Featuring the Film: How Book Adaptations Get Patrons Reading

book to filmFor many readers, news that their favorite book will be adapted to film can be thrilling.  Films bring the words to life, create new worlds and transform beloved characters into living, breathing flesh and blood.  Films make us see these books in new ways, especially when artistic license is taken in condensing and enlivening long books into neat, two-hour packages.

And yet… how often have we heard friends lament, or complain ourselves: the book was better!  Sure,  films are great, but they don’t offer the same inclusion of the book.  Watching a film, the viewer is merely an observer, and doesn’t feel everything the character feels, as you would when reading the book. There are no limits, no restrictions, no computer-generated-images trying to suspend your disbelief.

However, what most people don’t understand is that the standoff between books and film is like trying to decide if chocolate bars or chocolate ice cream is better. They are two completely different mediums, and should be experienced differently, with different expectations.  Once we settle on the fact that there is no reason to qualify one over the other, films can become a terrific resource for programs intent on the celebration of reading!

Film screening tie-ins are a wonderful addition to any community or all campus reads programming.  Indeed, being introduced to the film first often encourages readers to pick up the book, enriches book discussions, and motivates reluctant readers to turn out.  Even better:  Invite the author of the book to attend a film screening during their community visit, and moderate a Q&A about the film adaptation!

Here are a few book-to-film journeys to consider!


Still Alice
Author: Lisa Genova
Adaptation: Currently filming.
Cast: Julianne Moore and Kristin Stewart


Author: Ron Rash
Adaptation: In Theatres Now!
Cast: Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence


The Lifeboat CoverThe Lifeboat
Author: Charlotte Rogan
Adaptation: In pre-production
Cast: Anne Hatheway will star and produce


art-of-racing-in-the-rainThe Art of Racing in the Rain
Author: Garth Stein
Adaptation: In pre-production
Producer: Patrick Dempsey


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