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Books vs. movies: does Hollywood ruin novels?

Jul 15, 2011

This weekend, the eighth installment of the Harry Potter film franchise opens for its eager fan base. In the case of J.K. Rowling’s series, her best-selling books have translated into equally big box office successes. Lucky that. Often a beloved novel adapted for the screen provokes passionate pans. Readers feel let down when a tale is stripped down, a character betrays or entire plot points are mangled. Even screenwriters concede that adaptations of novels just feel less satisfying than the books themselves. Mashing deep, ambling prose into a 90-minute spectacle is a challenging or impossible task. Imagine if William Faulkner or Joan Didion were forced to create log lines, tidy climaxes and populist hooks. What are the best and worst adaptations you’ve read and watched? “ The Scarlet Letter?” “Never Let Me Go?” “The Godfather?” “Fight Club?” How tough is it to adapt a book for the screen? What types of novels never translate well? Is there a book you'd love to see on screen, or one you hope never gets touched? Would you go so far as avoiding the movie version of a favorite written story?

 Books vs. movies: does Hollywood ruin novels?  photo

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