Why would you even bother reading a book?

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    Believe it or not this was said to me today in a general conversation. Needless to say that the person who spoke these particular words did not know I was an author; I did not enlighten them either!

    However, for my part these simple few words started a chain of thought that, as the day progressed, continued to reoccur in various forms. This post is the result of some of the fleeting impressions these musings have left me.

    By the way I am solely writing with regards to reading fictional books, as this was the original topic of discussion this morning.

    For those techno-loving geeky types, I am not separating e-books from their paper counterparts as they were not distinguished as separate entities during the debate.

So on with the post…….Firstly, why read a book when we are surrounded by a plethora of various media platforms, allowing access to just about every form of entertainment available by a simple click of a mouse, a push of a button, or a touch of a screen?

My answer to this is that all forms of moving picture media leaves very little exercise for the mind.

Once again I will say ALL forms, whether it is a chick-flick or shoot-um-up film, a drama, play, soap opera, or another genre.

Each and every one spoon feeds the viewer the information required and therefore leaves very little, if anything for the imagination to create.

However involved the viewer may become in the plot of the programme he or she is watching, their mind is purely focused on the screen, watching antics and listening to the words of the actors alone.

Do not get me wrong, I enjoy a good film as much as the next man; I love watching plays and intriguing dramas, and yet no matter how well directed, produced, or acted they may be, such simply cannot begin to compete with a well written book.

What is so special about reading is that it can do something that no other form of entertainment can possibly achieve.fit-girl-working-out-fgp9n

A book can give your mind a ruddy good workout, a neuron enhancing, cognitive improving gym session like no other.

Allow me to explain……When you watch something on a screen you are seeing a story through the eyes of the director, via a screen writers interpretation of a story that has most probably been adapted from another medium, possibly that well written book I mentioned a short while ago.

Therefore what you are seeing is actually a director’s vision, of a third of fourth hand edited version of an original work. Doesn’t seem so good now does it?

Another downside to watching a screenplay is when one of the characters, (which will be the actors portrayal of the watered down interpretation of the directors version of that original piece of work), walks across the car park and drives away in a dark shiny car, you will see exactly from which direction the actor enters the car park, see how the parking lot is lit, know what model car he climbs into, and just how fast he drives away.

That is okay, but it is hardly fascinating, is it?

However, within those magic pages of a book all that action is yours, and yours alone. No one else will ever see the same man walk through the same car park and slide behind the wheel of that car. Only you know how the parking lot smells, which lights were dim and flickering. Only you can sense the suppleness of the leather seats and watch through the windshield as he drives, tyres squealing, up the ramp and out into the….daylight / darkness of a rainy night?

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Now you are beginning to see why I love reading.

Everything conjured up by the words on the page are designed to stimulate your mind, not only by guiding you through the storyline, the plot, sub-plots and twists to bring you to a conclusion, but to excite every cerebral nerve in your mind to create entire worlds where you can escape to for hours on end.

It is your personal world, an exclusive world, where every drop of rain, each blade of grass, the people who inhabit it, the scents, the very texture of material are all yours, and yours alone. A semi-mystical fantasy world where love, hate, lust, passion, jealousy and forgiveness can be experienced without fear.

There is no other form of entertainment that can even come anywhere close to that which can be delivered by a good book.

As I have said above, I love reading, I enjoy the escapism it provides. Which is also why I enjoy writing; when I write I hope to give my readers the same experience, the same satisfaction that I get when I’m deeply lost, in my own netherworld, following the storyline of a Novel.

Even if you do not read one of my books, please buy one, even two of somebody else’s and start reading straight away. I know you will enjoy.

Thanks for reading this!

Paul.

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7 thoughts on “Why would you even bother reading a book?

  1. I’ve had similar remarks said to me. As I was reading a book someone came up to me and said “Why bother reading other peoples thoughts on a page?” Needless to say I didn’t bother with a counter argument as I thought there would be no point.

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  2. This gets me thinking about possible ways for film to be more potent by leading viewers to use their imagination. I generally agree that watching films doesn’t require imagination (or I might say doesn’t require *much* imagination), though I think there are at least minimal ways in which it does.

    For example, consider real-life conversations where the feelings of conversation participants may be veiled or ambiguous, where an astute or emotionally intelligent observer would need to “read between the lines” of what is said, or where body language, tone, and choice of words or avoided words can lend clues. I wish I had a specific and immediate example in mind.

    But consider: such scenes from real life require imagination (imagination about how people feel or what people’s intentions are) to guess at what conversationalists are feeling/intending. If such scenes are compellingly recreated in film, the same imagination is required to interpret the scene. In fact, viewers who have little or no such imagination may find such a scene hopelessly boring, while viewers with such imagination could (depending) be “on the edge of their seat.”

    Also consider suspense, for example the common trope where the face of a villain or mysterious character is never shown, or the villain is only ever referred to by characters, but never shown. The behavior of characters in reference to the villain, or the villain’s tone of voice (if e.g. the villains’ back or hands are shown) — such things beg the viewer to imagine the villain’s face, or if the villain is never shown, their nature and appearance.

    All of that said, it seems to me there’s a strong and ever-increasing tendency, especially in special-effects intensive films, to force a whole universe down the viewers’ throats, so-to-speak. In fact I think the entire trend is symptomatic of the common egocentric personalities of filmmakers (it’s a fact that narcissism is more prevalent in the filmmaking profession than in any other profession). It may be that they do this because they distrust the audience to feel or be awed unless they, the filmmaker, compellingly shows them how much better his imagination is than theirs.

    Tangent: for me, the worst is that when I see a film for a book I’ve read, everything I imagined about the book is simply “overwritten” in my memory. I no longer imagine the visuals and sounds (for the way characters and scenes etc. look, or the tone or mannerisms of characters when they speak) which came when I read the book, and it’s hard or impossible to get them back.

    /epic comment 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that you have just confirmed precisely that which I was trying to covey. Yes some films leave the educated viewer to ‘fill the gaps’, French film noir does this often, but the majority are often ‘art-house’ productions aimed at a small select audience. Even so as you say when a film of a book, which many are, is shown it can spoil, even destroy your unique visions.
      A further comment, I would rather read a book that snaffle at the tid-bits a film director tosses me! just saying 🙂

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