Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Book was Better

By Lisa Karon Richardson

“The book was better.” How many times have you heard that (or said that) after watching a movie that had been based on a novel?

Something about the way our minds interact with the words on the page. The way we almost become the protagonist makes reading a novel a unique and wonderful experience.

Movies have a lot to recommend them as well. It’s like putting flesh and blood on an idea. I don’t know a single writer anywhere who wouldn’t love to see their story played out on the big screen. It’s that rare, magical ring to reach for.

Here’s my list of novels that I’d love to see made into a movie.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett, (Actually I’ve heard that this wish is coming true. Can’t wait!)

All the Tea in China by Jane Orcutt-Now that would be a fun movie. Full of adventure and romance and beautiful scenery.

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters-I wouldn’t want it to be too realistic, but if it could retain the same ridiculous, over-the-top feel as the novel, I’d love it.

Going Postal by Terry Pratchett-Casting would be super duper important in this one. But it would be so much fun to revisit Discworld. In fact, I think I may dig up a copy of this and reread it.

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig-This romance novel has a real Scarlet Pimpernel flare and would be a blast on the big screen. Although, I’d prefer they tone down the ‘romance’ about two notches.

The Amelia Peabody Series by Elizabeth Peters-Yep the whole series. Love this proud Victorian mama and her wonderful adventures.

His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik-A fantasy set in Regency England. It’s awesome! The major powers each have an aerial corp of dragons. Imagine Horatio Hornblower or Jack Aubrey uprooted from naval service and put in charge of a querulous dragon, who just may tip the balance of power in England’s favor. That’s right. Awesome.

The Peacock Throne by Me-Hey a girl’s gotta dream!

So what about you? What book would you love to see made into a movie? Or vice versa, which movie ruined a favorite book for you?


  1. I started to answer and then I got carried off watching our WHAT WE'RE READING. I love this feature. Right there are a few that would make great movies.

    Sandi's "the Master's Wall" for example.

    I agree with your list, Lisa, well, the ones I've also read. You know I'm an Elizabeth Peters 'Amanda Peabody' fan too. And I loved "All the Tea in China" Now you've just given me new ideas for my TBR pile.

    I'll have to think about this some more.

  2. Take all the time you need, Deb. We're here all day. I love the What we're reading slide show too. I think there are a few over there that would translate well to a movie format.

  3. Yes, Sandi's book would be great. Just finished it last night. I'd like to see both of Roseanna Whites books as movies. You all have quite a treat in store when Jewel of Persia actually makes it to the shelves. Those are all big epic books in amazing settings.

    I noticed as I was doing a rewrite on my medieval novel that while a few years ago I wrote as if I was watching the characters on a movie screen, I now write like I'm in their body. Close POV, less narrative distance. I had to make changes throughout based on that.

  4. Ooh, I'm excited for Jewel of Persia. I read the first chapter somewhere and it would make a great movie!

  5. I'm sure there are lots of books I'd like to see turned into a movie, but I'm drawing a blank at the moment. This summer Oldest Son read the Michael Critchon book published posthumously. He said it was like reading a fleshed out screenplay.

    Seems like the last MC book I read, PREY, was the same way.

    Which makes me wonder. MC's earlier books didn't seem that way, but as his books were turned into movies, his craft changed. It was if he wrote them with them being a movie in mind. Hmm.

    I think Judy Duarte's MULBERRY PARK would make a great Hallmark movie.

  6. Ooh, great list, Lisa. But I'm a bit stumped right now about what I'd love to see. I think they're making a movie of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. I loved that book and I hope a movie retains the sense of fun without sacrificing the admiration Seth Grahame-Smith seems to hold for Jane.

    Normally, I expect that there will be (sometimes disappointing) changes made in movies to save time or add clarity, and most of the time I'm fine with it. Unlike my daughter, who's a purist in these things, I understand why the film aged the characters in "Percy Jackson," for instance. But I remember seeing "Last of the Mohicans" a year or two after I'd read the book and my jaw fell open. Despite the gorgeous scenery and costumes and all of that, I couldn't enjoy it at all for the massive changes to the characters' essences. I kept thinking, "Oh, Natty Bumppo wouldn't do that..."

  7. Hi Lisa!
    I just watched A Man Called Peter on TCM. I'm sorry to say that I haven't read any of Catherine Marshall's books because I thought they would be too stuffy. The movie was funny and sweet, anything but stuffy!

    Back on Murder by Mark Bertrand might be fun to see on the big screen. I love the Humphry Bogart style detective thing.

    One more... Rusty Whitener's A Season of Miracles is in production now. I pray they do it justice. Loved it!!

  8. Didn't Michael Crichton write The Great Train Robbery? I really liked the movie that was made from that with Donald Sutherland and Sean Connery. And of course there were all the Jurassic Park movies. Andromeda Strain, not sure what other ones. Sadly I think I've seen more of his movies than read his books.

  9. Susie, that means that the author did a great job of characterization in Last of the Mohicans! I haven't read it. Sometimes it's easier to enjoy a movie if you haven't read the book. No preconceived ideas.

    I didn't know there was a P&P and Z movie in the works. That should be interesting!

  10. Good list, Cheryl! I like a good ol' noir detective movie too.

  11. I'd really like to see Linda Windsor's Healer made into a movie.

    On a personal note, Inky Gina's medieval is superb. I'd buy tickets for seats in the expensive theatre instead of just the cheapie Rainbow Cinema if her book made it onto the big screen.

    Great post, Lisa.

    Anita Mae.

  12. I haven't read The Healer yet. It's on my list though. If any of the Inky novels get made into movies I'll even spring for the DVD! Maybe we could have a premiere night complete with red carpet. That would be so much fun!

  13. The Healer is in my TBR pile and I agree about Gina's Medieval. Just started e-reading A Stray Drop of Blood!

    Here's another thought. I've decided that some books should stay books because a movie could never do them justice. I don't know if that was the case with the Last of the Mohicans but I'm sure glad they made that movie. The soundtrack alone makes my heart swell and race. well, you know what I mean...

    I'd like to see the two Laura Frantz books as movies. I'm going to keep thinking about this for a few days, I'm sure...

  14. So Deb, do you listen to soundtracks when you write? I do for precisely that reason. It's designed to evoke emotion and it does for me. I tend to listen to different music with each story.

  15. Oh yes. I have a few soundtracks and a lot of Celtic music. I also have a great Pandora 'radio' station that is mostly new age GASP piano, movie soundtracks and Celtic. There are some great soundtracks you'd never think of just because you might not want to see the movie but make for very moving background music.

    My faves: the Keira Knightley Price and Prejudice, Becoming Jane and Braveheart. I'm hoping to purchase the Last of the Mohicans at Christmas gift card season.

  16. I've got the Pride and Prejudice one and have written to it. I love the Narnia soundtracks and Pirates of the Caribbean.


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