A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens:
Our oldest DD has recently been reading the Harry Potter series, and she wants to watch all the movies as well (only the ones rated PG, says her somewhat over-protective mama). I told her she must read the book before watching the movie, so that it's her imagination and her imagery that she encounters first, instead of what the actors and directors show us. I think movies are great fun, but I don't think I've ever seen one that topped the book it was based on. So, around here, it's books first!
But, sadly, I didn't have a chance to follow my own rules with A Christmas Carol because growing up, I saw just about every version of the story. My Mom would always play one of the movies when she was wrapping presents or just to watch during Christmas season. So, when I read the book for the first time (what took me so long, I ask?) recently, I can't help but see George C. Scott in my brain. Or compare different versions of the movies with Dickens' text. I loved the book, but I'm afraid my enjoyment of it might have been diminished by all these visions dancing in my head. I want to experience a story first between just me and the author; after that, I'm open to having film crews enter the scene.
I'm sure you are familiar with the Christmas Carol story, so I won't recount all the details. Perhaps you've seen a movie version or two as well. But what I will say, after all these years of knowing the story (at least through the movies) I realized, after reading the book, that this story really transcends Scrooge and Marley and Tiny Tim. It is so very applicable to all of us, in many situations. Is there a health problem you've been ignoring? Maybe you've got a problem with a co-worker? Maybe you've been thinking about taking up a new interest but still haven't done it? Don't be like Scrooge! If there's something in your life that needs changing, tend to it, the sooner the better. I'm not sure Dickens meant this exactly, but I couldn't help but think the Christmas Carol story can be applied in so many different scenarios.
With all those movie versions I've been exposed to (which I enjoyed as a child, don't get me wrong), I found that I relished any line muttered by a character, or sample of witty writing by Dickens, or even scenes that I don't remember from any of the movies......those were the things I enjoyed the most when I read the book. Because they were the things the film makers didn't (or couldn't) put in the movies, so there was something new and novel to be had, after all. It's nice to know that as many times as the story has been made into a movie, there are still some wonderful bits that can only be found in the writing.
Finally, speaking of Harry Potter, the reason I chose this particular version of the book (on CD) was that it is read by Jim Dale, who also read all the Harry Potter
books on CD. He is an absolutely wonderful reader, who makes up all
sorts of neat voices for the characters. Listening to him read is a
delight, and I'm excited that I have another book on CD read by Mr. Dale
ready and waiting for me on our coffee table!