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Is Reading a Book Better Than Seeing Its Screen Version?

Two New Productions to Help You Decide

woman with popcorn watching the screen

Thousands of books have been made into films. Bestsellers are often bought for movie rights, and if an author is really lucky, her manuscript could be purchased for a movie or television series even before it is published in book form.

Sounds impossible, but it does happen. The novels Hidden Figures, The Hate You Give, The Martian, World War Z, and City on Fire, were purchased for screen rights before it got to the publishing house floor. Add to those, The Time Traveler's Wife, The Longest Ride, and Arclight, to name just a few.

Of special interest to this post, the film rights for The Killers of the Flower Moon were purchased one year BEFORE the book was published in 2017!

But whether or not movie rights are purchased before or after publication, most movies are based on books.

Is reading a book better than seeing its movie version?

Avid readers will tell you that the book is always better. That the characters you come to know lift up off the page and settle into your brain, molded by your own experiences and beliefs.

The movie version, however, has its own ideas of what a character would look and sound like, and those ideas may or may not match your vision. In Hollywood, the setting of a film becomes a geographic reality based on photography and props, but based on your memories and experience, you may have a much different picture in your mind.

In my mind, books are always better than movies because they allow me to create my own interpretation.

Two movies to be released in the next few months will give you a chance to determine which you think is better. Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann and A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles are coming soon.

Killers of the Flower Moon

Killers of the Flower Moon was one of my favorite reads of 2022. It's based on the true story of what happened when oil was discovered on the Osage Indian reservation in the early 1900s. Suddenly, the Osage people were incredibly wealthy. Just as suddenly, they started dying off in mysterious ways, murdered one by one by greedy white men.

The movie will be released in October of 2023. Produced by Martin Scorsese, it's a film filled with great actors. Leonardo DiCaprio will play Ernest Burkhart, alongside other notable actors: Robert De Nero, Jesse Plemmons, John Lithgow, and Lily Gladstone.

I can't wait to see it. Killers of the Flower Moon may be one of those movies that surpasses the power of the book.

A Gentleman in Moscow

If you're one of the four million people who have read A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles, you'll want to know that the book is being produced for a streaming release in early 2024.

A Gentleman in Moscow is the story of the wealthy Count Rostov who is declared an enemy of the government and is exiled to Moscow's Metropol Hotel. He is threatened with death if he steps foot outside, so for thirty years, the Count lives a full life in the confines of the hotel.

In early 2024, A Gentleman in Moscow is coming in a limited series production. In the United States, it will air on Showtime. The novel is being adapted for the screen by Ben Vanstone, creator of All Creatures Great and Small, with executive producers Amor Towles, Xavier Marchand of Mrs Harris Goes to Paris fame, and Tom Harper who produced War & Peace.

Ewan McGregor will star as Count Rostov. (He will also be one of the executive producers.)

Mary Elizabeth Winstead, an American actress who has been in Fargo, Moulin Rouge, and the late Die Hard movies, will portray Anna Urbanova.

I don't know if a television series can portray the charm that oozed from the pages of A Gentleman in Moscow the novel, but I can't wait to see. I guess I'll have to get a subscription to Showtime for that series and decide if reading a book is better than watching its screen version!


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Buy Killers of the Flower Moon from (supports independent bookstores)

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Buy A Gentleman in Moscow from (supports independent bookstores)

Buy A Gentleman in Moscow from Barnes & Noble (brick and mortar & online retailer)

Buy A Gentleman in Moscow from Better World Books (used books that donate a book from every sale to literacy efforts)


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