Which came first: The book or the movie?

Which came first: The book or the movie?

My purpose is not to describe which is made first. That’s easy. Good movies (usually) come from good books. The other way rarely turns out well, in my opinion.

Instead, people often wonder what is better to do first: watch the movie or read the book.

The “purists” think if I read the book first, it’s untainted by the movie. I can read it sooner, as the novel comes out so much sooner than the movie. I was a purist, who wanted to enjoy the story without preconceived notions of what the characters looked like or of any later changes to the pure novel.

But then I read “Shogun.” I mean, I tried to read it.
At 1210 pages paperback, it is an intimidating read. The beginning was amazing, but I soon lost what was happening when there were so many Japanese names, each represented by the same stereotypical Japanese figure in my head. They all “looked” the same to me. (No fault of the author.)

But instead of quitting, I got the movie. Though it differs from the book, I finally had a picture to differentiate each of the characters. (Although as Japanese, they still look pretty similar!) So when I returned to the story, I could enjoy it.

My newest strategy: watch the movie for anything with many main characters. If I like it, I will then read the book. If I love it, I will listen to it on audio.

Watching the movie first ruins the “purist” reading and keeps me from reading many books, but it also helps me know which ones I’m interested in reading. One further reason for watching first: I won’t think “Too bad the movies isn’t as good as the book,” like I thought about “Hunger Games.”


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