PaperBackSwap Blog

Read the Book Before You See the Movie, part 1

By Vicky T. (VickyJo)


There are (at least) 16 books that are going to be made into movies in 2014, and since it’s only January, you have plenty of time to read the book before you see the film.  For the next few days, I’ll share the titles and give you a brief synopsis of each plot.  You may have read some of these, but it never hurts to brush up on the book first.


Labor Day, by Joyce Maynard: Labor Day weekend for 13-year-old Henry Wheeler will change his life forever when his mother, emotionally fragile at best, takes in a stranger with a dark secret, and law enforcement on his trail.  The film stars Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin, and opens January 31st.



The Monuments Men, by Robert Edsel and Bret Witter: The true story of an American platoon during WWII which is assigned the incredible task of going into Nazi Germany to rescue art masterpieces and return them to their rightful owners.  The film will star George Clooney, Matt Damon and Cate Blanchett and will be released on February 7th.



Vampire Academy, by Richelle Mead: This is actually a series, with the first novel titled Vampire Academy.  I’m not sure how much the movie will cover, but the first novel introduces us to Rose, half human and half vampire, and Lissa, a vampire princess; both girls attend St. Vladimir’s Academy and must deal with the usual teen angst and problems, plus a few issues unique to vampires.  The movie will be released February 14th and stars Zoey Deutch as Rose and Lucy Fry as Lissa.


Winter’s Tale, by Mark Helprin:  Peter Lake, an orphan and a master mechanic, attempts to rob a mansion in New York’s Upper West Side.  He believes the house to be empty, but to his surprise, it is occupied by Beverly Penn, the daughter of the owner, and a woman who is terminally ill.  The novel is over 700 pages long, so it will be interesting to see it distilled into a few hours of film.  It stars Colin Farrell and Jessica Brown Findlay and opens on February 14th.



Divergent, by Veronica Roth: This first book in Roth’s trilogy introduces us to Beatrice Prior, who lives in a futuristic Chicago, where society is divided into five factions.  All sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will belong…and as you can imagine, nothing ever goes smoothly.  If you liked Hunger Games, you should check out Divergent.  The movie stars Shailene Woodley, Theo James and Kate Winslet.  It will hit theaters on March 21st.


The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green: A moving, intense story of two teens, both with cancer, who fall in love with one another and search for answers to the big questions: How will I be remembered?  Does my life, and will my death, have any meaning?  Shailene Woodley also starts in this film, along with Ansel Elgort and Willem Dafoe.  The film will be released in June.







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8 Responses to “Read the Book Before You See the Movie, part 1”

  1. MIRAH W. (mwelday) says:

    I read ‘Labor Day’ in Sept (actually covered it in the Labor Day holiday post here at PBS!) and thought it was a strange story. I’m kind of interested to see what Kate Winslet does with that character.
    I loved ‘Divergent’ and book two in the series but, I admit, I was disappointed in book 3. I love the dystopian young adult novels so I can’t wait to see what they do with the movie. I read a lot of YA books but haven’t read any of the ‘Vampire Academy’ books, I’ll have to look into those.
    ‘The Monuments Men’ sounds excellent! I typically enjoy books set around WWII as long as they aren’t bloody accounts of the battles, that’s a bit more than my heart can take. But the art factor of this one sounds intriguing!
    And ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ is on my bookshelf right now!
    Looking forward to 2014 books and movies!

  2. Vicky T. (VickyJo) says:

    Mirah, I enjoyed your comment here! I hope you catch parts 2 and 3 of the article; you need more books on your pile, right? 😀 Dystopian YA is the current rage, and there are a couple more novels being turned into movies that fit into that sub-genre. I thought “Labor Day” looked very interesting, and the movie does too.

  3. MIRAH W. (mwelday) says:

    You’re right, dystopian YA is very popular right now. When my friend gave me a copy of ‘Hunger Games’ years ago I had no idea what I was in for! lol
    Great idea to cover these books in the blog!

  4. MIRAH W. (mwelday) says:

    I just finished The Fault in Our Stars….wonderful! Definitely 5 star worthy, in my opinion!

  5. Vicky T. (VickyJo) says:

    I’m glad you liked it! I just got a copy of Labor Day yesterday–I’ll report back after I read it. 🙂

  6. Alexandra says:

    Perhaps I am in a minority, but generally, if I read the book before I see the film, I despise the film. I have been known (in an empty theater) to yell at the screen when something is blatantly wrong, and I usually leave dissatisfied and unhappy.

    On the other hand, I find that, reading the book after I see the film is more palatable: reading the book only enhances what I see on the screen. But then, what is in my head is always (at least so far) so much better than anything I’ve seen onscreen.

    Also, hearing that books I like are going to be turned into movies (and yes, I like movies, although not as much as plays or books) usually fills me with horror and dread because the book is usually destroyed in the process. I am very wary of seeing The Fault in Our Stars for fear of what will be done to it. But then, I read the way other people breathe, so perhaps I am not the best example.

    Yes, I know I’m freaky and weird (I have no issues with this). Has anyone else had a similar experience or a response to this?

  7. Alan Kelly says:

    I’m in Alexandra’s “camp” of (as it were) “buy the book before you see the movie,” then read the book after. There’s more between the ears than between the popcorn and trailers.

  8. Vicky T. (VickyJo) says:

    Sometimes I hate the movie, but sometimes I think they do a decent job. I can’t say “all or nothing” for myself. There have been very rare occasions where I’ve liked the movie better than the book–The Color Purple comes to mind.

    I find if they change the plot too much, I’m in the Hate It camp. If they follow pretty closely, I’m content. I like having read the book first, so I can fill in the missing back story myself.

    I do know there are definite camps when it comes to this, though. You are not alone Alexandra amd Alan! 😀

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