Do Adaptations Affect Our Reading Experience?



(If you ever seen this post before, I’m sorry. I accidentally posted this when it’s unfinished)

As you guys might have known, I’m not the biggest fan of the latest trend in the movie industry, which is the book-to-movie adaptation. But recently, I finished The Great Gatsby, and I didn’t like it. I understand the main plot, but the beauty of the parties and the dialogues were kind of lost to me. But after watching the movie, I appreciated it even more, because it visualize the story and the atmosphere in such an amazing way. I might even rate it higher if I’m doing a re-read, because I just understand more than the first time. It makes me wonder whether adaptation actually affects our reading experience.

The Great Gatsby wasn’t my first experience. I enjoy Pride and Prejudice, the plot is interesting, and I love how I felt being transported back to regency era. But again, the dialogue and the feels are lost to me (I confess, I really need to stop reading classics in English, bc I read Persuasion in translated version and loved it). But after watching the adaptation? FEELS. I giggled and blushed watching the whole thing. I understand why so many people love the classic so much. And after watch the movie and re-read the book, I did rate it higher, because I understand and feel more connected to the story.

Can you hear me screaming/squealing/blushing/shipping them hardcore allover again????

Another case is our beloved Harry Potter. I struggled with some of the magical creatures and location description in general, mainly thestrals. Buuuuut. After watching it I appreciate the beauty and complexities of the wizarding world even more.

Other than visualization and atmosphere, lets not forget the chemistry between the lead actors. The chemistry between Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen makes me ship Darcy and Lizzie even harder. And as much as we hate the PJO and CoB movie adaptations, we have to admit that the chemistry between Logan/Alexandra and Jamie/Lily is A++++++. Not to mention the atmosphere of the soundtrack and the moment, it’s just perfect.

So as much as I dislike adaptations, I have to admit yes, they do affect my reading experience. Especially if the cast are perfect, the atmosphere, the music and the graphic suits the book. I would enjoy the book even more on the second read, and if I haven’t read the book, I might even rated it really high just because the movie is amazing.

Do you thing adaptations affect your reading experience?


20 Replies to “Do Adaptations Affect Our Reading Experience?”

  1. The movie definitely help me understand and see the 1920s better. And yes, it's hard to get the movie out of your head when you see the movie first, especially the actor/actress face as the character.


  2. The Great Gatsby is a good example of a movie adaptation that helps the book. I think for books with a lot of detailed settings that movies really help with visualization. But I'm biased because I ADORE adaptations because then I get to read the book and then see how someone visualized it and compare it to what I have in my head. But I can see how seeing the movie first might box in your imagination and make it difficult to get the full reader experience with the book.

    Liselle @ Lunch-Time Librarian


  3. I also watch the Sisterhood movie first, and while I really like it I haven't read the book yet 😀 I think we enjoy it because we loved the characters and familiar with them so much. You should try it, I think it definitely gives you some more to think about the book! 😀


  4. There have been a lot of times where I have loved a movie adaptation so much that I wanted to go back and read the book it was based on. For example: Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants is one of my favourite movies, and then I read the book because I loved it so much. The book was really good, but even more so because I already knew and loved the characters.

    Other times, I will watch an adaptation of a book or series I have read, and be disappointed in them. I hate it when this happens. Although, sometimes, I can separate the adaptation from the book or series it was based off and enjoy it as something new (like the Heartland show).

    I don't think I have read a book, watched an adaptation, and then read the book with a greater appreciation for it, but that sounds pretty awesome, Tasya!


  5. Me too! If it wasn't for the #1 movie I'd never know Percy and the rest of the demigods (well probably I will but it would be much much later in life). I know hot it feels, being transported to certain perion definitely feel amazing! 😀


  6. You don't watch the movie adaptations? That's really interesting. I never know anyone that doesn't watch adaptations 😀 Yes they can! Especially if the casting's done right, with perfect atmosphere and soundtrack!


  7. Ah yes. I try to read the book first, but when I watch the movie before read the book, like you said, I can't let go of the actors image from my brain xD What a coincidence that you dislike all those books! xD I think you could test this theory by watching the adaptations! xD (there are so many versions for P&P though!) Let me know if it's actually affects your opinion! 😀


  8. I'm also not a very visual reader, I can't imagine the setting and the characters, that's why I tend to skip descriptions 😀 Ah yes we do,because books are just more magical! 😀


  9. Yesss, I know everyone hated the PJO movie but it's what actually got me into reading the series! Sometimes movies with their atmospheric roles just really transport you into the time and period you know? Love the discussion post Tasya!


