If I had my way, I would spend about 90% of my time reading. And if I could spend even less time reading but still be able to experience books in all of their undeniable sublimity (perhaps due to some book osmosis that I prayed for when I had an anatomy final the next day in high school), then I would engage in such an activity every day. Seriously, someone much smarter than me should get on that…
But a serious question from a less than serious blogger: how does a bookworm keep up? E-readers have certainly helped people to stay on top of his or her book game, but the Internet has given voice to many more people and topics than ever before. So, how do we cut through the din? How do we account for a steady diet of the written word when there is a bigger feast than anyone can handle? Tell me, what makes the “paper cut”?
Reader to Theater
Not surprisingly, many readers are at the theater, as they look to film to inform their next read. Movies have become 2 hour advertisements for 200 page books that are adapted past the author’s ability to stomach their own creation. We watch the film/television version almost to judge whether we will want to spend precious time on the book itself. And when I say precious time, I actually mean a precious lifetime if Game of Thrones serves as an example.
There has been a complete role reversal; students used to watch the film instead of read the book to save time. Now, we go to the movies in the hopes of liking the movie enough to read the book. Do we not trust our own instincts? Do we not trust the authors to deliver a satisfying read? Do we really trust Hollywood to do our characters justice?
Perhaps, I do. I’ve watched four seasons of Game of Thrones with only about five chapters read in the first book and with little intention to keep reading when HBO breathes gold dust into Martin’s story and colors in between the literal lines of text. I did not read Harry Potter at all until I saw the first movie, some three years after the book’s publication, but I did eventually find out what I was missing. The Hunger Games only beeped onto my radar when the indomitable and loveable J Law crashed onto the Hollywood scene in all of her ungraceful glory as Katniss. In many ways, I’ve failed my fellow readers. And at the same time, I’ve seen stories reproduced on the big and small screen that far outpaced my own imagination.
The Fault In Our Books
And now, even with my literary to movie pedigree, I am absolutely fearful of picking up John Green’s teen love story, The Fault in our Stars. Even though I ran to catch up with my fair share of book bandwagons in the past, I can’t help but watch this one roll away and kick up some dust. From what I can tell from the trailers, (and maybe I’m just bitter about Shailene Woodley because the Divergent fan club loved her first) it is this generation’s A Walk to Remember but with a horrid twist that makes people absolutely lose it. So, excuse me if I don’t go running to the library to cry my eyes out. I did read The Book Thief, after all. (And if you haven’t read Zusak’s masterpiece, you need to. I mean, now. Go.)
However, I’m not one to judge a book by its cover, by its movie, or its fan club, for that matter. (If I made decisions on that last one, I wouldn’t be looking at you, the Bible). So, maybe when the crickets grow silent in the theater and TFIOS leaves the bestseller rack and slips back into the YA section, I’ll give it a read. But for now, it’s all I can do to dodge The Fault in our Stars and not find the faults in all of the reading material that has been barraging us lately. So, would I call watching the movie before reading the book blasphemy? No, I would call it smart. But these days, a movie ticket costs as much as a paperback, so be careful how you spend your money and your time.