So I saw The Avengers the other day and liked it a lot. It got me started thinking, though, about the differences between movies and books. They’re both ways of telling stories, but their delivery is very different. Movies have sight and sounds. Books have sight, but in word form rather than pictures. Senses are touched in different ways. Do I prefer one over the other? I love going to the movies, sitting in a theater and being immersed in a movie. I like just as much to curl up on a couch and read a book. I really came down to which impacts me more.
When I think back on movies I’ve seen, I remember mainly my impression of it. Good, bad, or okay. That’s pretty much it. I remember who starred in it and the overall story line, but beyond that, it’s pretty much a blur. I can’t remember how everything played out, and I certainly can’t quote lines. I could watch a movie a second time and have the same reaction — unless it’s one of my all-time favorites. Those, I remember with much more passion.
Books, for some reason, capture my imagination to a greater degree. Maybe it’s because I normally spend more than 2 hours with a book. Maybe it’s because I’m given the chance to delve deeper into a character’s thoughts. Maybe it’s because with a book, the brain has to work a bit harder to visualize everything? I don’t know, but books remain very vivid in my head. If I look at the cover of a book I’ve read, I’ll remember at least one scene that impacted me. (If it’s a good book, that is…) Sometimes, I might even remember dialogue. If it’s a romance I read a decade ago, just thinking about it can make my heard squeeze.
For me, books go into long-term memory and stick. Movies, not so much. That doesn’t mean I love them any less. It’s just a totally different entertainment experience. So which do you remember better? Movies you’ve seen or books you’ve devoured? Do you prefer one over the other? Or is this just a writer thing?