  10. I agree with Shannon that they affect my experiences in that if I see the movie before reading the book, I can't not picture those actors and visuals. But I don't watch movies after reading books, so I don't have an answer for how that might affect me. It's interesting to hear how it's affected your reading experiences though and made you appreciate the books more. I had never thought of that. Sometimes seeing the actors actually acting out the emotion and chemistry can have a stronger affect than picturing it in your head.


  11. I definitely think they do! Especially if you see something about a movie BEFORE you read the book- it's almost impossible to get the visuals out of your head! For example, if I read a book before I see the movie, I formulate my own idea of the character. BUt if I have heard about the movie BEFORE the book, I will never NOT see the character as the actor portraying them.

    I like though the idea of seeing classics in a new light- and even magical worlds like HP. I admit to liking NONE of the books you mentioned- not TGG, not P&P… not even HP. But I wonder, if I watched the movies, if like you, I'd feel differently. I just may have to give it a shot! I LOVE this post!


  12. I completely agree with Great Gatsby. I could picture all the scenes better after I watched the movie than before. I had trouble picturing some of the magical creatures from Harry Potter too but I'm not a very visual reader. But I don't have the same problem with Jane Austen books so I guess it depends on the book for me. Generally speaking, I tend to always like books more than the adaptations but don't we all? 😀


  13. I know adaptations are only adaptations, they won't give us the same “magic” as the book because the studio has limitations,unless our imaginations. I don't complain about the adapations because how different they are, or how “awful” they are. I enjoyed almost every adaptations I've ever seen, even the so called bad ones like Percy Jackson. I don't like adaptations because of how mainstream they have become. Growing up, it's only HP. But nowadays it's like we could get 5+ adaptations every year.

    Huge thanks for the regency explanation books! I never think about it, but I think you're right. Knowing ettiquete and background of the era before reading the books would add our enjoyment of the book 🙂 Thank you so much!


  14. Ah yes THG! I also find it a bit hard to get into the series while reading it, but I really liked the movie! I think it's visualize Capitol and the district perfectly, that's why I feel it even more! Thank you 🙂


  15. I've heard about that book, but I haven't read it because I feel really intimidated… I do get how you feel about enjoying it more as film though! There are some books in my opinion that's better as movies because they visualize the book prefectly 🙂


  16. Yes! The dialogue makes me open dictionary and the description makes me open google all the time! I know the plot but I didn't feel connected with the characters or the atmosphere at all!-_-


  17. Here's the thing about adaptations: they're adaptations. They will never be a straight-up story experience like reading the book will. Studios have time constraints, budget constraints, playing to a wider audience, limits with CGI (kinda), etc. So for me, adaptations are like a recap of the story I read.

    Also, classic Regency lit, including all Jane Austen, gets infinitely better when you know why, social ettiquette-wise, things in the story are considered horrific, or titillating, or swoon-worthy. There are several books out there that give a good, not dry or academic, brief explanation of things like “touching her hand while courting would have been too risque, nevermind kissing”. That brings a depth of enjoyment to the literature that can't be matched when you see a modern actor in a modern medium (movies and TV) playing the character.


  18. I definitely get this! The first one that comes to mind is The Hunger Games. It took me until around the time the last movie came out to really absorb the content of the books (and I read the books before the first movie came out)! The thing I started understanding is just the brutality of war, and I don't think that really sunk in until the last two movies. I actually changed my ratings for the books after seeing them. So I guess the answer is yes, movie adaptations definitely affect our thoughts on the books!

    Great idea for a post by the way. 🙂


  19. Aww I definitely understand you, Tasya! Recently, I just finished reading a classical book called “Far From the Madding Crowd” by Thomas Hardy, and I sort of struggled somehow with the book because it didn't feel realistic to me. But when I watched the movie, somehow it made more sense watching it in the big screen and I found the story more enjoyable when it was a film :/ It's kind of weird, but there are some stories that are depicted much better through films rather than stories.

    Great post Tasya!

    Jillian @ Jillian's Books


  20. Agreed! I find it so much easier to appreciate classics once I've seen the adaptation after finishing the book. The dialogue and general description can be pretty hard to get into, but once there's a visual, everything makes a lot more sense. I know for Pride and Prejudice, I skimmed a lot of the dialogue because I found it much too flowery, and as a result, I didn't fully understand the development of Darcy and Lizzie's relationship. Plus the musical score always makes everything better!
    I still prefer books over movies, so long as I can properly delve into them. Especially since we've been getting some pretty horrendous adaptations, lately…sigh.


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