Most people say after watching a movie adaptation of a book that the book was better. Well to be honest I actually think there are some movies out there that are better than the book. LOTR looking at you. In this list it is where the movies were great but the books are either just as good or even better.
Howl's moving castle
The movie isn't like the book at all really but the movie is awesome. Miyazaki is a genius and Howl's moving castle is a testament to his skills. The movie is based on a book written by British author who writes mostly children's books. So you will have to appreciate YA fiction before you will believe me that the book is just as good as the movie.
I recently saw this on a list of the movie being better but I can say I disagree. The movie was a little campy but otherwise a good movie. The book is old school so the language is like what you will find in 1984 but easier to read. You know that scene in the movie where they are debating what it really means to be a citizen well that is what the book is about and if you have been obsessed and seen the sequels well the plot is more along those lines where they have these cool mecha suits which they drop on planets to kick butt.
Aimed at YA the books seem simple on the outside but I teach this novel to my 17 yr old students and trust me there is plenty in there. Most people didn't understand the last book and I must say the movie did a really good job of translating it to screen. But let me tell you a secret: Katniss is the narrator so everything is from her perception and she is modest. She often talks about how she hates being in front of cameras and yada yada but Katniss is actually like her father who was a leader in District 12 and if he hadn't died might have galvanized the masses to do something to better themselves. Things Katniss talks about her father is that he used to sing and that people would all stop to hear him. Katniss is just like her dad but because of the grief of losing her father she can't see him in herself. Read the first book when she describes her class and how they treated her it might open your eyes a bit. But whoever wrote the screen play obviously knew this secret as they wrote it into the movie. Well done.
I'll admit that I haven't read the twilight series. I have a rule that I don't read books recommended to me by friends as they all think I like a certain kind of book and the reality is very different. I also rarely recommend books either unless someone asks me. Trust me I won't ask anyone to recommend a book. So, I wanted to see what the hype was with Stephanie and I wasn't going to read about wimpy female characters so I read the Host instead. Soooo much better. No wimpy characters and a really good read. I thought getting the girl from the lovely bones they did a good job of portraying strength that is in the quiet character. All the other souls underestimated her as well and didn't understand why she wandered so much.
Pride and Prejudice
There have been some really good adaptations of this book and the more subtle the better. I should tell you that Pride and Prejudice aren't even her best book. The language is very proper so it does take a moment to get used to the style of writing and I would recommend reading enchanted chocolate pot if you want the style in little bits first. Also the book is almost all exposition and very little in the way of description. Jane would have failed any creative writing class she took in this day and age. But for any woman feeling the desperation of a family of girls knowing that the moment their scattered scholar of a father dies they will all be on the street or the mercy of family who doesn't care and the clever sisters see their mother desperately trying to marry them off. If you are a smart woman who lives in any kind of culture where worth is seen in who you marry or how many kids you have you will relate to this book.
Blue Slong! Please I think they wrecked the movie with that. The book is by far superior though I should warn you there is still blue slong in the graphic novel. Dr Manhatten is shown with less and less clothes as his story progresses because he is slowly losing touch with what makes him human. In the book because of the flash backs you don't see this clearly but this is clever because we are supposed to be like Dr Manhatten experiencing time, all time, at the same time. I also love the stories that happen in the background then all come together by the end of the novel. The movie didn't bother with this element at all and wrote out much of the side stories and had Dr Manhatten naked from the start and don't bother to develop him at all.
V for Vendetta
I watched the film first and loved it and I was studying it with a class and thought I would get a greater understanding by reading the book. Yeah, I did. The graphic novel though would completely fail a Beschdel test is still a great read. V is much crazier and the world is even darker than what is portrayed in the movie. If you enjoy also watching the corrupt establishment burn then this novel will appeal to you.
I don't usually like war stories. Also this is from a male point of view which is another thing I don't like but I asked for a book that would be good to teach to a senior class and my sister in law recommended this book (she knows which books pack a punch no matter what genre you like) I love the crazy pilot who can't get out of being a pilot because wanting to go home is actually sane. I love the scene where because he got a friend killed because he was brave once, he then decides to not wear his uniform and they are trying to pin a medal on him for bravery. I actually wish they could make a modern version of this movie. Maybe seeing it will convince the world that war in any form is just plain nuts. And I'm sure Snowden would get a laugh out of the scene where the main character gets bored with censoring the soldiers letters so starts to black out random letters.
Tomorrow when the war began
Another YA book set in Australia where a bunch of kids are off camping and when they get home their town has been invaded. I love that the author leaves the bad guys as suspiciously vague sounding Asian sorts. Also I'm a Kiwi and the Kiwi's are the ones who come and save the day at the end of the series. I've studied this book with my class so I've read it dozens of times and I still piss myself laughing when they have the scene with the snake in the sleeping bag. If you have ever lived in a country with snakes as I did as a child you'll recognize the scene as every kid has done something similar in their life. The film was done well. There is a scene where the churchy character picks up a gun and shoots the bad guys. It is cold and right at the end she lets out a breath that she has been holding while she was killing the soldiers and it mists out. Fantastic film making.
Dead Until Dark
This is the first book in the Sookie series. The HBO have made the books raunchier and a bit darker but otherwise have done a really good job of telling her story in Tru Blood. They focus on the side characters which aren't that important in the book but this is a nice take on the usual living dead in the New Orlean's area. Also not a straight forward love interest which makes things interesting. Personally I actually liked Charlaine's other series though this one was the first of hers I read.
Nora Roberts loves a formula but she surprised me on this one with who the killer is and that says a lot. I liked him. I'm still mad at him for turning out to be the bad guy instead of staying as one of the good guys. The TV movie of this is actually pretty good and they had enough money to throw at some decent B grade actors. Nora does have better books out there but a warning they are formula books but since she has what seem like several thousand titles out there we can say she certainly knows her stuff.
Ever had a hangover and wish it was gone well Santa's magicy stuff has been used to make a whole bunch of new gods and the god of hangovers is one of them. I really enjoyed this whole series with Death and his grand daughter. Soul Music is just as good. I really wish they would make a live movie of this book instead of a cartoon. Of course you can also put Rincewind on this list as well as that was also made into a cartoon. Pratchett has books which are easier to read but I find these ones are the wittier ones.