Why the Book is Always Better

I know I’m not the only one out there who cringes a bit when someone who claims to be an avid Harry Potter fan admits to never having actually picked up one of the books. And over the past few months, I’ve been surprised to hear so many people say they can’t wait to find out what happens next in The Hunger Games, as if waiting for the movie is the only option. To be fair, I am not entirely guilt-free myself. After recently seeing The Perks of Being a Wallflower (which I highly recommend), I’ve added the novel to a growing list of books I want to read after seeing the movie—although I probably won’t get around to them until next summer. But if you aren’t a huge fan of reading, here are just a few things you’re missing out on:

  1. You feel like you’re part of the story. You know exactly how the main character is feeling and what they’re thinking. In a movie, you only catch glimpses of their emotions so you don’t feel quite as connected.
  2. Books aren’t restricted to two hours. Only so much content can be crammed into a movie before it becomes too overwhelming, and even then, there are certain things that can’t possibly be conveyed on a screen. Even if they aren’t absolutely crucial, every detail in a good book was placed there for a reason, and cutting them out for a movie takes away meaning. And because a book takes longer to read, you spend more time really getting to know the characters and the story.
  3. You won’t be distracted by bad acting, directing, or effects. Not that the books are outstanding, but have you ever noticed how many people only hated Twilight after the movies started coming out? However the author intended the story is the way you’ll see it play in your mind, whereas movies are filled with beautiful Hollywood actors and actresses that usually aren’t the most realistic depictions of their roles.
  4. You can read anywhere. You can carry a book around with you and don’t have to finish it at one time, unless of course it’s really that good.
  5. It makes you feel smarter. You can’t honestly say you feel a sense of accomplishment after sitting down, staring at a screen, and eating some popcorn.

That being said, I’m still a huge fan of movie-versions of books. As long as the story is good, they’re definitely still worth watching. But I also try to avoid setting myself up for disappointment with high expectations, although that doesn’t mean I won’t compare the two afterwards. In the end, it’s up to you whether or not to read the book, but if you usually opt out, try checking out some upcoming movies based on best-sellers here, and challenge yourself to read one that sparks your interest before you head right for the theater.

Danielle Hellstern

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This is the official blog of the Bentley University Writing Center staff.
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