Day: September 8, 2015

Books vs Movies

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Last night I went with my sister to the drive-in movie theater.  It was a really fun experience and I got to see Inside Out for the 4th time (love that movie!) and Ant-Man for the 2nd time.  I had a great time revisiting these films and spending time with my sisters.  However, my youngest sister and I started discussing the films after and she said that she is almost never ‘in love’ with a movie.  She likes them fine but even something like Inside Out didn’t really blow her away.

As we discussed I realized I felt the same way about books that she felt about movies.  I love a good book.  Recently I read Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella and loved it!  It was so exciting to read something that really excited me.  Unfortunately that experience is far too rare.  Just like Maddie said about movies I am rarely ‘in love’ with a book.  I make it a goal to read 1 fiction and 1 non-fiction book a month and I’m lucky if 1 out of 24 books really excites me.

In recent years books that have excited me are Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson, North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and My Life in France by Julia Child (which I actually first read in 2010 so we are going back away on that one).  Counting Finding Audrey that’s 5 books in 5 years that I’ve LOVED.

Now when it comes to movies there are literally dozens in those 5 years I have loved.  That’s why I keep rereading books I love because a new book seems like such an unlikely bargain.  I have a friend who told me she’d never reread a book.  That blew me away.  I wouldn’t hardly read at all if I didn’t reread.

Just to be clear I would put those 5 books well over any movie, but I’m afraid they are the exception rather than the rule.

So why am I more likely to love a movie than a book?  Well, the experience is so different.  In a movie you get to live in a world for 2 hours and you get a whole story.  In a book you are there for weeks, even a month, so the story better be very compelling to keep my interest.   For example, I like being in Middle Earth for 2 hours in a movie but reading the Hobbit is tough for me to get through.

A lot of people notice the details in books like the Harry Potter series and are disappointed when those details are removed.  In all honesty, while I enjoyed reading those books and think they are quite brilliant those little details are lost on me.  I’m just not a detail oriented reader.  I am way more likely to notice details in a Harry Potter movie than to remember them from the books.  I’m not saying the Harry Potter movies are better than the books.  They are just a different experience and one that is a little bit more palatable to me (I’ve never been a fantasy fan in books but don’t mind it in movies).

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I think a lot of it comes down to how I learn.  I was a late reader and have always learned through visual stimuli and repetition.  A movie has so much more to think about than a book and the message is repeated in so many different ways.  For example, in one scene in a book we may be told it is scary but in the movie we have the score, acting, cinematography, lighting, special effects etc all contributing to the message of being scared.

I love the discussion and community which revolves around movies (and to a lesser extent books).  I am in a book club with some bloggers who are amazing and read 9-12 books a month!  That blows my mind.  For me I enjoy talking about the 2 books I read a month (sometimes more) but I can see 2 movies a week so there is so much more to talk about and compare. It’s really fun comparing thoughts and talking about film.

Part of the problem with books is I have a higher content standard.  It’s one thing to watch a movie for 2 hours with some language or other objectionable content.  I probably shouldn’t but I can rationalize a lot of that away.  But with a book I’m living with those characters for weeks so I’m going to be a lot pickier if they are mouthing off all the time or doing other immoral stuff.  I’d say there are a lot more stories I can stomach in a 2 hour movie than in a book.  TV is even worse because it can be living with that content for years.

Now to reiterate I love to read.  I’ve even written my silly books for NanoWriMo and I try to always have 2 books I’m reading at any given time.  All I’m saying is that I rarely find books that excite me and that I love.  Whereas, I find movies I love all the time.

Does  that makes sense?  Does anyone agree with me?  Or perhaps are you on the flip side with my sister and rarely find a movie you love but find many books?  Neither way is wrong as long as you keep your toe dipped in both pools (I feel strongly it is important to the understanding of our culture to at least see a few movies a year and it’s good for the brain to keep reading. Both are important)