Is the book better than the movie? Our team at Belconnen investigate!
Stardust by Neil Gaiman:
Stardust is a modern day fairy tale. It’s about a young man, from the unremarkable town of Wall, who seeks his heart’s desire. A tale tells of seeking a fallen star to grant this. And so Tristan embarks on his quest to win over the young woman whom he desires. The book is sublime and written in such a way that makes you fall in love the storytelling, the characters and all the twists and turns. It has witches and castles and knights. A love more true than that of your first love; sorrow so deep you feel as though it has happened to you.
After reading this you’ll want more.
The book isn’t necessarily better than the movie, as the movie explores different elements and adds more to the fairy tale that is Stardust. Both are well worth your time, and will evoke a strong emotional response. – Laurence (Store Manager)
Princess Bride by William Goldman:
This book has: Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Bad men. Good men. Beautiful ladies. Snakes. Spiders. Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passion. Miracles.
This story is about “twue wuv”. It’s also a daring adventure, with giants and swordsmen, a classic fairytale. It begins with a grandfather reading the story of the Princess Bride to his sick grandson. To the grandson’s dismay, it’s a kissing book. But it’s so much more than all of these things, making it so much more.
William Goldman crafts all the characters so lovingly, you being to feel so much for the characters. The story within a story is an added bonus to everything that Goldman writes.
Not buying this book? Inconceivable!
Why the book is better than the movie: Although it’s hard to compare- I truly adore the movie. Cary Elwes plays The Man in Black perfectly. But the book is so much better because you get more of the story. William Goldman also includes entertaining antedotes the whole way through, which add more to the story. There story of Westley and Buttercup also continues further than the movie. It’s definitely worth the read, especially if you love the movie. – Karina (Store 2IC)
Perfume by Patrick Süskind:
Set in 18th century France, Perfume is about an orphan with an exceptional sense of smell allowing him to perform unnatural feats like identifying people through doors or navigating in pitch black via smell. Grenouille (our main character) sets off to learn about preserving scents after the smell of the girl from his first murder faded away. The story then follows his journey around France to learn the art of perfuming which leads to him creating a perfume that makes everyone fall in adoration and awe. After the realisation that he has no smell himself Grenouille goes through a self-realisation of sorts and the book comes to a poetic ending leaving you with a feeling of bemusement despite the rather dark and gory happenings.
Süskind portrays Grenouille with an utter lack of conventional morals or the concept of human agency. To Grenouille humans are just producers of scents and it is written brilliantly so the reader is in Grenouille’s head that you have a double take at your morals which is something that didn’t quite translate in the film. The movie did a good job albeit with some visual liberties but there’s so much more detail you can discover from the novel – Rina
Dune by Frank Herbert:
Frank Herbert’s Dune is the highest selling science fiction novel of all time – and for good reason. With an epic story, complex characters and world building to rival Tolkien, Dune effortlessly keeps its place as one of the greatest stories ever told.
In a distant future where all computers have been banned, humanity relies on a substance known as the Spice to inform their decisions. When consumed, the Spice can give its user a small glimpse at possible futures and is thus used for war strategizing, space flight navigation and other activities that we would use a computer for today. The Spice, however, can only be produced on the desert planet of Arrakis, otherwise known as Dune. When the Emperor unexpectedly takes control of Arrakis from the vile Harkonnens and gifts it to the noble Atreides, Paul Atreides uncovers a sinister plot that could change the fate of the universe.
The story takes unexpected twists and while there aren’t many big, explosive moments, there are many great character moments that deepen the world. These characters are what sets Dune apart from the other novels in the overcrowded sci fi genre. Each character is given a clear goal and is relatable in one way or another. The character that benefits the most from Herbert’s exceptional characterisation is Paul Atreides, the protagonist of the story. At the beginning of the novel, Paul is fifteen years old and still wrestling with the responsibilities of being an heir. As the story progresses, Herbert reveals Paul’s true meaning and how he reacts to this is what makes him so relatable. He makes mistake after mistake, desperately trying to get his foot in the door of adulthood and be respected by those around him. This is something that is seen all the time in modern storytelling but Dune came before all those. When reading Dune it is easy to see the themes that have been the inspiration for other sagas such as Star Wars and The Matrix. But where the desert planets in Star Wars and the future in The Matrix are presented as dull, depressing things, Herbert gives the dunes of Arrakis and the people and beasts that inhabit them a strange kind of beauty that entraps the reader. And it is this beauty that is missing from all the stories that Dune has inspired. – Mitchell
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult:
This a a heartbreak tale of family at its best and worst. Anna’s choice to seek medical emancipation from her family in order to stop donating to her elder sister Kate is just the start of the family’s journey. You go with them as a brother’s silent suffering, a mother’s fear and a father’s sense of hopelessness overwhelms you from the pages. A bond between sisters stronger than anything else ties this book together until its heartbreaking end.
A great and tear jerking read, for anyone that loves things that are deeper than they seem.
Why the book is better than the movie: Have you seen that picture where they cut a dvd shape from a book? This movie suffers from this incredibly badly. so many of the completely side stories that gave the book it’s depth are dropped. I’m not going to even talk about the ending… when the author doesn’t like the movie. You’ve done something wrong, badly wrong. – Cai
Room by Emma Donoghue:
To five year old Jack, the world is huge, even though he’s only seen 10 by 10 feet of it. He knows what’s real – Ma, plant, skylight – and what’s not – trees, dogs; they’re only real on TV planets out in space. But when Ma reaches her breaking point and plots a means to escape, Jack is forced to see that the world is much bigger than he ever imagined. Told through Jack’s eyes, Room touches the heart in unexpected ways and with a childlike innocence unable to be fully captured by the screen. – Natalie
Paper Towns by John Green:
John Green’s novel Paper Towns is both stimulating and relatable young adult readers. If Green’s famous writing style wasn’t enough, the story itself makes it easy to recommend to others as I struggled to put the book down. The novel Paper Towns was far better than the film remake, as the film lacked substance and detail that made the book so entertaining. The novel allowed for a much more enjoyable experience and is therefore much better than the film. – Paris
Northern Lights by Philip Pullman:
“The book was better”.
Four words that are said far too often for my liking. I so hoped that the Northern Lights book by Phillip Pullman, would prove the exception to the rule, and that the movie (renamed The Golden Compass for reasons unexplained) would be brilliant. I was disappointed. The original book is breathtaking in the complexity and elaborateness of its plot and characters. The movie was a grossly watered down and simplified version, that did not in any way do justice to the masterpiece that is Phillip Pullman’s trilogy.
Some of the most critical scenes have been left out, and while this occurs in all book to movie adaptations, the scale on which its done in the GC, simply means that a huge part of Pullman’s original plot is lost. My main problem, however is in the portrayal of the protagonist Lyra. Her passionate emotions and loyalty displayed in the book made her one of my favourite literary characters, and the movie version simply cannot compare. The heartbreaking thing is, as a result of the poor quality of the first movie, we’ll never get a second instalment in this incredible trilogy and we will have to content ourselves with the other two books. But that’s fine. They were better anyway. – Stella