A Book Lover’s Call to Arms

Monique Aganovic pleads with movie-goers to switch it up this cold season and stay at home with the book instead.

It’s been twenty years since Harry Potter was released into the world. The series inspired an entire generation to rekindle a love for reading, and explore an entirely new world of fantasy. To this day, J.K. Rowling interacts with the fandom through Twitter and Pottermore, where avid fans still sing her praises. It’s one of those rare fandoms where the movies and the books are both so dearly loved. Poor Daniel Radcliffe has forever been pigeonholed as ‘The Boy Who Lived’, no matter how much he tries to M. Night Shyamalan his way out of it.

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PSA: I actually love Daniel and think he’s a really good actor.

Other fandoms, however, have not been so lucky. Just ask sixteen-year-old me, a girl who just desperately wanted her favourite book series to be immortalised in the perfect film. A Vampire Academy movie! It was everything I thought I wanted. I thought I’d get the next Twilight, but instead I got a sexed-up version with no soul which dishonoured the series. I made it through the first fifteen minutes before having to walk out of the cinema.

So how do you cope when the movie royally screws the book over, as if the book didn’t birth it so graciously?

Well, the best coping mechanism is to go home and literally dive head first into the book. Smell the sweet scent of a real book between your hands. Relish its well-worn pages. Indulge in a nice bubble bath where you and your book can be alone together, and when that’s over, snuggle up in bed and try to repair the fracture the film left on your precious relationship.

Or, you know… Do normal things I guess.

Why does Hollywood forsake us so? Why must they drag the hearts of us humble nerds through the mud each time they dare to embark into the world of literature? It’s always been très en vogue to produce big feature films from great novels, and there’s obviously a market for them. There are those who don’t like reading, can’t be bothered, or aren’t able. The film form is much more accessible to many and yet it’s so hard to swallow when it goes head to head with an amazing book. Often, if you’ve watched the movie first, you’ll love the book; but when you read the book first, the movie struggles to lives up to the hype.

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I’m the first to admit that when they do it well, they do it really bloody well. I felt every emotion of The Help; the characters were perfectly cast and the plot stayed true. The Girl on the Train received praise for its accurate representation, and films like Life of Pi and Lion have done very well in recent years. But for all those smooth and stellar transitions to the silver screen, there are the ones that fall abysmally short. Those that send us into Twitter meltdowns, and have us urging our friends to please read the book!

So, this is my calls to arms. If you’re able, Read. The. Book. Yes, the movie may be amazing in its own right, but the book has an entire world around it, built from the ground up. The movie may draw you in with a big screen and warm popcorn, but a book will draw you in with its rich story, and it will keep you there a lot longer than two hours and thirty minutes.

Feature image by Amy Lewis, all other images from Giphy.com

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