"I liked the book better."
"That's not how it goes in the book."
"They left out this really awesome part from the book..."
With all these book to movie adaptations, almost every fangirl has uttered some version of those lines. Because let's face it: as much as we may love the blockbuster versions of our favorite stories, books are (almost) always better than movies.
Here are 8 randomly organized reasons why. (Ironically, I'm typing this post while I watch the movie Thor for the fortieth time. Don't judge me.)
- You can take books anywhere. True, movies are now portable, thanks to tablets and smartphones, but then you have to worry about storage, data plans, wifi, battery life, headphones... Books don't need to buffer, be charged, or have the volume adjusted. They are the ultimate anytime, anywhere entertainment. (See below, of Tom Hiddleston demonstrating the power of reading on pubic transportation.)
2. If you need to get up for snacks or a bathroom break, you won't miss any scenes in a book. Sure, you could pause a movie, but if you're watching it with other people, you don't want to be that person. It's never awkward to stop a book.
3. You can read a book little by little. No one puts in a movie to watch one scene, and then stop. (At least no one I've ever met.) Typically, movies are meant for one sitting; books can either be devoured at once, or spread out bit by bit.
4. By the same token, books are more immersive than movies. They tend to have more details, and since they take longer to finish, we get to explore more of the fictional world. Movies can only show so much; books are filled with extra "behind-the-scenes" bits that make us true citizens of these other worlds. The first time I watched Divergent, I kept pausing to explain extra facts about the factions to my family. Movies can't explain things in the same way books can.
6. Books give more screen time to secondary characters. Finnick Odair is my favorite character in the Hunger Games, and although he's awesome in the films, they don't do him justice the same way the books do. Because the art of film is different than the art of literature, movies typically follow the main character and story arc. Books are better at dealing with subplots, and thereby secondary characters. We get to see more backstory in novels, and therefore come to feel more deeply. A side note: if you haven't read the Hunger Games, do it. Do it for Finnick.
7. With books, you are the casting director. You never have to put up with your least favorite actor playing your favorite character. The decision is yours, and you can totally picture every male lead as Tom Hiddleston or Sebastian Stan. (Or whomever it is your little heart fancies.)
8. Books are the start of great stories. No one watches a movie and thinks, "This should be turned into a book." No, we read books and then daydream about them becoming movies. (Movies we will inevitably like less than their bookish counterparts, yet we want anticipate them nonetheless.)
So there you have eight reasons why I prefer books to movies... Not that I have anything against movies. They just don't stack up the same way as books.
Do you prefer books to movies? What are your favorite and least favorite book to movie adaptations? If you're a fellow book lover, be sure to join in on the Fangirl Initiative's Summer Reading mission!