Books vs Movies


Last night I went with my sister to the drive-in movie theater.  It was a really fun experience and I got to see Inside Out for the 4th time (love that movie!) and Ant-Man for the 2nd time.  I had a great time revisiting these films and spending time with my sisters.  However, my youngest sister and I started discussing the films after and she said that she is almost never ‘in love’ with a movie.  She likes them fine but even something like Inside Out didn’t really blow her away.

As we discussed I realized I felt the same way about books that she felt about movies.  I love a good book.  Recently I read Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella and loved it!  It was so exciting to read something that really excited me.  Unfortunately that experience is far too rare.  Just like Maddie said about movies I am rarely ‘in love’ with a book.  I make it a goal to read 1 fiction and 1 non-fiction book a month and I’m lucky if 1 out of 24 books really excites me.

In recent years books that have excited me are Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson, North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and My Life in France by Julia Child (which I actually first read in 2010 so we are going back away on that one).  Counting Finding Audrey that’s 5 books in 5 years that I’ve LOVED.

Now when it comes to movies there are literally dozens in those 5 years I have loved.  That’s why I keep rereading books I love because a new book seems like such an unlikely bargain.  I have a friend who told me she’d never reread a book.  That blew me away.  I wouldn’t hardly read at all if I didn’t reread.

Just to be clear I would put those 5 books well over any movie, but I’m afraid they are the exception rather than the rule.

So why am I more likely to love a movie than a book?  Well, the experience is so different.  In a movie you get to live in a world for 2 hours and you get a whole story.  In a book you are there for weeks, even a month, so the story better be very compelling to keep my interest.   For example, I like being in Middle Earth for 2 hours in a movie but reading the Hobbit is tough for me to get through.

A lot of people notice the details in books like the Harry Potter series and are disappointed when those details are removed.  In all honesty, while I enjoyed reading those books and think they are quite brilliant those little details are lost on me.  I’m just not a detail oriented reader.  I am way more likely to notice details in a Harry Potter movie than to remember them from the books.  I’m not saying the Harry Potter movies are better than the books.  They are just a different experience and one that is a little bit more palatable to me (I’ve never been a fantasy fan in books but don’t mind it in movies).


I think a lot of it comes down to how I learn.  I was a late reader and have always learned through visual stimuli and repetition.  A movie has so much more to think about than a book and the message is repeated in so many different ways.  For example, in one scene in a book we may be told it is scary but in the movie we have the score, acting, cinematography, lighting, special effects etc all contributing to the message of being scared.

I love the discussion and community which revolves around movies (and to a lesser extent books).  I am in a book club with some bloggers who are amazing and read 9-12 books a month!  That blows my mind.  For me I enjoy talking about the 2 books I read a month (sometimes more) but I can see 2 movies a week so there is so much more to talk about and compare. It’s really fun comparing thoughts and talking about film.

Part of the problem with books is I have a higher content standard.  It’s one thing to watch a movie for 2 hours with some language or other objectionable content.  I probably shouldn’t but I can rationalize a lot of that away.  But with a book I’m living with those characters for weeks so I’m going to be a lot pickier if they are mouthing off all the time or doing other immoral stuff.  I’d say there are a lot more stories I can stomach in a 2 hour movie than in a book.  TV is even worse because it can be living with that content for years.

Now to reiterate I love to read.  I’ve even written my silly books for NanoWriMo and I try to always have 2 books I’m reading at any given time.  All I’m saying is that I rarely find books that excite me and that I love.  Whereas, I find movies I love all the time.

Does  that makes sense?  Does anyone agree with me?  Or perhaps are you on the flip side with my sister and rarely find a movie you love but find many books?  Neither way is wrong as long as you keep your toe dipped in both pools (I feel strongly it is important to the understanding of our culture to at least see a few movies a year and it’s good for the brain to keep reading. Both are important)


9 thoughts on “Books vs Movies

  1. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it to you before but I’m a librarian. So needless to say I am definitely more like your sister in this one. I have to totally disagree on one thing for me personally: “A movie has so much more to think about than a book and the message is repeated in so many different ways.” Good books in my opinion have much more to think about and can do what you are saying with movies. I very rarely find a movie that leaves me thinking about it the next day. With books that happens all the time.

