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We are a worldwide social network of freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and secular humanists.

I am interested in whether you like to read a book or watch an adaptation of that book. I think I prefer a book because it forces you to use your brain and actually imagine what it's going on, what the characters' reasons are, what is the setting, etc. - even though the number of movies watched is far larger than the number of books read, so far.

 

It's hard to choose, and it's even harder to choose both. I don't know about others, but I don't like spoilers, and once I know what's going to happen, I can't enjoy the book/movie like it would be something completely new.

 

I am a big fan of the TV series Dexter, but I couldn't enjoy the first book from the series that much. It was good, but I knew what was coming next. Fortunately they didn't use too many things from the other books and I hope they don't change their minds. The second book was good, but the third one was crap. Once you start talking about ancient gods awaken or whatever they did, it's crap, especially in a series like Dexter. I've only read the first three books.

 

Anyway... now I don't know what to choose when it comes to other works. For example, I don't know whether to watch The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy or read the books.

 

So, what do you prefer and why?

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What about "No country for old men"?
Good point.

I didn't read the book so cannot comment, I'll take your word for it. =)

 

Still trying to think of a movie I liked better than the book. My reading was pretty genre specific for much of my life. The only movies I remember being better than the books were those where the movie came first.

 

Maybe it's what I see first I like best? When Star Wars first came out, it was pretty much character driven. The books that came out after pretty much sucked in my opinion, because the effects and the actors were what made the movie.

I think that books that are written after a movie was popular may be a category of their own, not quite "books". I admit I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to books, however my snobbery is never hollow :-)
I think the Bourne movies were better than the books, but this is extremely rare. I haven't read the Godfather books, but it is hard to imagine them being better than the movies (well, I & II). I'd certainly like to see someone attempt to make a movie of "Excession" by Iain M Banks which was anything like as good as the book.

People should stop saying "movies" when they mean "a very specific series of trends in specific types of movies from specific industries (notably and almost invariably Hollywood)." When I hear people complaining that movies are spoonfeeding them info, they're almost always complaining about a given execution, not anything that is intrinsic to the medium. 

 

Beyond that, though, the argument that books "force" you to use your brain more is totally baseless. I had started responding to it, and got carried away enough that I think it's better as a blog post that a mountain of words - you can read it  here; please do and let me know what you think.


I prefer films to books only on a practical level (I have trouble finishing books). 


Aside from that, asking me if I prefer films over books is like asking me if I prefer chairs or walls. Different things, different roles, different standards, not mutually exclusive. Whether I enjoyed any given adaptation from one medium into another as much as the original work depends on the execution and my personal experience with each, not on the medium.

 

And I think a lot of the "the book was better"/"the movie ruined the book" jabber (not pointing fingers at anyone in particular here) is most often hollow snobbery, but hey.

I agree that the medium is different, but that's about it. It was fun when Space Odyssey 2001 first came out. The movie was excellent for it's time, special effects and all.

 

Not one person that I knew understood what the hell it was about. Happily I read the book so could fill in the blanks for them.  

As an interesting aside, IIRC the first drafts of the novelization of 2001 were actually voice-overs that had been intended for the film, but were cut because filmmakers believed they were too explanatory and that detracted from the experience (especially when the film attempts to express the vast emptiness of space, say).

Similar problem that they had with making the Movie "Dune." Since the book relied on a mostly nonverbal plot line.

 

I'm still thinking that the wall and ceiling analogy is not totally correct. =(

 

I think that both mediums share much. Besides visual aspects, such as costumes and special effects, both mediums can be entertaining. They both can be informational. They can be documentaries. They can be fact or fiction.

 

I would say that they share more purpose/commonality than a ceiling and chair do.

 

I don't think it is snobbery to prefer the book, I think it is just while reading, you create a bit of the imagery and get a more detailed story. While reading Dune, I made up how the name "Atriedes" was pronounced, same with "fremen." I had images of what the moisture trapping suits and worms looked like.

 

When watching the movie, I was spoon fed someone else's imagination. I'm not saying that's a bad thing; the visions of some directors and producers are awesome.

 

Well, maybe the chair and ceiling analogy does work a bit in that final thought. =)

I think that both mediums share much. Besides visual aspects, such as costumes and special effects, both mediums can be entertaining. They both can be informational. They can be documentaries. They can be fact or fiction.

Those descriptions apply to virtually all forms of communication, so I don't think it's fair to call them significant similarities between cinema and literature.

 

I disagree that you create more details in your head than are on screen - in fact, I don't think it's possible, in general: We don't register ever detail of the world we experience. A movie is a series of photographs. Barring the most minimalist scenes, they will always have more details than you can remember or invent.

 

Every single medium in which you experience someone else's story in their words you are being "spoon-fed someone else's imagination." That's what storytelling is.

Yes, but if you are watching a movie, you cannot imagine the main character because you actually see the actor, if you read a book, even if the character was described in complete detail, you still would need to create a mental imagine of the character's face, if you were so inclined to do. When I read a book I tend to not do that, to form mental images, detailed or otherwise, I'm more fixed in the words and how they are written, but I know many people who imagine the characters and the environment, and they enjoy that. I enjoy the words, I would bet money if someone did an fMRI different parts of my brain would be activated, when I'm enjoying a book or when I'm enjoying a movie.

For example, "Love in the Time of Cholera" ("El amor en los tiempos del cólera") by Gabriel García Márquez, is one of my favorite books, and not once I imagined what the protagonist or his love must have looked like, I did not need to. Isn't that interesting? The movie, on the other hand, didn't do a thing for me, even though the story was the same, it was no longer powerful. Go figure. And Javier Bardem was in it! I don't think it was a good movie, and I'm positive I would not have liked the movie even if I had not read the book before. In other words, I don't think the book "spoiled it for me".

I love books and I love movies, and from the perspective of my personal taste, some stories are best told in books (if you are García Márquez, at least) and others are best told in movies (if you are the Coen brothers, I'm thinking of "No country for old men", for example).

Funny, I hated the book in that case (Space Odyssey), Neal.

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