Saturday, October 1, 2011

Saturday Discussion: Reading vs Viewing

Last week, I wanted to lay out the reasons why I read. This week, I wanted to get a little deeper into that topic and talk about reading vs television. The reason I'm not lumping movies into this category is because movies are in a two hour package and once you walk out, you're through. Books and television, on the other hand, have a lot of staying power. So here's the question: books or television?

My answer is going to be both. I love to read and watch my television shows equally as much. Books and t.v. are alike because:

1) The length

T.V. gets the luxury of a season. They get 12, 22, 24 episodes to slowly build relationships, plot line, a fantastic world and each character. They can show you each little scene and feeling, and follow more than one person.

Books can also do that, not just with the length of one novel but with series. They can have 1, 2 or ever 4 characters that they follow in first or third point of view.

2) The character development/relationship development

Sometimes t.v. shows will spend all their season teasing the viewer to see if their favorite characters (who we know are perfect for each other) end up together. 

Books totally do this too, teasing us with the character's feelings towards another person.

I'm sure there are a million other ways they are alike but right now, that's all I got.

The thing is, these art forms are both very different too. I'd like to talk a little bit about pluses for each side.

Television shows have the benefit of being touched by so many hands. There are a whole group of writers working to make sure the dialog is snappy and the plot line is always full of bigger and better surprises right around the corner. It also has the benefit of being able to cast real people for the characters. We get to see how they are feeling through the actors glances and facial expressions. Because of the real people, we also get to see details that we take for granted in books like a characters personal style and bedrooms. The action can be bigger because the viewer gets to watch.

On the other hand, books are also passed through different hands from writer to beta readers to agent to editor and so on. And sometimes, it's beautiful seeing something that came from a single person's mind, watching them stretch the limits of their imagination to the breaking point. Books allow us to immerse ourselves into the characters and have what they are feeling literally spelled out for us. We can make up what the characters look like, casting our own favorites in the roles. And books are so much more personal. When I'm reading a hot make out scene, I'm not thinking about how many other people have read it/are reading it too. 

In the end, I'll always pick a good book over a t.v. show even though I enjoy them too. Being with a book, getting that hands on, active experience has always held more appeal to me. I love, love, love watching Supernatural and The Vampire Diaries as much as the next girl but if I'm reading a good book, none of it really matters. At the end of the hour the show is up and guess what's waiting there for me still?

That's right, the book!

So tell me, what do you like better: television or reading (and you are allowed to pick both!)?

1 comment:

  1. I always love your Saturday Discussions. I've known that I enjoy TV more then movies because it's both split into small segments and goes on forever (or sometimes seems too as you get into season 7 or some shows). I've never tried to compare TV and books though. Interesting thing to think about.

    Jex @ Everything and Nothing


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