If you don't follow baseball, you might not have known about the advent of Indian players in the major league. You might not have known about an agent named Jamie Bernstein, who needed an influx of money to keep going. After losing a client who would have been worth millions, JB plops on his bachelor couch, flipping through channels.
Rarely has a book been so finely translated to the screen. By the same token, having not read the book will not alter appreciation for the film. "Life of Pi" is not just the story of a young man who weathers the elements in a lifeboat with a tiger, for, after all, that's unbelievable.