Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Movies vs Books

Movies are certainly not ‘wrong’; depending on the type of movie, they can be ‘good’ too. In fact, watching movies is one of my favourite ways of whiling away free time. I especially enjoy musicals. ‘My Fair Lady’ and ‘Sound of Music’ are some of my all-time favourites. However, books are an infinitely better way to pass extra time.

Watching a show requires very little effort. The only exertion required is for me to remain awake and to keep breathing- no particular difficulty if the director of the film did a good job, and if my heart is yet strong. However, when I am reading, my eyes have to process the letters, form them into words and then, a sentence. My brain then does the job of unravelling the meaning of the sentences. It muses over the words, twisting them in an attempt to fit the sentence, especially if the words have multiple meanings. Books stimulate; movies promote indolence.

I have often tried ineffectually to shake myself out of a heavy stupor after having watched a long movie, however exciting it may be. I offer no explanation for this, as I do not know the cause of the lethargy. But I do know from experience that this is not the case with books. I am aroused; my mind races to solve the mystery of a novel, my blood rushes, and my heart pounds for the hero/heroine. I am forced to take a stand on a controversial topic and judge for myself; the book has done a good thing. It has stirred up my human body’s insatiable demand for more knowledge, added to its fund of data, and expanded its outlook. Reading also frees the imagination, exercising the mind, allowing it to run wild in a given sphere.

Reading develops the intellect. I remember having a reading session in the assembly hall before lessons began. At that time, I thought it was merely a ruse to keep hundreds of kids quiet; but now I’m not so sure. It was a quiet activity which also benefited us kids. Reading improved my English. Watching authors express themselves, seeing the choice of their vocabulary, and later understanding the reasons of that choice gave me versatility in the language. Writing becomes as natural as speaking to an avid reader, because he has observed the art of an experienced writer, and learned to use his imagination creatively. To him, writing is almost second nature. On the other hand, movies do not expand one’s imagination. Imagination is caged up instead of given free rein, and is left to become stale and dull. In a movie, everything is served in a golden platter. My intellect and my physical body are indulged- there is no thinking done. Solving a mystery requires only my lingering a little longer, whereas in a book, it is usually not possible to devour all its pages in one day, no matter how voracious the reader is. Watching a movie is an unhealthy and inactive activity compared to reading.

A book makes a perfect gift, a timeless present, and an elegant ornament to any home. A fine library is a treasure trove indeed! Each richly bound volume of stories or data will be useful in its turn, either whiling away the hours so pleasantly one never knows where it went, or filling up the gaps in one’s knowledge. Whichever it is, the book will surely be put to good use. I usually read of antiquated books, (like Grandma’s hidden diary or something along that line,) always associated with something precious. But I have yet to hear of an antiquated movie which has increased in value with time. Directors of ‘old’ movies are long forgotten, erased with the new and uprising generation of shows. But names of authors such as Dickens, Austen and Shakespeare ring throughout history, their works always appreciated, and their memory kept sacred. Movies can hardly put up a fight, can they?

A movie interspersed between times can be refreshing, but a book is the master of all trades and the jack of none. It is a companion in solitude, an ornament to the home, and a feast for the intellect. Hooray for books, and a cheer for their creators!!!

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