the difference between word and film

The controversy about whether books or movies are better sometimes puzzles me. I often feel as if I ought  to say that the book is better (writers are obligated to say that, you know), but honestly, there is nothing like the fiery thrill of emotions that comes with a good film.

A few weeks ago I realized something: books and movies are so very different that it really isn't fair to compare one to the other. (I do understand things like "the book was better" or "the movie was better," but keep reading as I explain myself.)

I noticed that reading an entire book takes much longer than watching an entire movie. This is because it takes several words to describe a single descriptive act or movement, while in a movie, that movement comes and goes in but a second or two. Therefore, while you may have to take ten seconds of your time to read and imagine how the tear slipped softly down her bitter-stained face, in three seconds you can see that happenstance; and the emotion it bores into you comes with much more force. After all, a baseball bat gently hitting your head doesn't leave as much impact as one coming toward you at twenty miles per hour.

Movies cram in so much emotion in such little time that it is no wonder this generation likes watching movies better than reading books. We like thrill. We like fast. We like action coming all at once. And I think this would also explain why more girls read than guys. Guys likes thrill and fast even better than girls, so when they must experience that thrill and emotion in a slower fashion, it doesn't have nearly the same affect as a movie. Besides, you must use your imagination for a book. Who'd want to take the time to do that?

But books have a certain way of sinking deeper into our hearts than a movie. It stays with you longer. After all, watching a gleaming car speed by at fifty miles an hour doesn't give you quite a clear picture of itself, nor does it give you enough time to fully implant that picture in your mind. Such is with books versus movies. Movies come at you faster and with more impact, but it doesn't leave you chewing on the information you just gained and it doesn't allow it to sink as far and as deeply into your thoughts.

So perhaps this isn't a matter of whether books or movies are better. Perhaps it's about which you prefer. Though, to throw in a personal thought, I think it'd be healthy to get yo'self a good dose of both.


  1. yes - you hit the nail on the proverbial head, Emily! <3

  2. I know this is an old post - BUT IT'S SO GOOD and I have to tell you thank you for writing it. :-)

    1. Wow! Thank you so much, Naomi! Truth be told, I forgot this post existed until I received your comment in my inbox. ;) Thanks for reading! I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

    2. Haha, happens to me too. Sometimes I forget all about my old posts! (Generally they're pretty embarrassing though, ha.)