12 Titles You Will Want to Check Out for a Read It/Watch It Movie Night

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With the school year back in full swing and the days beginning to get shorter and cooler, movie nights make for a great way to relax and spend time with your family or enjoy a little me-time. So, here’s a fun theme for your next movie night: Read it/Watch it.

Pick out a book to read and then, after you finish the book, watch the movie adaptation(s) with your family, friends, or by yourself. Depending on the length of the book, you’re going to want to give yourselves some lead time to read the book leading up to movie night.

A read it/watch it movie night is a great way to get kids more excited about reading. For adults and teens, it can make for great conversations, whether you’re discussing the differences between the book and movie, or participating in the age-old debate of which is better.

Below is a list of some books turned movies for all members of the family. Some are more known for the books and others for the movies. Being a Columbia mom and a proud library card carrier, I made sure that all suggested titles can be checked out from Richland Library.

Family Movie Night Picks

A Classic:

Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg; Jumanji (1995). This award-winning picture book about a magical board game has been adapted more than once, but the 1995 version is the truest to the book.

Autumn Feels:

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White; Charlotte’s Web (2006). This pick is my ode to the fall fair with its rides, food, exhibitions, and competitions. 

Spooky Season Pick:

Shrek! by William Steig; Shrek (2001). While Shrek is supposed to be a terrifying ogre, both the picture book and movie can be enjoyed by the family without scaring the little ones.

Movies for Older Kids

A Classic:  

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum; The Wizard of Oz (1939). I don’t think there is much that has to be said here. The Wizard of Oz is a classic in both mediums, and while the movie can be enjoyed by the whole family, the 267 page book made me lean more towards recommending this for more experienced readers.

Autumn Feels:

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh; Harriet the Spy (1996). Life at school turns to chaos for Harriet M. Welsch when her classmates discover her secret journal. A former Nickelodeon kid, I especially remember the scenes from the movie of Harriet and her friends enjoying the autumn afternoons running through the park and playing in leaves.

Spooky Season Pick:

Coraline by Neil Gaiman; Coraline (2009). Coraline is a girl who finds adventure and eventual danger exploring what’s on the other side of a mysterious door. While equally spooky, there are some major differences between the book and movie that will make for some great discussion.

Teen Flicks

A Classic:

Emma by Jane Austen; Clueless (1995). There are multiple adaptations to Jane Austen’s story of a meddlesome matchmaker that are more closely aligned to the source material, but I personally have enjoyed watching Clueless and trying to match up the characters and situations in the movie to the book. Bonus: The fashions in the movie are on trend again amongst teens.

Autumn Feels:

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald; The Great Gatsby (1974). This classic is no stranger to the required reading list in high school, so why not add to (not replace) the experience and watch the movie? While the 2013 version is the most visually appealing and energetic movie adaptation, the 1974 version is the truest to the book.

Spooky Season Pick:

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion; Warm Bodies (2013). This zombie story gives off some heavy Romeo and Juliet vibes. 

For Movie Night without the Kids

A Classic:

Laura by Vera Caspary; Laura (1944). This 1943 detective novel about a detective who falls in love with a murder victim was turned into what has been named one of the greatest mystery films of all time. A black and white classic, it’s one of my favorite movies.

Autumn Feels:

Love Story by Erich Segal; Love Story (1970). Autumn is such a romantic season, and this bittersweet book and movie fit the bill.

Spooky Season Pick:

The Shining by Stephen King; The Shining (1980). I would be remiss if I left Stephen King, one of the most adapted authors of all time, off of the list. 

I hope this list inspires you to curl up with a good book and movie. If you love the phrases “based on the book by,” and “the book that inspired the movie,” then you’ll enjoy a read it/watch it movie night. 

Which books and/or movies would you add to this list?

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