – February 2, 2018

Little Reads – February 2, 2018

I feel that recently there’s been a lot of bad news. Well, the past year has been filled with bad news and it’s been really tough. You want to keep in mind your self care, but when the president is doing funny things or someone scares another group of people it’s difficult to keep focused.

People feel worse from bad news and that kind of feeling can leak into other parts of your world. I know that I’m very guilty of this and have had stress and anxiety from being too connected to the bad stuff happening in the world. My husband is even convinced that his stress about winter has made me stressed about winter.

So I’ve decided to dedicate my Friday posts to sharing some good news. This will include some bookish-related news, but mostly fun stuff I find and read on the Internet. I figured that the world can do with a bit of good news so might as well include them here.

For this Friday, there just happened to be a lot of stuff going on. First there was the State of the Union address, which I won’t get into. It caused a ton of controversy, so I spent the rest of the week reminded myself that there are worse things in the world and way better news to share.

I’m obsessed with War and Peace

My big obsession this week has been Leo Tolstoy’s classic tale called War and Peace. However, unlike most people in the bookish world, I’m watching the BBC 8-part series. I spent my evenings this week laughing at Pierre for being such a turd and seeing all these women either losing their husbands to war or other women or just to themselves. A lot of women waiting around for their beaus to return from whatever they’re doing. It’s kind of fun and really dramatic.

Also, I can’t help but to watch this show and think about how Russia used to be before the French took over and then communism. I wonder if Russia will ever experience a glory like they did when they were just a monarchy.


Super Blue Blood Moon

Photo used by NASA

“I see a blood moon rising…”

I’ve been living in blood moon world while playing Zelda: The Breath of Wild on Nintendo. Every time the blood moon rises in the game, the folks I already killed miraculously come back to life. This isn’t that terrible of a fate especially when you don’t keep track of your kills.

But when I heard there was going to be a blood moon FOR REAL I had to check it out. While I missed the real thing in the city, I saw the telescopic images from NASA and you have to admit that this thing is pretty cool. I’m not a big science person and my husband loves it more than I do, but I think that a giant red moon is something that you got to see. Also, the craters from meteors look pretty spectacular on the lunar surface.

Dumbledore is Gay and No One is Doing Anything About It

Photo used from BoingBoing

If you weren’t aware, many years ago JK Rowling made a statement that Dumbledore is gay. Back then, people were outraged with knowing that Dumbledore is gay and how that goes against some of the more Christian sensibilities in the world.

Now, as the new Crimes of Grindelwald movie news comes out, it sounds like Dumbledore won’t be exploring his new sexual freedom with his bestie and possible former lover, Grindelwald.

I didn’t know much about the controversy, so I did some research and I can see why people are so upset. When the world is crying for some representation on all marginalized voices, you’d think this would be a good chance for JK Rowling to show that Dumbledore is more than just the kooky professor and wizard. However, it sounds like Rowling won’t be making any attempts to explore this part of the famous wizard’s life.

I wish that they would really approach this theme. Having one of the most famous wizards of all time be openly gay means a lot to the LGBTQ community as well as any marginalized fans of Harry Potter. After the display of minorities in the books and films, you’d think that JK Rowling would grow up a little and bring the films into 2018.

I just think it would have been a great opportunity to explore this and it was just missed. We can have a movie with a bunch of monsters and mythical creatures, but we can’t have a gay Dumbledore? Probably the saddest news I heard all week.

The Cover Reveal of A Court of Frost and Starlight


This is the last piece of news for the week, but I’m so excited to share it! The Internet was abuzz this week when Bloomsbury released the latest cover for Sarah J. Maas’s latest book, A Court of Frost and Starlight. This book in the epic series will be a novella that bridges the last book (A Court of Wings and Ruin) to some spinoff series Maas will be writing. I think I will pretty much read anything Sarah J Maas writes because her work is incredibly detailed. Also, she announced that she’s pregnant and probably will be busy with the baby soon, so this might be it for a little while…

If you’re not an avid follower of this series, this is a good high fantasy you’ll have trouble putting down. I mean, it took me a day to finish one of the books, which was 800-pages long! These books are so good with romance, action and adventure, politics, and a lot of kick ass girl power.

This cover is so so beautiful and if you’re a follower of the series, then you know about the tattoos down her right arm. Even if you’re not a fan or haven’t read it yet, you have to admit that this pic really gets you psyched for the new one!