Let’s Address Your Stubbornness

Leona, 7, poses inside a labyrinth installation made up of 250,000 books titled "aMAZEme" at the Royal Festival Hall in central London

Leona, 7, poses inside a labyrinth installation made up of 250,000 books titled “aMAZEme” by Marcos Saboya and Gualter Pupo at the Royal Festival Hall in central London July 31, 2012. REUTERS/Olivia Harris (BRITAIN – Tags: ENTERTAINMENT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) – RTR35PZS

If you follow my blog, it’s likely you love books as much as I do. Not more than I do. But at least as much.

But why?

In an age saturated with HBO, AMC, and MGM, why do we remain so stubborn as to cling to our paperbacks and hardcovers and tablets? When supervillains dominate the silver screen with special effects and bright colors and zombie hunters invade the big screens in our living rooms, what is it about the written word that keeps us captivated?

For me, I just love that I can leave the story and return at a whim. Toilet breaks, walks, red lights . . . Those characters are still going to be there. But the same can be said of visual entertainment, so that can’t be it. . .

Maybe it’s because narrators can take us deeper into a character’s psyche. But then, there are some pretty intense character studies in movies and films, so it can’t be that . . .

What about you? Do you have any ideas? What separates a book from movies and TV? What makes you choose to pick up a John Grisham book over watching the newest episode of “Game of Thrones”? I’m not saying we replace TV and movies with books, but we bibliophiles are stubborn, refusing to let go of one of the most primal entertainment mediums.

What makes you so stubborn?

 

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About Andrew Toy
I'm in the beginning stages of starting my own publishing company that's unlike anything you've ever heard of in the industry. The direction of AdoptingJames is taking a 90-degree turn and will be more writing/publishing-focused. Stay tuned for huge updates and exciting news!

59 Responses to Let’s Address Your Stubbornness

  1. mariaholm says:

    I agree. I always prefer books to films. It’s like I have more control over the content of a book. a movie is more shallow and sometimes it would leave me with pictures in my head that I don’t want to remember, but can’t get rid of

  2. I love reading, I have always loved reading, I love books and libraries and bookstores and I DON’T KNOW WHY BUT NOW I MAY NOT BE ABLE TO STOP WONDERING ABOUT IT.

  3. ljerguson66 says:

    I am always a little disappointed after I see a movie ased on a book I love. The book is never quite captured. I think it has to do with the soul of the author. A movie can never really get into the mind of a book’s creator–it would be like someone else trying to repaint the Mona Lisa. That’s my opinion, anyways.

    • Andrew Toy says:

      Aren’t there exceptions? Like The Lord of the Rings trilogy? Or even Forrest Gump (which was better than the book). I thought of that too, but I had to rule it out. I think there’s a deeper reason why we love books…

      • ljerguson66 says:

        Were those author’s involved in the making of the movie? You would have to have a director and producer who can really capture the author’s vision. When I read the Philipa’s Gregory’s historical fiction–her books go way deeper into the history of the time and how people felt and thought. It really helped me appreciate how seriously people took their religion, but when you watch the movies and TV shows is a lot of bed hopping and head chopping. The books helped me understand why these people were willing to risk the chopping block. I’m reading Margaret Atwood’s the ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ and the few snippets of scenes I have watched on youtube don’t even come close. I’m waiting until I finish the book to see the full movie. I guess maybe there are books that are difficult to put on film you’re still trying to capture someone’s vision. Also, there are time constraints with film–the whole thing with Anne Boelyn and Henry the VIII took about eight years –affair to chopping block. You’d have a five day movie! I just wish that movie makers would focus more on some of the history instead of the sex. As a movie enthusiast and writer I always want know what motivates people to do what they do–WHY would someone risk getting their head chopped off by going against the powers that be? Where does someone get that confidence, arrogance, stupidity? What happens to them alng the way? …a movie has to get into all of this–that’s a monumental task. Whew! I’m done–that was a lot. This will be an interesting thread to follow.

