Which came first – the chicken or the egg? This age old question can be adapted to suit many things, including my own entertainment consumption habits. I love watching adapted films and comparing them to the original work, in which case the novel/novella/story/poem obviously comes first. But there is the rare occasion when I watch a film and don’t discover that it’s based on a written work until after watching. Here are five chickens that came before the egg, for me:

(Image via filmaffinity.com)

The Heiress (1949)
When I saw the film: Earlier this year I rented the film from my local library for TMP’s Through the Library, Alphabetically series. I posted a review of The Heiress on March 28.
Why I haven’t yet read the book: I didn’t realize that this was based on a novel (Henry James’ “Washington Square”) until doing a bit of research/fact checking while working on my review. I don’t expect the two to be much alike since it’s actually based on a stage production loosely inspired by the novel, but I’m interested to read it nonetheless.

The Help (2011)
When I saw the film: I saw the film in theaters as soon as it was released for a few reasons – my mom wanted to see it with me; I love 20th century period pieces; and I had heard good things about the book, even though I hadn’t read it.
Why I haven’t yet read the book: Why it is now mid-2012 and I still have not read the book, I have no excuse for. I have checked it out from the library but have not yet started it!

Imitation of Life (1959)
When I saw the film: I took a fantastic film class in my second semester of college. The professor had flawless taste in films (speaking as a student who enjoyed the class and everything we watched in it). Early on in the semester he showed us the 1959 version of Imitation of Life, and it immediately became a favorite film of mine.
Why I haven’t yet read the book:I, again, am left with no valid excuse. I’ll be entering my fourth year of college in the fall, and still have not gotten around to it, though I now own the film on DVD and have watched it numerous times (and even written a term paper on it for a different film class!).

(Image via emilyh28.edublogs.org)

The Notebook (2004)
When I saw the film: I saw this in its original run, just before I turned 13 years old. Yes, it’s sappy and no, it isn’t the masterpiece that the general public has made it out to be, but McGosling won me over from the first viewing and I will continue re-watching the film endlessly because of them.
Why I haven’t yet read the book: Ironic as it may seem since I enjoy the film so much, I’m just not into Nicholas Sparks. I’ve read one of his books and seen a few more of the film versions, and haven’t enjoyed any of them.

Shutter Island (2010)
When I saw the film: I saw this immediately when it was released because of my endless love for Leo and Mark Ruffalo. It could quite possibly be my favorite 2010 film.
Why I haven’t yet read the book: I didn’t know until fall of last year that it was based on a book. Quite shameful, I know – re-watching the film for over a year and completely loving it without even an inkling of an idea where it originated! It wasn’t until a friend of mine also fell in love with the film (and apparently was more observant than I, snatching up the novel as soon as she could) that I realized I should probably get to reading it.

As you may remember from an announcement late last month (and comments I’ve made in the past few days), June is “Adaptation Month” here at TMP. Throughout the month, I’ll be posting lists relating to adaptations, such as this one – either books that I’d like to see on film (broken down by genre), or adaptations that I’ve loved, or anything relating to adapted films.

I’ll also be attempting to throw in as many Book vs. Film posts as I can, including recent read Valley of the Dolls… and all of the films included in this list! I decided that, with a themed month on my hands, now would be high time to get going on these five books that I’ve neglected until now. So stay tuned for updates on the works listed in this post (provided that I can find copies of them), as well as a bunch more coming throughout the month!

*Featured image (Shutter Island still) via allmoviephoto.com