When people see movies with names like The Fault in Our Stars and A Million Ways to Die in the West, they choose to stop by movie theaters rather than their local libraries. There are pros and cons to reading books instead of watching movies, and it’s important to weigh all sides of the argument before choosing your stance.
3 Pros of Reading Books Instead of Watching Movies
1. Books Leave Room for the Imagination
Nobody can tell you how to read a book. Your English teacher can throw suggestions into your head and your mom can tell you her favorite parts, but in the end, the way that you interpret a book is entirely up to you. However, movies tell you what to think. They use visual and sound effects to make you see and feel a certain way. There is nothing wrong with seeing a movie, but sometimes you miss out on the opportunity to express your imagination when you favor movies over books.
2. Books are Portable
You can read a book anywhere you go. You don’t need a power source to charge your book, and you don’t need a television screen on which to watch it. Books are easy to travel with, and are always an endless source of entertainment.
3. Books Allow Readers to Better Understand the Characters
Internal dialogue is an integral part of reading a book. With all this knowledge inherently embedded into the story, understanding the actions and motivations of the main characters is never a problem. Yet, some of that knowledge can be lost in a movie. Many people are distracted by beautiful actors and fantastic special effects, and so they lose sight of the plot and character development that is truly at the heart of the story. However, there are no such distractions in books, allowing for the readers to feel as if they know the characters on a personal level.
3 Cons of Reading Books Instead of Watching Movies
1. Books Are Too Long
With the jam-packed schedules of many adults and teens these days, books can take weeks, months, or even years to read. However, the time span of movies is limited. A movie generally plays for a minimum of an hour and a half to about three hours at the most. You can sit down to watch a movie in one shot, and even catch up on some work while you watch. With the added bonus of leaving room for multitasking, movies take much less time and dedication than books.
2. Books Are Less Visually Appealing
Here’s the big one: movies are simply more visually appealing. There are special effects that blow your mind, and action sequences that your imagination really cannot do justice. Much of our imagination is limited to the confines of reality, whereas visually appealing movies can go beyond that on their quest to bring the fantasy to life. Even music and sound effects can make a difference in watching a movie. After all, playing suspenseful music when someone is walking down a corridor can put the audience on the edge of their seats more acutely than can reading about descriptions of the eerie corridor.
3. Reading Books Is Not Social
Reading a book is a private and individual act. It’s true that you can read aloud to your kids, but most people want to read curled up on the couch in front of a fireplace. However, movies are social acts. You may not be able to talk in theaters, but most people still choose to see movies with other people. Rather than reading a book on your own and discussing it with a friend later, most people choose to see a movie with their friends and discuss it as the credits roll.
I grew up reading books. To this day, I would still rather read a book on the couch than rent a movie at my house, and I never see film adaptations without reading the book first. However, it would be impossible for me to say that I don’t like movies. Books and movies both have their benefits, and simply recognizing what each medium does best will lead to a better book reading or movie watching experience.