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Books vs. Movies – BTT

This week’s Booking Through Thursday question is:

Suggested by: Superfastreader:

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?

Really? What we want from a book is different than what we want from a movie? I don’t think this is a correct statement.

This goes back to my recent post, Why Do You Read? Wouldn’t you agree that we all read to be entertained, to get wrapped up in a story? Isn’t that what watching a movie is all about, albeit in a different form? Many people read to escape, and watching a movie provides a means of escape as well.

Excuse me while I stick my nose in the air and start talking with a British accent…

Movies, while they provide a good story and a means of escape, don’t require any interaction from the audience. A person could sit in a theater, drooling on themselves, while all their brain has to think about is how to get their hand to their mouth so they can eat popcorn. Reading, on the other hand, requires a lot more brain function. You can’t be passive while you read; it’s an interactive process that engages the reader.

I think this question is best answered by Madeleine L’Engle, though:

Readers usually grossly underestimate their own importance. If a reader cannot create a book along with the writer, the book will never come to life. Creative involvement: that’s the difference between reading a book and watching TV.

In watching TV, we are passive – sponges; we do nothing. In reading we must become creators, imagining the setting of the story, seeing the facial expressions, hearing the inflection of the voices. The author and the reader ‘know’ each other; they meet on the bridge of words.

Isn’t that one of the best quotes ever?

| Tags: , , , 14 comments »

14 Responses to “Books vs. Movies – BTT”

  1. gautami tripathy

    One of the best quotes I read about reading. Thanks for sharing this.

    Here is my BTT post!

    [Reply]

  2. thatsthebook

    That’s very similar to what I said. Reading is much more active than watching a movie or tv.

    [Reply]

  3. Chris@bookarama

    I agree with that!

    [Reply]

  4. Lezlie

    If it’s not the best, it’s in the top five!

    Lezlie

    [Reply]

  5. Florinda

    I haven’t answered that BTT question yet, but I think there’s some difference in what we look for from books vs. movies, but it’s mostly in presentation – how we want to be engaged and entertained.

    Madeleine L’Engle was a very astute woman, and that quote is just one example of that – thanks for sharing it!

    [Reply]

  6. Lesley

    I agree that reading demands the cooperation of the reader, but not all movies are mindless pap, either. I disagree that movies ‘don’t require any interaction from the audience’. That’s simply not true of all movies. And there’s an awful of of rubbish out there on bookshelves that requires no interaction from the reader whatsoever!

    [Reply]

  7. Amy

    I agree with you Lesley. I think movies and tv both can require something from the audience.

    In any case each time you are inviting a story, a story that is not your own into your life and then assessing it based on your own life experiences.

    But I love reading.

    [Reply]

  8. Maree

    That’s a great quote, but I agree with Lesley; sometimes movies _ and TV _ do require participation. And that’s when you know you’re on to something really good. 🙂

    [Reply]

  9. Melody

    Oh wow! I absolutely agree with that!

    [Reply]

  10. Rebecca

    That is a great quote. Which book is it from?

    [It’s from Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art –trish]

    [Reply]

  11. jeane

    I love that quote by L’Engle.

    [Reply]

  12. Movies That Make You Think « Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’?

    […] 22, 2008 by trish Today’s Booking Through Thursday question, which I answered HERE, asked, “Books and films both tell stories, but what we want from a book can be different […]

  13. pussreboots

    A good film should engage you just like a good book. Heart of Darkness has never managed to engage me but Apocalypse Now does. One inspired the other but I would say the film is better than the book.

    [Oh, I definitely agree some movies are better than the book that preceded them. Take, for example, Cider House Rules. The book was excruciating! The main character couldn’t make up his mind for 20 YEARS…the movie changed this part of it, and I adored the movie. However, I think I was wrong in my original statement in this post that movies are ALL passive…I’ve corrected this in the post that follows this one. –trish]

    [Reply]

  14. Julie

    Great quote from one of my favorite authors of all time. 🙂

    I agree with your original statement, Trish, but that may be because I don’t like movies that make me think, so I avoid them. I’ll tackle practically anything if it’s printed on a page, but if it’s on the screen, it has to be a glitzy blockbuster, or forget it.

    [Reply]

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