Book Week was celebrated in colourful style with creative costumes and an immersion of all things literature. I love seeing students proudly holding the books that inspire their characters and I especially love those costumes that are a bit outside the box.
The title of the blog this week is a little provocative, “are books better than movies?”. That is a little bit like asking “is broccoli better than pizza?”. The answer of course completely depends on the criteria that you are applying to evaluate “better”.
I love a good movie and I don’t think I’m alone in this. A good movie can provide around two hours of escapism into your genre of choice. If your children are small, then your movie consumption may not extend past watching Frozen for the umpteenth time, but at least you will know all the songs by then.
Movies are more tangible, visual and compact than books and sometimes (depending on the PG rating and ages of your children) can be enjoyed by the whole family at the same time. For older children who can read, books are almost always a solitary affair.
There is nothing wrong with enjoying movies but are they better than books? Is it like comparing broccoli to pizza? We know that broccoli is better for us than pizza, but where is the enjoyment? I would like to suggest four reasons why books are better than movies in a way that is enjoyable. It is time to re-appreciate the humble printed page (or ebook).
1. Books allow us to become part of the story
Books allow us to add our own ‘voice’ to the characters we read about and our imaginations fill out the details we can’t see. When a movie is made from a book, people are often disappointed because the moviemaker didn’t live up to their imagination.
Movies are targeted at the mass market but a book allows you to become part of the story.
2. Books are a parents’ secret weapon
This one is for the parents. Imagine a quiet house during the school holidays or on a Saturday morning! There is no noise blasting through the TV, no fights over the remote control or what to watch and it’s quiet enough to hear the birds outside – or the neighbour’s TV. There is nothing wrong with having selfish reasons to encourage your children to read books. Enjoy the quiet while it lasts.
3. Books are better than broccoli
If movies are the junk food of our entertainment and books are the healthy broccoli, there is still no need for anyone to turn their nose up at them. Books are filled with enjoyment and long-lasting entertainment. A movie is over in two hours but a book can last months. Most of us have felt that sadness of coming to the last page of a good book; we want it to continue but know it must end. The best part of reading is to do it slowly and be excited about what happens next. Time can stand still with a good book.
4. Books make you appear smarter
We all know that books make you smarter (otherwise teachers wouldn’t assign them) but books also make you appear smarter. Anyone (who is not living in lockdown) can see the latest blockbuster movie but reading a book ushers you into a special niche club where you can only talk about it with others who have read the same book. It’s like finding a friend you didn’t know you had and sharing like experiences with them. I’m not condoning elitism or smugness from reading a book others haven’t, I’m just encouraging that special feeling of pride because you have chosen to read a book.
They are my reasons why books are better than movies. What are yours?
Mike Curtis, Principal