Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Greatest Escape

Reading is the perfect escape for me and I’ve just figured out why. I guess I’ve known why, really, intuitively, I simply never articulated it before. Here it is: not only is it an escape from a world I don’t much like (well, the people part, anyway), but it is an escape into a world I largely get to create. I choose the book to match my mood and then while reading, I get to imagine the characters, the place, everything, just how I want it to be. The power!

Movies can be nice escapism, but everything is there for you, even forced on you. Not only do you not have to think or put any effort into it beyond looking and listening, there’s really only so much you can do. Not that I’m anti-movie. I love a good movie; it’s just that there are so few of them out there.

TV is the same, but it’s usually an even more vapid medium than film. That being said, there are TV shows that I love. One is the old Gilmore Girls, as anyone reading this blog already knows. Others are Joss Whedon’s creations – Buffy, Angel, and the cruelly shafted way-way-way too short-lived Firefly. What a great show that was. They all were, really, though Buffy went into a decline, in my opinion, before it finally ended. Part of the reason I like these shows so much is that they were (and to some extent Gilmore Girls still is) so well-written, and (mostly) so well-acted. But also they were all great at creating atmosphere and pulling the audience into their world. I felt like I knew all of those people, and I cared about what they were doing.

But I still prefer to read. I like the freedom of creating my own images to go with the story. I’m usually disappointed when a book I like is turned into a movie or television show, even if the adaptation is extremely well-done. Because now I’ll picture Daniel Radcliffe every time I read a Harry Potter book, and I no longer remember how I pictured Harry when I first read The Sorcerer’s Stone. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Daniel Radcliffe; I’m not sure they could have found a better young actor to play Harry Potter. But he’s still not my Harry.

So, vive le livre! The book is dead; long live the book!

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