To Re-Read or Not To Re-Read?

As we all prepare for the release of the Catching Fire movie, we’ve noticed a big trend. It seems everyone is picking up their copies of Catching Fire and getting their re-read on!

Me after every re-read!

Me after every re-read!

Then I think “Is it just me? Am I crazy?”

Though I know Twiffidy talked about the joys of re-reading prior to the first film, I can’t do it. Re-reading is an awesome experience… just not right before a movie. I can’t. Can’t! WON’T!

When you re-read a book directly before a movie, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment in my book. Even when you’ve re-read a book a million times and think you’ve memorized it, a re-read right before a movie keeps all the details fresh. Your expectations are higher, though perhaps not consciously. And then you realize every. single. difference. Suddenly, every heartwarming line missed feels like a heavier blow. Every small scene or character quirk brushed over is a missed opportunity. Even if the movie is stellar, it’s not as fulfilling because yes, you WOULD sit through a 5 hour line-by-line adaptation of the book!

As long as it’s faithful to the book on the whole, we don’t need to analyze every change between the book and the movie. It will only drive us crazy and we’re neurotic enough already, thank you very much! Why set ourselves up for that?!

NOT THE SAME. And that's okay!

NOT THE SAME. And that’s okay!

Strangely enough, we only have this problem with books we re-read. Reading a book for the first time and going to see the movie the next day? No problem! Re-reading and watching? NIGHTMARE.

It seems like everyone involved in fandom has their own little traditions surrounding book or movie releases. Maybe I’m alone in this one, but you know what? It works for me in the way that avoiding press junkets or clips works for some others (though press junkets and clips are my lifeblood.)

Really, it doesn’t matter how you prepare. Because guess what?

The Girl With The Pearl



  1. Oh, it’s the opposite for me, because this – “And then you realize every. single. difference.” – is kind of a hobby for me. I love movies, I love books, I love comparing movies to their books. It started when I was 12 and read Little Women for the first time, then watched the ’94 movie (which is awesome). I realized that I loved being able to recognize and place the scenes and lines that were translated directly from the book, as well as noticing what was condensed or changed. Not in a critical way, just to compare and contrast. Plus, it’s the being fuzzy on it, watching going, “WAS that in the book, or…?”, that can take me out of a movie. I’m just the kind of person that likes to be sure. So this May I made sure to dig up my copy of The Great Gatsby from high school before I saw the movie. And it was great seeing what I had JUST read again on the big screen, Baz Luhrmann-style, and hearing the lines that I KNEW came right out the book.
    As for THG, I’ve been re-reading the first 2 books, a chapter a day since early October as part of my own little CF countdown. I timed it so that I’ll read the last chapter of CF on November 20th. 😀

  2. I agree with the Girl with the Pearl, I’m such a nit-picky fan that it would be adding fuel to the fire if I re-read the book RIGHT before the movie. Anyways i have pretty good memory of my favorite moments and how i felt about them so i can judge if the movie is adapting it well.

    HOWEVER, i did re-read the Hunger Games book AFTER i watched the movie in theaters (like 2 times). But it just made me sad knowing that they could have done a much better job with the characterization of Peeta, Rue and Haymich.

  3. I wouldn’t want to re-read the books before the movie. I re-read them several months ago, but now I’m hoping for the movie to refresh my memory – though I’ve probably memorized too many scenes thanks to online discussions!

    I will probably feel like re-reading it after I see the movie, though.

  4. I’m with you on this one, Girl With The Pearl. I’ve deliberately avoided reading the book for a while. But I know it so well I’m afraid I will sit there during the film thinking, “oh, the next scene will be the one where…” instead of just getting wrapped up in the story. I really don’t want to be going over everything with a fine tooth comb while watching it (and generally being a nitpicker), because then it’s sure to ruin the whole experience for me. I need to think of a way to switch my brain off and just let the film wash over me. Alcohol might be involved 😀

  5. GWTP, I totally agree with you. I learned the hard way with Harry Potter to stop reading the books right before the movie, because it completely ruins my experience. I like being a little fuzzy when I go into the premiere so I can just enjoy it as a movie. Then I usually get so excited about the story I start re-reading shortly after.

  6. Interestingly, I have the opposite experience. I find when I reread that my memory was often incorrect about so many things. When they get it right on screen, I could be sitting in my seat swearing they messed it up! Rereading helps me remember what was actually in the books as opposed to my own revisionist history. Example: the shot in the trailer of Katniss firing off into the sky, I thought was so stupid because i swore she never did that in the book. Then somebody gave me the page reference.

    Maybe its just me getting old. Anyway, for me, rereading is the way to go.

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