My Books. My Life.

"Let us read and let us dance – two amusements that will never do any harm to the world." ~Voltaire~

Books and the Good Life: Books into Movies April 2, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Michelle @ 2:01 am

The next installment…

Having your book turned into a movie is like seeing your oxen turned
into bouillon cubes. 

~John LeCarre ~


seems that lately there have been a slew of new movies that are based on
books.  I’m not sure if this is because
we are running out of new releases or because the best stories are those in
books, but whatever the reason, the book-to-movie phenomenon is huge.  Whenever a book I have read is made into a
movie, I always want to see it.  I’m
curious how the people involved in making it interpret the book: who they cast
as the characters, how they see the setting, the music they put in the
soundtrack.  But I always love the book
more, and I always read the book first. 
I’m curious how others view the book, but I always love my
interpretation more.  Why do most of us
prefer the book to the movie?  Why do we
continue to read when there are “easier” forms of media available?

            It could be that books have been
around for so long.  It is one thing that
has not changed much over time.  There
are newer alternative ways to read a book (audio cds, ebooks), but for the most
part, we still read books the way they have been read since the invention of
the printing press.  There is something
nostalgic about it.  When I stay up late
finishing a good classic, with the possible exception of the source of my
light, I am doing the exact same thing that someone decades or centuries ago
has done.

            Books allow us to use our
imagination to the fullest extent possible. 
When we watch a movie, we don’t get to guess what the characters or the
scenery look like.  We are forced to see
as the moviemakers see.  We are being
manipulated by many people when we watch movies.  Books are purer.  With a book, there are a multitude of
interpretations possible.  My husband and
I have actually had a discussion debating what the common room of Gryffindor Tower looks like in the Harry Potter
books.  We both have this extraordinarily
detailed vision in our head that no movie can erase.  This use of our imagination is one of the
reasons that I feel so strongly about encouraging children to read.  It is a great activity for cultivating creativity.

            Although I generally like the book
best, I am very glad for the movie because it exposes nonreaders to great
stories.  As already illustrated, I am a
book snob, and, being a book snob, I refuse to buy the movie tie-in version of
books.  But if it gets other people to
read them, then I’m happy.  I have a
friend who struggled with Jane Austen and ended up giving up on Pride and Prejudice, but she loved the
movie so much that she decided to give her another chance.  I have never had a strong enough desire or
the energy to read The Lord of the Rings trilogy
so I am grateful that the movies have exposed me to the story.  We may not be able to get everyone to read
the great books of the world, but at least a movie will give people some
exposure to them.  Even if it doesn’t
inspire people to read, the heart of a great book is the story and people
should know them.

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2 Responses to “Books and the Good Life: Books into Movies”

  1. Kristie Says:

    I agree with the LOTR things–I don't know if I'll ever have the courage to tackle the books (I know I can't get through the Hobbit). I'll just say this again, but I have to watch a movie before I read a book unless it's a book I read over and over or one I read in the not so recent past. If I read a book right before the movie, I get so disappointed in the movie for changing things or putting it not as I would imagine :o)

  2. Lucia Says:

    [ciò è buono]

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