Month: August 2013

Why Books are Better than Movies

It’s an oldie, but a goodie

‘Have you read the book? It’s SO much better than the film!’

I have come to the conclusion that I  don’t have much to say to people who don’t read books. Read any book. Even if it’s Mills & Boon, at least it’s some sort of creative. I feel that people who don’t read, who don’t escape into someone’s story, have no burst of feeling, no thoughts of imagination or interest in to the complex world that is human nature. It is something I’ve observed for a while. I’m not saying that people who don’t read books are boring, I’m just saying that people who don’t read books bore me. I use a lot of lines from famous literature to get a point across in a conversation, and certain people (non-readers) think it’s my thought. While I’d like to take the accolade for using a line ‘I will show you fear in a handful of dust’ I’m pretty sure, if he was still around, T.S Eliot may have a problem with that.

Discussion of a book and the characters of a book cannot always be portrayed correctly in a movie. While I find the Toby Stephens version of Mr. Rochester, to be by far, the best representation of Rochester (Timothy Dalton was reigning Rochester until Stephens came along), I am yet to meet the same Rochester that I meet when I read Bronté’s Jane Eyre.

I think Virginia Woolfe sums it up pretty well as I can’t seem to articulate my meaning here. (May have something to do with all the noise currently going on at my house). In Woolfe’s article ‘The Cinema’ she addresses adaptation and her reservations concerning film as a medium potential. Using Anna Karenina as an example, she states

The eye says: “Here is Anna Karenina.” A voluptuous lady in black velvet wearing pearls comes before us. But the brain says: ‘That is no more Anna Karenina than it is Queen Victoria.” For the brain knows Anna almost entirely by the inside of her mind – her charm, her passion, her despair. All the emphasis is laid by the cinema upon her teeth, her pearls, and her velvet.

So essentially, what we see and what we read have different meanings and without the internal dialogue, how is one to know what Anna is thinking deep down inside? How are we to know, that embarking on a trail of revenge never ends well, when Hollywood have that incessant need to give everyone a happy ending as they’ve done in the 2002 movie of The Count of Monte Cristo? Garbo’s Karenina is so altered, I’m not even sure it’s the same story. How can this Russian masterpiece end in happiness? It just doesn’t make sense to me. Don’t even get me started on Holly Golightly and Fred ending up in ‘Happily Ever After’ in the movie adaptation of Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  Completely ruined the essence of the book.

All this means is that there ends up being a difference of opinion about certain characters, the book character and the movie character. I’d rather find out what the original author was trying to teach me. When we write, we always put a little bit of ourselves in it, and while I think some screen writers have something to say, I’d wish they’d leave it for their own work instead of intextualizing a masterpiece written for a purpose.

By all means, make some popcorn and watch the movie, just don’t expect me to be impressed when you think that every story is tied up into a neat little bow, stuck with happiness stickers. It pisses me off and I’d like to think that Tolstoy and Dumas would agree.

Read a book: respect the Author!


Up at 2:49AM

What a wonderful find when I’m struggling to sleep & do a bit of reading to try and aid the process.

When you buy a book, you establish a property right in it, just as you do in clothes or furniture when you buy and pay for them. But the act of purchase is actually only the prelude to possession in the case of a book. Full ownership of a book only comes when you have made it a part of yourself, and the best way to make yourself a part of it — which comes to the same thing — is by writing in it.

Why is marking a book indispensable to reading it? First, it keeps you awake — not merely conscious, but wide awake. Second, reading, if it is active, is thinking, and thinking tends to express itself in words, spoken or written. The person who says he knows what he thinks but cannot express it usually does not know what he thinks. Third, writing your reactions down helps you to remember the thoughts of the author.

Reading a book should be a conversation between you and the author. Presumably he knows more about the subject than you do; if not, you probably should not be bothering with his book. But understanding is a two-way operation; the learner has to question himself and question the teacher, once he understands what the teacher is saying. Marking a book is literally an expression of your differences or your agreements with the author. It is the highest respect you can pay him.”

M.J Adler

Monday (quick) Musings

So I’m sitting at my desk (of sorts, it’s the kitchen table today) studying how Michael Cunningham’s The Hours is both ‘new’ and ‘rescued’ and having a little difficulty in how I’m going to tackle the 1,500 word essay so I get a High Distinction.

What better way than to walk away from it for a moment and just purge some thoughts via blogging.

There’s a pot of soup bubbling away on the stove-top, vegetables dancing around the bubbles, thinking about what they’re about to become. The aroma fills the house and gives it a beautiful warm feeling. There are strong winds howling outside and occasionally I’ll hear something crash and scrape across the back patio, losing its battle with the wind. Instead of thinking about Clarissa Dalloway and Clarissa Vaughn, I think of Aesop and the tale of the Sun and the Wind. I sometimes wonder, how my busy brain can ever comprehend one thing long enough to actually write a paper about it. Maybe I’m not made to be at University. Maybe I’m just supposed to let my brain whirl around, like one of those spinning rides at amusement parks. Like Clarissa Dalloway and Clarissa Vaughn, maybe my life is meaningless and offers nothing to the world. Here I am, blogging on the world wide web, not making a dent and not inspiring anyone. What’s the point of blogging? What’s the point of anything? What’s the point of University? Something to do? Who knows!

It’s not like I’m going to stop though. I’m not going to University for anyone else and I don’t blog for others, I blog for me. Because I can and because it’s there. It’s not for validation. Validation is a waste of time and energy. People’s opinions of myself are none of my business, I’m just sitting here finding new and interesting ways to procrastinate, a habit I am not proud of but would like to have it permanently unclear what that signifies. I’m kind of easy to work out when you get to know me, but then I’ll throw you a sixer and turn it around and run…. leaving you with your mouth gaped open (What happened?).

Meanwhile, I’m still not getting anywhere with my paper, so I’ll just keep doing some research until something pops out at me. Surely if you look hard enough, something will always appear.

I think I’ll buy the flowers myself