Read It 1st: reading books before watching the movie

I was delighted to find Read It 1st – a coalition of concerned readers who want to see people reading books before they see the movie. At one point, the creators of Read It 1st discovered that 5 of the top 10 movies in theatres started off as a book but most people probably didn’t know that.

I admit that I don’t like to read books after the movie is out. And I HATE buying books with movie covers. But I do feel a crude sense of snobbery whenever I’ve read a book before they even make the movie.

I mean movies rarely do the books justice – just think  about The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Time Traveler’s Wife and Lovely Bones. All made a huge splash in the book world but no one even remembers the movie. Of course, selling movie rights is the holy grail for all starving writers everywhere. So you can’t blame them for selling out.

Here are a few books you should read before they hit the silver screen – because the movie rights have already been sold.

The Hunger Games Trilogy (Suzanne Collins)
You’ve been living under a rock if you haven’t heard about The Hunger Games movie! It’s on my to-read list.

Mergers and Acquisitions (Dana Vachon)

Vachon’s Mergers and Acquisitions is a pretty shallow story about a really terrible investment banker with a heart of coal working at a firm named J.S. Spencer. Vachon himself admits that he was a terrible investment banker at J.P. Morgan. While I didn’t love the book (it tries too hard to be funny and absurd), I could see how this movie would draw audiences. Everyone loves to hate bankers these days and there’s a genuine interest in how they screw everyone over with their lush lifestyles and rash decisions.

Before I Go to Sleep (S.J. Watson)

I previously blogged that everyone should read Before I Go To Sleep before it becomes a sub-par movie because the book is an amazing edge-of-your-seat thriller. I’m not sure if a movie could portray the choppiness of stopping and restarting a life again every time she wakes up. Go ahead Hollywood, prove me wrong.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Seth Grahame-Smith)

As if haunted by zombies, the making of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has had many setbacks. A few years back, Natalie Portman was set to star in the movie but it looks like the plans have fallen thru. And a few months ago, the director walked out too. My bet is that they’ll cast someone unknown to play Elizabeth Bennett and make the movie – once it spears its last production zombies.

The Trylle Trilogy (Amanda Hocking)

Hocking is one of the many Amazon Kindle success stories. After getting her book rejected by every publisher out there, she self-published on Kindle. Let’s just say she’s not one of the starving writers I mentioned earlier. Better yet, let’s say she made over $2.5 million. Trylle is YA fantasy fiction but it has adults and teens under its spell. Who needs a book deal if you can go straight to a movie deal?

Shiver (Maggie Stiefvater)

Shiver is Stiefvater’s first book in her werewolf romance trilogy (Shiver, Linger and Forever). Judging by her newest book, The Scorpio Races, she’s a fantastic fantasy writer. This trilogy is also on my to-read list (after The Hunger Games).

Steven Jobs (Walter Isaacson)

Apple could sell bed bugs (now more portable than ever!) if they really wanted to and still turn a profit so why not a movie about the company’s famously eccentric creator? Just goes to show you can be a nerd and still have a movie made about you.

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15 thoughts on “Read It 1st: reading books before watching the movie

  1. Ooh fantastic list!! As a self-made rule of thumb, I NEVER see a movie that I haven’t read the book first. I’ve actually wanted to see movies, went to read the books and loved them so much I never got around to actually seeing the movie.
    I’ve heard AMAZING things about Before I Go To Sleep!! I seriously need to pick that one up soon. AND been meaning to check out Switched as well..

    Love this topic! 🙂

  2. I have been reading Burrouhs’ John Carter series and The hunger games for the same reason. I don’t know but from the trailer I feel the movie would do justice to the book, the casting is amazing. Katniss is perfect, and my only complaint was Lenny Kravitz for Cinna. Fingers crossed.
    Trylles’ are my next in to read list.

  3. Thanks for telling us about Read It 1st – very cool organization! I generally prefer to read the book before seeing the movie as well, though with some classic films, it’s difficult because there are quite a few based on popular books at the time that may be out of print or difficult to find now. Also, strangely, making a movie out of a book always seems to drive more people to the book. I’m always amazed when I look at bestseller lists because books turned to movies inevitably show up. I’ll admit that I’m guilty of this, too; I finally got around to reading The Hunger Games solely because I knew the movie would come out soon.

    • Yes the big publicity machine will sell anything related to the movie! That’s another good reason for authors to sell to movie deals. Which out of print books are you looking for? I wish they’d digitize more of them. I know Project Gutenberg has been (endlessly) trying to digitize out of print books so they’re not lost forever.

      • I was thinking of the film Beat the Devil (1953), which is loosely based on an out of print book, though used copies can still be found online. Funnily enough, though, it seems that there is a reprint of the book due in March. Two other films I can think of whose source books appear to be out of print are Bright Leaf (1950) and Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955), though again, it’s not too difficult to find used copies online. However, these aren’t really mainstream movies (or books), of course.

        Good point about Project Gutenberg, but do they digitize out of print books that are still protected by copyright?

      • I’ve never heard of those books or movies! Will have to check them out. No, Project Gutenberg can only digitize books after the copyright expires. It seems a bit strange that publishers would hang onto a copyright but not publish the book. I imagine digital publishing doesn’t cost that much. What are they waiting for?

  4. excellent entry – thanks for sharing about read it 1st! (i hadn’t heard of it).

    i’m skeptical about how the hunger games will be as a movie – the book was well written. i’m afraid that hollywood will dumb it down and make it more appealing to the masses (but i am hopeful with the pg-13 rating).

    • To be fair, I don’t know how active Read It 1st is! But I liked the idea.

      I hear Hunger Games is very dark so it will be interesting how they will make it appeal to the masses. With a PG-13 rating, this will be the movie all the kids try to sneak into!

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