Booking Through Thursday-Books v. Movies

This week’s Booking Through Thursday asks:

Books and films both tell stories, but what we want from a book can be different from what we want from a movie. Is this true for you? If so, what’s the difference between a book and a movie?

The ravenous reader is not a movie fan.  Given the choice of spending two hours staring at a screen or reading a book, 99.9% of the time, this girl will choose the book.

I love the way books spread the story out, allowing you to return to it again and again.  The way a good writer invites you to imagine every character and place, to put yourself into the scene through your own ideas and experiences.  And of course, the tactile experience of books is so important – holding in your hands a bound stack of paper that contains a whole world is such a thrill to me.

Watching a movie is too passive for me.  I don’t think of myself as an overly active or aggressive person, but I have trouble sitting still long enough to watch a movie in its entirety.  Unless it’s just amazingly good, my mind wanders.  And sometimes, I even feel my fingers start to itch, wanting to feel the weight of a book in my hand and the feel of paper under my thumb.

On occasion there have been movies I’ve enjoyed as much as their bookish counterparts…Sense and Sensibility (the one with Emma Thompson), The Hours, and Gone With the Wind come to mind.  When I was a teenager, I loved the movie Jane Eyre (the old black and white version), and watched it whenever it came on.

But if I’m looking to be entertained, my first choice is always a book.






15 thoughts on “Booking Through Thursday-Books v. Movies

  1. I did a lot of reading once about how films are made especially how they relate to the myth structure as well as filmed/edited so watching a film is rarely passive as part of me is also seein how that or this scene works

  2. I would much rather read a book than watch a movie too! I guess I just find movies to constricting. Once you have that interpretation its really hard to imagine when you read the book.

  3. I used to get really involved while watching films, imagine myself as the protagonist, thinking about it alot afterwards. But now I feel more detached- so often the situations and glamorous actors feels so unrealistic. It’s easier to get under the skin of a book. My hands get restless while sitting still so long, as well!

  4. I enjoy both -but for very different reasons. In part, it depends on my mood and what is happening in my life. Sometimes I enjoy watching a movie after I have read the book from which it was made so I can do comparisons. I never enjoy reading the book after I have already seen the movie – all the fun has been taken out of reading at that point. In my past life 🙂 I was a 7th grade literacy teacher and I used to get so frustrated with the movie world – why do they have to keep making movies out of so many of the decent young adult books? It can be hard enough to turn some kids onto books, but it gets even more difficult when all the child has to do is sit and watch it – and then tell me they had read the book. I had many a discussion about the differences of books vs. movies. Sorry ~ I will step off of my soapbox now.

  5. For me, its not whether a movie is true to the book. Inevitably, I’m always curious how filmmakers will translate some specific parts of a book into the movie’s plot, dialogue, setting. I haven’t seen either yet, but I really want to see ‘Kite Runner’ and ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ – just to see how they will translate into movies and whether or not the movie is a decent representation of the book. I’m very skeptical about both of these being made into movies.

    Sometimes, I see a movie that makes me want to read the book. This happened recently with Eragon. Its a cool kid’s movie. I picked up the book after seeing the movie, because I just knew there were major parts missing (its an epic series – sort of like a Lord of the Rings trilogy for kids). While I still think I’d recommend the movie for kids, it left out many important sections from the book. What I found was the movie is a “kid’s movie” but the book is an adult read with some very graphic scenes – much like the LOTR trilogy – that would NEVER have translated into a movie for kids.

  6. I really have a problem watching a film at home where there is so much else that I feel I could be getting on with. And as going to the cinema is both expensive and often noisy and raucous, I can sympathise with your point of view.

  7. “The ravenous reader is not a movie fan. Given the choice of spending two hours staring at a screen or reading a book, 99.9% of the time, this girl will choose the book.”

    Couldn’t have said it better. If I do watch a movie, its a home where its more comfortable and I can eat or drink whatever we want, and not have to sell a body part to afford it.

    I do like to be entertained, but using my own imagination and intelligence, not by today’s current films which leave very little to the former and constantly insult the latter.

    Great post. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I have trouble sitting through a movie too. When we have one at home, I’ll look forward to it, enjoy the opening music, etc. — and then, often, quickly fall asleep.

  9. I would rather read than watch, too. I have the same problem as writer2b, plus I think I don’t process auditory information very well. If we don’t turn on subtitles I lose track of what’s happening very quickly.

  10. I’m a fan of both, though I go to far fewer movies than I used to. Some, I like very much — I agree with you about Sense, Hours and Wind. But it’s rare a film is better. The only one that did that for me was Bridges of Madison County. I was the person who didn’t much care for the book, but found the film quite beautiful. I’m always disappointed with what they left out, and I always have a far different image of the characters.

  11. 9 times out of 10 I will take the book over the movie. The one time that comes to mind where the movie was as good as the book was “The Jane Austen Book Club” — it rang true to the book and I was so thrilled! Consequently, if I have seen the film version of a book before I have read the book, I know I won’t read it after having seen the film. It just wouldn’t be “right”.

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