Last week’s Shelf Renewal web crush of the week is “Based on the Book” — a terrific project of the Mid-continent Public Library in Missouri. Last year when I worked in a college library I lamented the number of students who came to the reference desk asking for the movie versions of books they’d been assigned. I love movies, but I worried students were seriously missing out by not reading the books.
I still believe that, but of course it works the other way too — people read things they might not have because of interest in the adaptation. I picked up Cloud Atlas like many other people after the film’s previews caused a buzz and a boost in the book’s sales. Both my teens are very excited about The Hobbit film and one of them is reading the book now. Both my husband and my daughter have read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories as a result of enjoying adaptations of Sherlock Holmes on television or at the movies.
Sometimes I’ve sought out a book I hadn’t read before because I’ve enjoyed the Masterpiece version — for example, The Cranford Chronicles by Elizabeth Gaskell. I hope lots of people tuning in to Half the Sky on PBS this week will also read that very interesting, shocking, and uplifting book.
Even younger kids can enjoy the film-book connection and sometimes, a movie might be a fun incentive for encouraging a reluctant reader to finish a book. Kidsread.com’s “Books on Screen” is a good resource for the younger set. For film buffs, arguing the merits of movies based on books is endless fun; this blog post by Beth Carswell at AbeBooks is a starting point for a discussion.
My town’s community wide read and our state Center for the Book’s “Big Read” based on the NEA program both incorporate films related to the book selection. I’ve often thought a summer program inviting teens to create short films (book trailers? 15 min. versions of classics? ) might be fun. Younger kids might like to make book/movie posters.
How does your library use films to drive interest in books? Do you create displays related to popular films? Host film/book discussions?