Booking Through Thursday: Books vs. movies

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The Booking Through Thursday question for today is:

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?

I think the biggest difference is that you can get more depth from a book. You don’t expect to finish it in 2-3 hours, so there is more time to explore backgrounds, connections, implications, meanings. And because it lasts longer there is more time to enjoy it. As a general rule, reading a book is a much richer experience than watching a movie.

Another difference is that reading a book is usually a solitary experience. You can discuss it with others after (or during) reading it, and to me that increases the enjoyment and learning from it, but the actual reading of it is something you pretty much have to do alone. That’s not a bad thing in itself, but sometimes you want the shared experience of watching a movie together.

A movie also has visual impact. Though my imagination is at work when I am reading, stunning scenic visuals or subtle empressions can greatly enhance what is going on in a movie — and conversely, if the scenes are too dark or obscure or the characters are lacking in expression, the visual impact lessens the enjoyment.

Though this question is more about comparing the two types of media and not about books translated into movies as we previously discussed in the Celluloid edition, if I see a movie based on a book I have read, I am often disappointed at the changes made or the scenes left out. If I am watching it with someone who is not familiar with the story, I feel I need to supplement what we’re watching with what I remember from the book because they’re just not getting the whole picture, the full impact, the subtleties. Sometimes that is welcome; sometimes it’s not. 🙂 But if I am watching a movie based on a book I have not read, if I enjoyed it, quite often I will seek out the book later on to get more of the story.

11 thoughts on “Booking Through Thursday: Books vs. movies

  1. Well, since I dOn’t enjoy movies OR television, I guess I would have to say I enjoy books MORE! I love stickin’ my nose in a good book! And I looooooove that there are no advertisements too! I get completely UNinterupted pleasure when I read… unless… you know… kids or parents neeeeeed something! LOL! (course that happens with movies too!) But I always think MY imagination tells the story MUCH better than any director or producer ever did!

  2. I agree that there is more depth to a book and films never match my vision of the book anyway. I’ve done just what you describe in the last paragraph – supplement the film with information about the book!

  3. I clearly sense a little bias!

    When posing a question such as ‘what are the differences between a book and a movie?’, it is expected that both sides will be represented (pros and cons) or list the facts. I was left with the feeling that if I did not think books where better I would be wrong. But you didn’t ask a question such as, ‘which do you prefer, books or movies?’ You kind of had two thoughts going. (1) What do we want from a book / movie (as they may be different)? 2. which do you prefer?

    I love both for different reasons. I sometimes value being taken to a place that looks different from my perspective of it from my reading of the book. Sometimes they compliment, sometimes not.

  4. Hi Mary,

    I didn’t pose the question…Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme asking a question having to do with books. The hostess there asks a weekly question, and participants answer and leave a link to their answer at the BTT site so other participants can visit around and discuss the question. So — I was only sharing my own thoughts in response to the question and certainly not meaning to imply that anyone with a difference of opinion was wrong. It was just my own opinion, not an essay. 🙂

    I love a good book and a good movie. Sometimes I want one, sometimes the other. Both take me to a place of learning, growing, and experiencing.


  5. That’s an interesting point about the social experience of a movie. You can have your emotional reactions to the story along with others.

    Laughter especially is much more fun when done in a group! Tears, not so much… If I start to cry at the movies, it’s usually right before they turn on the lights, revealing me in my snotty-nosed, gasping state.

  6. The trouble with open blogging is that sometimes you feel like you have come into the middle of a conversation or joined a discussion that has had the mechanics explained but you were not there at that time. Sorry if I sounded a bit critical. I’ll get better at looking at a blog and recognizing a meme. I’ll have a coffee next time and wake up before I go reading. I hop onto your blog a lot and really like your ministry. P.F.M.I.I.O.U

  7. For me a movie is like a ride that takes me where it wills me to go. A book, however, is more of a journey that I take and go where I want to go. I can go as fast or slow as I want and how I process the information is entirely up to me. While I can take a book with me wherever I go, I must sit in one spot for a movie. Each are great experiences and provide a choice on whichever journey you want to take.


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