    But like you said, it’s all about personal preference and the way you interact with things. Aside from Disney movies, which I see the new ones or rewatch the old ones, I’m lucky if I watch one movie a month. They just don’t move me like books do. I feel like I have more personal interpretation when I read – my mind is free to be creative and interpret meanings the way I want. I also like the flexibility of books. I’m sorry busy and often don’t have 2 hours or more to spend on a movie – but I have 15 or 20 minutes to read a chapter or two before bed.

    Anyway sorry for going on. I’m interested to read your take on it! Just offering my own thoughts 🙂

    1. Don’t apologize. I love your comment. You make a good point about the flexibility of books. I do like that about reading. It does come down to preference. Neither is wrong or right.

      I just wish I could find more books that wowed me. It’s such a bigger time investment than a movie so I think that is why a bad one is a bigger downer than a bad movie.

      It’s so hard to find books that aren’t full of profanity and sexuality. I don’t think I’m a prude but like I said with a movie it is just 2 hours of that objectionable content. A book I could be with them for days and days. It’s so rare I find a modern book that I feel comfortable reading and that I like. Last year I started 4 books which I had to stop reading because of the content.

      I don’t really like a lot of YA novels that are very trendy right now (I’ve never been that into fantasy or dystopian).

      I find I end up going back to the classics and rereading Jane Austen or Elizabeth Gaskell.

      But when I do find that book that I love it is amazing and better than any movie. It just doesn’t happen that often for me.

      1. I actually read a lot of middle grade fiction. It’s aimed at grades 5-8 but a lot of it is really excellent. And you don’t have the profanity/sex issue there. Is there a certain genre you like to read?

        1. hmmm. Good question. I do like the classics like Jane Austen and Dickens. I also like stories like Anne of Green Gables, Little Women. I like chick lit when it’s not too steamy. I like Sophie Kinsella novels. I also like memoirs about interesting people or stories.

        2. I thought of another one I read in the last 5 years- Howard’s End. I love that book.

    2. I think when I said movies give you more to think about I was thinking of how they involve more of the senses. You hear the music and the dialogue. Seem the imagery. Absorb the story etc. Where books it is more a one sensory absorption. I’ve always been pretty visual in my learning but I do love a good book.

  2. Definitely food for thought here. Off the top of my head, I would have said that I’m fairly even when it comes to loving books and movies; I can appreciate both for the different elements they utilise to entertain. But if I look back over the books and films I’ve read/watched in 2015, I find there are a few more films I’ve loved (e.g. Cinderella and Inside Out in the cinema; Apocalypse Now, Lost in Translation and Hamlet at home) than books – there are plenty of books this year I’ve liked, but the only one I definitely loved was The Martian.

    I’m wondering if this is due not to how I experience books and films, but how I choose them. Before I go to see a film at the cinema, I almost always check out reviews first – I’m pretty discerning that way. But I hardly ever do that for a book – I just pick one that looks good. Perhaps I’m more able to get an idea of whether I will properly enjoy a movie from reviews than with books somehow.

    I would say that when it comes to really special stuff that I have a particular place in my heart for, the numbers of books and films are pretty much even (e.g. Harry Potter for books, Titanic for movies) which is probably where my initial instinct on the idea comes from.

    1. That’s a really good point about reviews for books vs movies. I don’t tend to read many book reviews because I find they are rarely coming from my more conservative perspective. I tried a while back to read the Pulitzer Prize books but found those to be disappointing. (Like I said I’m more picky when it comes to content in books than movies because it takes me so much longer to get through them).

      But you are right perhaps I could find ways to research my choices more carefully. When I read a good book it is so thrilling. It just doesn’t happen that often.

      I think with movies because you can get through the junk more quickly maybe I find more of the good stuff?

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