I love reading, but what I love more is flipping the pages of a great story before it gets the Hollywood treatment on the big screen. I highly recommend reading books before seeing the movie adaption. Not only do you get the entire story in great detail, but movies often cut portions of the story to save time — and sometimes important scenes get cut in the process!

Here’s a short list of a few books I read before they were movies.

The Help

Year I Read the Book: 2009

Year Movie was Released: 2011


This incredible and touching story set in early 1960s Mississippi highlights the untold stories of black maids. Skeeter, the daughter of a white family who owns a cotton farm, is a writer and tries to uncover the truth about black maids and why they are treated differently than the way white employees are treated. Skeeter enlists the help of three maids to tell their stories, which carries great risk for all of the women involved given the times.  It’s a story that made me terribly sad, while also appreciative of the humor and stories of friendship.

Before Viola Davis rose to fame with “How to Get Away with Murder,” she became famous for the heart wrenching scenes in this movie between her and the child she cares for, who obviously adores her and she loves in return.  I thought the cast was great, especially Dallas Howard and generally a very good adaptation of the book.

The Hunger Games

Year I Read the Book: 2010

Year Movie was Released: 2012


This is probably one of the most well-known books on my list. I was instantly hooked with the gripping storyline about the futuristic society of Panem. Katniss, Peeta, Haymitch, President Snow — and especially Effie — were very interesting characters and made me wonder where the story was going. This anxiety producing, heart pounding adventure got me so involved in this story that I’ve found myself going back to this book (and the other two books in the series) again and again!

I was very disappointed by the movies though — to the point that I watched the first one and then couldn’t watch more. I thought Katniss and Peeta were very miscast. I thought Katniss should look quite hungry to put it simply, and Jennifer Lawrence looked much too hearty and beautiful.

Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies

Year I Read the Book: 2010

Year Movie was Released: 2016


This inventive twist on Jane Austen’s classic novel was fairly amusing to read. Some of the story line remains the same, such as Mrs. Bennet trying to help her daughters achieve the wealthy status by setting them up with wealthy men and Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy falling in love. However, the twist is that a massive zombie virus has overtaken 19th century England. The Bennet sisters are trained by their father to kill zombies, and, throughout the storyline, zombies attack throughout the various events of the book.

As a parody novel, this book hit the press around the same time that the zombie genre started appearing. I had no idea this book would be turned into a movie — but now it makes sense with the mass success of “The Walking Dead.”

I thought the book was pretty entertaining and in some ways, the Bennett sisters having these incredible martial arts skills made them less frustrating. I actually laughed out loud in some segments of the movie so I would say this was also a pretty good adaptation.