Bury St Edmunds sixthformer Ashleigh Homer asks: What's best, books or movies?
Imagine you have just finished watching a film in the cinema (I know it is seems hard to envisage under current circumstances) and the film has been based on a successful book franchise; you are with a friend who is an absolute book fanatic, and you just know what is coming . . .‘The books are 100 per cent better than the film was’.
Now, if you are someone who has never particularly felt the urge to pick up a book (don’t worry, we have all been there), you likely cringe when hearing avid bookworms persist in saying these words time and time again, film after film. Yet, do they have a point? Are books really always better than the films?
Yes, perhaps we learn more of the complexities of each character: what is occurring in their psyche, their human qualities, the intricate details of their disposition.
I would even go so far as to say the fundamental foundations on which the characters are built, their ingenuity is revealed though the pages of a novel. Books are illusive in meaning, giving readers the opportunity to elicit hidden meanings. Furthermore, books cater to everyone: you can find a book on whatever topic you enjoy most.
They are readily available and accessible in physical or online form. Alongside this, books bestow us with a brand-new set of vocabulary, while simultaneously according us with knowledge unbeknownst to us beforehand.
Moreover, books enhance our creativity and imagination; they evoke our curiosity, enabling us to become all entranced in a false reality of pure mystery and wonderment. Some view books as a form of escapism during the hardest of plights. For instance, according to The Reading Agency, almost one in three people have increased their reading since the start of the first lockdown, with seven in 10 people reading fiction.
Mental health concerns have almost doubled to 19 per cent as of June 2020, according to Nuffield Trust, so people may be using reading to help cope with the current state of affairs. On the other hand, some may argue the increase in reading is out of pure boredom. That’s for you to deliberate.
All this being said, you might be starting to wonder whether you yourself should bite the bullet and pick up a book. Sounds intriguing, right? Now I’m not trying to dissuade you from doing so but allow me to enlighten you on the fascinations of film before you commit to your conclusion on the matter.
Now, earlier I discussed the idea of reading provoking your ingenuity alongside your imagination; however, what if I told you that films bring these stories to fruition, eliciting into reality all the elements that were once confined to the pages of a book. Films fully encapsulate stories in a succinct way, so if you do not have time to read the book you can easily access the story within a couple of hours.
Additionally, you are accorded the added bonus of the soundtrack of films, which further enhance your cinematic experience.
I can’t neglect to mention the fact that the majority of actors are rather visually appealing, which is an incentive to watch films in itself. Moreover, the social aspect of films is unmatched. True film connoisseurs are unrivalled in their ability to intrinsically dissect even the most mundane seeming features of films in the most admirable manner.
It is only fair to conclude that neither films nor books are superior to the other; it would be completely unjust to compare them due to the benefits each generates. The experiences they bestow are simply in nuance to each other. Moreover, it is simply your own personal preference. Who am I to try to discredit your partiality? Though books may bestow a sense of accomplishment after reading, any storytelling method elicits a newfound sense of spirit in each and every person who endeavours on the journey of fiction.
-- Ashleigh Homer is studying A-levels in criminology, psychology and English literature at Abbeygate Sixth Form College, Bury St Edmunds