There is the age old argument about what is better, the book or the movie. The book usually wins out. I've read quite a few books and seen even more movies. Here is my assessment of some of them. For this, I will keep my thoughts on the Harry Potter's, Narnia's and Lord of the Rings, to myself.
Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe by George Eliot
I listened to the audiobook first. I've seen many movie adaptations of Eliot novels, but this is the first book I tried. I enjoyed the story very much, and thought I would be disappointed in the movie. The audiobook was several hours long (something like 15 hours) but the video was about 90 min. So right off the bat, you knew a lot would be cut out. However, they managed to keep the story fluid despite leaving much out. I can recommend both.
Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell
This time the movie came before the book. And it I only saw the movie in 2008. In this case the book was slightly better. Although the movie was an epic beauty, much was left out. I was especially confused when the book talked about Scarlett's other child, and the movie omitted that small but important piece of information. However, not to take away from the movie, it was a pretty good and dramatic adaptation. I suppose I can recommend both, but if you have only seen the movie, I highly suggest you also read the book...oh come on...it isn't that long!
Carrie by Stephen King
If you want to talk about true adaptations, this is one for the books. Lawrence D. Cohen & Stephen King did an awesome job translating this to the big screen. Brian De Palma brought this little book to life in a big way. I don't know which one I like more. Carrie is my favorite fiction book and my favorite movie by Stephen King. Many people don't like the Brian De Palma version of the book, but I feel that not only is it a good story but the actors are flawless. Even thought it is slightly dated, it sill causes me to stop the TV every time it is on. Do I recommend? Of course, but I'm sure most people have seen the movie by now! And I did see the movie at least 25 times before I read the book, and perhaps 3 more times after.
Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
The first time I saw Breakfast at Tiffany's was in the late 1980's. I didn't read the book until 2007. I enjoyed the movie because I love Audrey Hepburn, and of course, being a female, I love all the clothes she wore. Not a great basis to watch a movie, I know. I thought the movie was OK, entertaining, but if I never saw it again, I wouldn't die. I read the book and felt it was pretty close to the movie adaptation as well. I wasn't blown over by either. Although I think everyone should read the book, it is a timeless classic.
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
It was my mission in life to read The Fountainhead. I bought it and it sat on my shelf for years, finally I tackled it. I thought it was pretty damn good. Then the movie FINALLY became available on DVD, it had only been in VHS format and that was hard to find. I love Gary Cooper but am not a fan of Patricia Neal, but I just had to watch it. Well, other than Gary's beautiful face and form, I didn't enjoy it. As a matter of fact, I wanted to kick the TV screen it. This is one adaptation I'd say "Unless you are a die hard Gary Cooper fan" skip.