  4. I think a lot if it has to do with the accessibility of literature to children and I am willing to be you have enjoyed reading your entire life, not just recently. This foundation of reading stories, whether being read them by your parents or going to the library and finding them on your own, becomes such a part of your personality that it is difficult to diverge from your roots.

    I personally choose to read rather than watch tv because it is simultaneously relaxing and stimulating. I am able to get comfortable and spend my time away from the world without the distractions of commercials or recognizing actors but not being able to remember who they are so I either am no longer engaged or feel compelled to go look them up. Reading is intimate and reading aloud with others connects us to the beginnings of story telling: verbal storytelling.

    Sorry for the paragraphs haha. Very thought provoking post!

    • Andrew Toy says:

      Love you thoughts, especially about being distracted about… “Who IS that guy??” I do that all the time. I go straight to my phone and look up the most random people. Half the time I’m wrong though.

      I also thought about books having a foundation, but I never enjoyed reading until I was in college. So I had to rule that one out.

      • I would argue that despite not enjoying reading until you were in college, that foundation was still there due to the fact that you were taught to read as a child.

        I think that children and students being forced to read rather than finding books they enjoy on their own in school forces a lot of us to bury our latent potential for loving reading until we are able to explore the literary world of our own volition.

  5. I think reading a book allows us the reader to use our own imagination. We visualize the character, scene, etc… Even with the authors description it is our imagination that finalizes it in our mind.

  6. Sandra Hults says:

    As previous commenters have indicated, I think books give us a wider berth of what we can visualize. Television and film, though entertaining, limits the imagination. Books are freeing in their way.

  7. The prospect of imagination runs wild inside the pages of literature. Movies bring those imaginations to life, yes, but it’s restrictive. With a book, the mind is free to run wild. With a movie, there is only so much one can do.

  8. thompsons5 says:

    Reading allows me to use my imagination more. I can enter the story as a companion watching the event happen. I do have a vivid imagination.

  9. 1) Books are more interactive. I feel with movies it’s easier to go into more of a trance, while books keep you on your feet dancing with the words.
    2) Like others said, I think books spark our imagination more by requiring mental engagement.
    3) The actual telling, the words chosen and pictures carved in words and drawn with each sentence, fires a part of us relatively untouched by watching tv. It’s what keeps us coming back to drink from that inexplicable fountain and refresh our souls.
    4) I suspect that reading (a *good* book, of course) takes us on a deeper journey inward, not least because
    5) they last longer. Unless you are a very fast reader, you can’t finish most books in two hours. By lasting longer, we get more deeply invested in the characters and the story, and feel like we know them better (even if with strict analysis a really good movie comes to basically the same level). We get more attached and get a more expansive experience.
    These things combined I think add up the general reasons, for myself at least, for why I keep coming back to books.

  10. Erica Herd says:

    Keeps my imagination alive. I can disappear into the world of the book.

  11. I think I’m a part of the story when I read in a way that I can’t be with tv and movies. I am required to use the author’s words to conjure important images for myself. I’m spoon fed those images in the movies. I think that’s one reason book to movie adaptations are so often disappointing. Readers are control freaks.

  12. @lynnsbooks says:

    I just wrote a massive essay for my answer and then deleted it! Life is just too short. Basically I’m stubborn because I love books. I do like a good movie (and lets face it they’re usually adaptations!). TV on the other hand is plain boring these days! Aside from that – I’ve always been a reader simply because books expand my world and I love using my imagination to picture the worlds and people created by authors. On a much more basic level I hate time wasting and so reading while I’m waiting for something, or travelling to somewhere just feels more productive than simply staring into the abyss!
    Lynn 😀

    • Andrew Toy says:

      I’m basically butt-naked if I don’t have a book with me wherever I go. Even just to read one sentence further while waiting for the elevator doors to open. And yes, TV can be very boring. I’ve learned lately that it just takes some shopping around to find something worth investing in.

