Enhancing your Reading Experience

Over the last few years, I’ve come to discover a little trick that helps make reading even more enjoyable and addictive than it already is. The secret? Movies!

Confused? Let me explain…

Reading a book that was made into a movie gives you a much more immersive experience as a reader. Let me elaborate by explaining the 2 main ways to do it:

Reading the book before watching the movie

This format allows you to enjoy the book, and then enjoy it again through the movie. Seeing the characters from the pages of your book come alive on the big screen is a thrilling and delightful experience.  What’s even better, is that having read the book, you can tell if and when the movie has skipped over or abbreviated certain parts of the story, or even changed it. I simply can’t contain my excitement when the Honey Bee and I watch a movie whose book I’ve already read and am able to comment on the story-line, the performance, visual effects, etc.  and whether they match up with what I imagined while reading.

Some of the books I’ve read following this format include: The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, The Lincoln LawyerInferno and The Sphere. The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons were great books, but could have been better adapted to the big screen. Not to say the movies were bad- I probably watched them multiple times. All I’m saying is that they could’ve been better.

The Lincoln Lawyer was a really great book, and I think they did a great job at adapting it to the big screen. The Sphere, on the other hand, was a book that had a lot of unrealized potential, and the movie only made things worse. Even with Dustin Hoffman playing the lead, the movie was unable to improve on the unfulfilled potential of the book.

Watching the movie before reading the book

My favorite part of watching the movie first is that when you later read the book, you can imagine the characters. You see the actors from the movie playing their roles in your mind as you read along.

The most obvious downside to this is that you can’t share your experience with anyone, unless you can convince your friends to watch the movie and read the book with you.

Some of the books I’ve read following this format include The Firm and Freedom at Midnight (book reading in progressmovie is called Viceroy’s House). Both books were excellent, and the movies were great too. Hopefully one of my next books on this list will be Jurassic Park (obviously I’ve already seen the movie).

Regardless of the reading format, what really hits home for me is being able to visit the city the book is based in. For example, I was living in France and able to visit Paris while I read The Da Vinci Code, something that really blew my mind and endeared the book to me. Similarly, I was able to visit Florence, Italy right after reading Inferno. In both cases, walking the same streets where the primary character, Robert Langdon, ran through trying to save the world and seeing the monuments and buildings he talked about really helps develop a personal connection with the character and the book.

Undoubtedly, both styles have their advantages and disadvantages and it is hard to choose one over the other. Nonetheless, what is undebatable is the extent of your immersion in the storyline and the deeper connection you develop with a book when a movie is based on it. That’s my little secret and the reason I now always try to read books that have a movie based on them. Try it, there are plenty!

Happy reading, and watching (or vice-versa)!