Books vs Films: The debate continues

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Books vs Movies. Image from http://movie-memories.net/why-you-shouldnt-compare-books-to-movies/

We had talked about literature versus movies in the post  age of machines: Literature vs. Movies and Series. The debate goes on about which is better. When it comes to Books verses Movies or Films I will be bold enough to say I am terribly biased. I will always pick the book version of something over the movie. This is definitely not an opinion the whole world shares and so I did a little research to see if I am among the minority, and I was pleasantly surprised at what I found.

Books vs Movies. Image from http://movie-memories.net/why-you-shouldnt-compare-books-to-movies/
Books vs Movies. Image from http://movie-memories.net/why-you-shouldnt-compare-books-to-movies/

This article by Shortlist.com gives a whole graph as to how the book almost always blasts the movie version out of the water. Some examples being, The Hunger Games, The Hobbit, Les Miserables, Harry Potters, The Twilight Saga, Alice in Wonderland, Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, Confessions of a Shopaholic, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Last King of Scotland, and I literally could go on and on. All those books somehow did better on the market than the movies that were in turn done after them.

On Debate.org the question was asked, “Are movies better than books?”

39% of the answers were yes, and a whopping 61% of the answers were no. one of the best explanations a commenter made as to why they voted no was that Films can bring whole worlds to life before our eyes, make characters into living, breathing flesh and blood, but books let you LIVE everything’

They let you feel all of the emotions that everyone in the book is feeling if someone gets hurt, like if someone got shot in the stomach you instantly grab your stomach as you feel a sting in that area. Movies can skip important details and they can’t always show you how people come to conclusions so they just say it.

This article by The Guardian describes it perfectly when he says, “Films are great, but they just don’t have the same inclusion that books have. You’re merely an observer: you aren’t feeling everything the character feels, aren’t reading every single one of their innermost thoughts, all of their doubts and fears and hopes. Films let you observe everything. Books? Books let you feel everything, know everything, and LIVE everything. With a book, you can be the hero who kills the demon with one twirl of your blade. You can be the girl who battles cancer, along with all the pain and uncertainty that comes with it. You can be a demigod, you can be an alien, and you can be an angel, a god, a villain, a hero. You can be in love, you can hate, you can triumph, and you can lose. You can be anything and everything. There are no limits. No restrictions. Nothing is impossible; nothing is out of reach…

A survey released by the National Endowment for the Arts found, those who do read are more likely than non-readers to visit museums, attend musical performances and sporting events, and perform volunteer and charity work. Andrew Solomon, in a New York Times op-ed, concludes: “Readers, in other words, are active, while non-readers–more than half the population–have settled into apathy.”

Solomon also said of reading books: “It requires effort, concentration, and attention. In exchange, it offers the stimulus to and the fruit of thought and feeling….The electronic media, on the other hand, tend to be torpid. Despite the existence of good television, fine writing on the Internet, and video games that test logic, the electronic media by and large invite inert reception.” In the past, technology has been a trustworthy guardian of history (think printing press, recorded music, photography). In this case, unfortunately, it is shaping up to be but a dismal replacement.

So will technology decline and let reading once again be the number one source of information? Or will it slowly increase, making the very thought of paperback books irrelevant? We really can’t say either one or the other will happen because as William Gibson once said, “The future is not evenly distributed.”

Digital technology is and will continue to grow for a while at least, and continue to exist, because it is becoming part of the world we inhabit at a level below our notice, no more remarkable than roads or supermarkets. EBooks and Podcasts are here to stay because they are part of the digital world which is not going anywhere.

By the same token, paper has a place in our hybrid future. Digital books are still quite ugly and weirdly irritating to interact with. They look like copies of paper, but they can’t be designed or typeset in the same way as paper, and however splendid the cover images may look on a hi-res screen, they’re still images rather than physical things.

Another article by The Guardian shares, until a digital book, or story is a magical object which physically transforms from one novel to the next according to your whim; until you can walk through a digital library and open books at random; until a movie or film can dispel in you the feeling of being a mere observer, and create in you the character that you are watching; until the technology becomes as satisfying to the physical senses as the text is to the cognitive self, there’s still a need for shiny, gorgeous, satisfying books.

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