  13. Characters. Plain and simple. Much of what I see on the big screen has to be crammed in. I never have time to care about any of them. And the big explosions do little to change that, but they do divert the attention. Lately, it seems as if special effects and reboots dominate rather than story and character.

    I suppose I should get a rocking chair and start telling kids to get off my lawn.

  14. For me, I think books are more personal and intimate since they are up close and you hold them (whether it’s a real book or an e-book) so I feel more connected to the book. Also, when I watch movies or TV, I like to have the captions on so that I don’t miss anything or misunderstand something… so even when I’m watching TV, I’m basically still reading it.

  15. Davy D says:

    When we watch a good film or tv series, we are on the outside looking in. We are witnesses to the dramas unfolding. Books are different. We can touch, smell and become intimate with a book. A good book becomes part of us, we can take it with us to most places and when we finish it we display it, a reminder of the joy and intimacy it brought.

    A great post Andrew. There may even be another discussion within this, the book versus Kindle.

  16. Stormfather says:

    I want to get inside the minds of characters, hear things that they don’t say out loud. I always feel like the movies/series leave out the heart of the story, those little things that made me fall in love with the book. I was watching a 11/22/63 adaptation and realised that they left all of the things that made me fall madly in love with the book (well, most of Stephen King’s adaptation are not that good, except maybe Stand by me and The Shawshank Redemption)

    And, well, i just simply love reading…the wordplay, the world building..and most of the good/best books(according to my list) won’t even make it to the big screen( for example Steven Erikson etc)

  17. polaris299 says:

    I love the feel of the book. Each page waiting to be turned to expose what is written on the other side

  18. I believe we have a connection with characters in the books that the movie/show just can’t replace. It is all the emotion in those pages that just bring you closer. I feel so fulfilled after reading a good book compared to watching the movie.

    Don’t get me wrong- movies are amazing and some are even better than the book itself(Zoo-James Patterson), but maybe it is the fact they we can feel the pages, even smell them.(I do that all the time-new book smell is the best).

  19. AlluringEby says:

    Books are more portable and I can place it anywhere I like, however I want to. It can go anywhere with me comfortably.
    Above all, I can curl up with it like a lover for hours and let it take me to places I never imagined I’d be.

  20. rtimmorris says:

    Maybe we’re all just so narcissistic that we choose books over movies so we can hear the story in our own voice?
    For me though, it’s the intimacy of a book that really draws people in; and humans crave intimacy.
    There are plenty of examples of the movie/adaptation being better than the book, but I’m so often much more astounded and awed by a person’s ability to write a novel. A single filmmaker could never take all the credit for a great movie, but a single writer generally can for a great novel.
    Plus, there’s something to be said these days about simply unplugging for awhile and just hearing those pages turn.

  21. There’s always so much more in the book, it really takes you there. Game of thrones is the best example, anyone who has ever read the book and watched the show knows just how much people who don’t read the books are missing… : )
    Other than that, I just love books, I love their feel, their history, their smell. They can even transport you back in time. I mean what is more awesome than that?

    Meno

  22. I know I’m a bit late in responding, but I have to say that for me it’s the printed word. When a sentence jumps off the page and strikes the heart, it can be savored. I never read a book without a pencil and flags…I underline, annotate, and write down my immediate thoughts in the margins so I can return to that passage again and again and ponder the message. If a particular quote really grabs my heart I record it in a notebook for quick, easy reference. After a while those treasured quotes become part of me and I begin to feel a kinship with the author…this is impossible to do with a movie or television show.

  23. High Five. I’m an addictive bibliophile

  24. Books are my everything ……love them like they r my blood relatives 💞 📚

  25. When you grow up reading books it’s hard to switch to some of the other ways. I enjoy my Kindle, but it’s broken–a paperback book has never broken for me, except when the cover tears. A paperback is more portable and doesn’t need batteries or a plug. Granted you need light to see the words, but there’s usually something around to help out. Books give you a chance to use your imagination more.

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