We have always heard someone say ‘You should read the book. It is so much better than the movie’, and we often wonder if it is worth the time and pain. Pain for those who do not particularly enjoy reading a book. So how is anything better than curling up in your blanket with a bowl of popcorn and a dvd playing on your 42 inch flat screen? By the sounds of it, absolutely nothing can match up to it. Right? But I would like to differ. Ever heard of movies being converted to books? Books are almost always better than movies. Don’t assume that I do not watch movies. Infact, I spend atleast 5-6 hours on a weekend binge watching random movies and those series that we love to follow.
So I made a list of all the reasons why you should start reading the books before you opt for watching their movies.
1. In books it is simpler to perceive what is happening in the characters heads. This really influences what the character is thinking and what inspired their activity. Remember that scene in that horror movie, where the protagonist walks into the dark and empty room, and you find yourself asking the screen one question. ‘WHY?’ Well it would be clearer if you knew what the person was thinking which is obviously never clear in a movie(unless the director used thought bubbles, which is almost never!).
2. As a kid, our teachers would call the television an ‘Idiot Box’. I never understood why but that was before I started reading their novel counterparts. Books can develop one’s imagination. The beautiful part is that you read and a picture is in your head. I sometimes read a book and imagine which actor would best portray the character. How their voices should sound and the setting of the scene. The possibilities are limitless.
3. Talking about characters, I sometimes feel that those shiny celebrities on the screen do take away the focus from the character. When you read a book, you remember the character’s name, but in movies, it has always been ‘Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada. What was her character’s name again?’. But when I read the novel, ‘Anne Hathaway who?’. Andrea stuck to my head. Her struggles and thoughts stayed with me far longer than her swanky clothes in the movie. Also, a book can never be ruined by bad actors or direction.
4. A director is well aware of what sells. Since movies are large investments, commercialization leads to the compromise of the story quality. The movie would have added scenes that make watching the whole thing more visually attractive, but only if you read the book would you understand how some chapters in a book, though not important for the plot, make the story more relatable than the movie would. I would like to specially mention Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince. Though the character of Lavender Brown and her attraction for Ron was shown in the movie, only the book could give me a complete picture of what Hermione was feeling and more importantly gave me hope for a future love affair between Ron and Hermione. The movie loosely interpreted this part which most viewers I bet do not even remember.
5. This is something that foodies would understand. There are certain dishes or food that we like to eat slowly and relish. For me it would be cheesecake. And books. No I do not eat them. But relishing each paragraph and chapter is something that only happens with books. It also stays longer. An average scene that would take 1 minute of the movie time would maybe take a whole chapter in the book. The details and intimacy that we form with the characters are a class apart than just people swishing by in the tv screens.
6. Films are generally more emotional experience. When we see a person cry infront of us, it automatically brings out similar feelings in us. But at the same time, they can be fleeting. I am a sucker for emotional scenes and religiously carry tissues to the movie hall, but later find myself wondering why I was crying in the first place. But a book may not make me cry(PS: books have made me cry), but the emotional trauma or consciousness of the character definitely stays with me longer than any movie has allowed.
7. Just for your information, no one has ever been able to polish their vocabulary by just spending time with a thesaurus(on second thought, there may be some exceptions). You may learn about a word or two from your Merriam Websters ‘Word of the day’, but the potentiality of a word can never be understood in those few lines. You may know the meaning of a word, but only books can teach you how to use it. It is a priceless educational assistance. So next time you read the same word elsewhere, you might not know the exact meaning, but I swear you would be able to place the word without errors.
8. Books are portable. Now some may argue that so are laptops and palmtops, but do you not feel that the picture is too small as compared to the whole galaxy behind your eyes? You would not need earphones to hear the dialogues better neither would you ever need subtitles. Be honest and count the number of times you have skipped watching a movie because the subtitles were not available.
So keep that tv remote aside and pick up a book. It may take time to grow interest, but I promise the journey is worth the try and effort.