Books that Are Better Than the Movie: Additional Readings

When are books not better than the movie?! Imagining your own creative space based on the elaborate written description hardly ever translates to the screen! Now, it is very easy to create a list of books that surpass the film, so we are going to focus on ones with prominent female leads. Of course there are hundreds more and these are just a selection of my favorites, feel free to comment with ones you feel are essential to add!

The Princess Diaries Series By Meg Cabot
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The Princess Diaries movie starring Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews is a certifiable classic and a personal favorite. However, if you read the book, the movie was so Disney-ified it took away from the real and relatable problems that Mia faced. The book also added depth to the story! Large essential pieces of the book were missing or changed to make it more pleasant for a family. Like her grandmother is meant to be a meanie, think Yzma and not Grace Kelly.

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Also, her father is not deceased. He suffered from testicular cancer and with his perpetual revolving door of much younger women, was unable to have an heir other than Mia. She is the last resort for the family when confronted with the possibility of losing the crown. The series of now 11 books, with the most recent installment coming out in 2014, the story continues to grow and evolve well beyond the two movies. Much love to Chris Pine, but the second film was so off track from the book, that it is hard to even consider it. If I have ever given you book recommendations, ditch whatever nonsense I fed you and put this series at the top of your reading list.

Pride & Prejudice By Jane Austen

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For that matter any Jane Austen, movie, retelling, or web series, is such a blessing to have to relive the content of 200 years ago. I will find any chance I have to discuss the work of Jane Austen and therefore it is no shock that she has made this list. Pride & Prejudice has numerous remakes, but the two that are considered the crux that Austenites perch their hopes on are the Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen’s 2005 film and the original masterpiece is the six hour 1995 mini series featuring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. However, for the sake of being nitpicky, we will just discuss the 2005 rendition. Though this movie is beautiful and adds to the story the almost kiss in the rain, the way he flexes his hand and his face changes with every meeting from stern to free and hopeful, and the happiness we saw between Jane and Bingley’s proposal.

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However, I feel it is essential to read the book to really feel the depth of Elizabeth’s and Darcy’s change in affection.Throughout the movie it appeared to be a somewhat abrupt change as he repaired his “transgressions”, but the book correctly shows that it was the work of several meetings, their shared interests, and his actions. Yes, Pride & Prejudice is not in today’s vernacular, but that just increases the amount the book pulls you into its world of Austen’s day. Austen probably never imagined her work would make the impact to the movie, television, and web industries as it has, experiencing her work in the way in which she intended is essential. I’ll leave you with this famous quote by the author herself, “I declare there is no enjoyment like reading!”
Other renditions that are worth a read/watch are North and South by Elizabeth Glaskell and released as a miniseries in 2004, 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher and released as a Netflix show in 2017, Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty featured on HBO in 2017, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins premiered in 2012.

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Some upcoming exciting small screen releases are Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, A Wrinkle In Time By Madeleine L’Engle, and Anne of Green Gables By LM Montgomery. I am so excited to see these portrayed again! Please share what you are excited to see coming to the screen and feel free to recommend other books that you feel just blew the movie out of the water!

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