The Stories We Grew Up With

 

BookNerd

“It is said that a picture can say a thousand words. Well, so can a thousand words. They are the keys by which we can unlock new and amazing worlds, some of which ascend beyond the imagination, and it all begins on the first page.” – BookNerd

As long a there has been life, there has been stories. You could say that our very existence is the greatest story ever written, one which will span to the end of time itself. It is a story with as many antagonists as there are protagonists, and with over seven billion chapters, each one cataloguing the events of every individual life that’s lived.

We all strive to shine as brightly as we can, in the hopes that our chapter will be a memorable one capable of enduring the test of time. There are many pages to fill, however, and in the meantime there are many stories of our own creation for us to enjoy, ones which may have a greater influence on our greatest story than we realize.

I’ve been thinking a lot about stories lately. I mean, I think about stories basically every moment of my waking days, but there’s been an increasingly prominent theme among them that makes me yearn for the days when my greatest frustration was having to share my toys with my siblings.

Youth is by far the most fleeting part of our chapter, and yet for most it is the most memorable and cherished for the very reason that I would love to go back in time and fight over the last Lego piece I need to finish my castle; because our worries, our fears and our anxieties were so much smaller back then.

It’s also the time when our discovery of the world begins, and thinking back on it, a great deal of what I learned about life and how to live it came from the books I read – or had read to me during my pre-reading days – and I’m sure many of you feel the same. I’m not talking about the technical stuff, like how to learning how to ride a bike or how to use the toilet, even though there are plenty of books that can help us overcome those obstacles, I’m sure. No, I’m talking more about lessons of morality, values, and normative behaviours that are accepted by our culture.

9780679830665One of my all time favourite books when I was really little was called “Elmo Wants A Bath“. The entire thing was waterproof, so I could take it into the bathtub with me and not have to worry about ruining it. It was one of those books that was designed to help find joy in taking baths, instead of seeing them as a chore, and it certainly worked on me. I couldn’t wait to dump in the bubble bath and sculpt the resulting foam into bubbly mountains. It was such a simple book, and yet it impacted my life so greatly, and as such it holds a very important place in my heart. It helped me to realize that joy can be found in anything, you just have to know where to look.

51HPM256BGL__SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Another book I remember quite fondly was called “Dear Tooth Fairy“, which told the story of a young sprite who works hard to earn her wings and become a Tooth Fairy. I’ve always had a fondness for fantasy and magic, and it’s quite possible that this book was the catalyst for it. It was a truly a book of hope, using a combination of beautiful illustrations and a simple yet compelling story to teach us that nothing is impossible, and our only limitation is the size of our dreams. It also taught me a lot about oral hygiene, but my young mind found those bits to be of less significance :)

519NKBB2FXL__SX258_BO1,204,203,200_If you grew up in the 90’s, then you probably remember the “Little Critter” stories. They were certainly a classic, and what was so great about them was that the stories were very relatable for kids. There’s one in particular that comes to mind, and it was called ‘I Was So Mad’.

We’ve all had times where it seemed like the only word our parents knew how to say was ‘no’. It could be frustrating, especially when you didn’t know why they wouldn’t let you buy the candy bar from the store, or stay up past your bedtime, or watch a scary movie. The protagonist of this story gets so mad that his parents won’t let him do anything he wants to do, and decides to run away from home, but he barely leaves the house when his friends come by and ask if he wants to play baseball with them. When his mom finally says yes, he realizes that he’s not angry anymore, and he joins his friends at the park and has a really good time.

These are just a few of the books that I feel helped to shape me into the person I am today, by encouraging me to dream, have fun, and to not sweat the small stuff. This is why it’s so important to encourage children to read when they’re young as part of their fundamental development, because try as they might, our parents don’t always have the time to bestow upon us their wisdom in all aspects of life. Books help to fill in the gaps, and sometimes they teach us things about ourselves that we wouldn’t have known otherwise.

What are some of your favourite books from your childhood? I would love to hear about them! Leave the titles in the comments below or on my blogs Facebook page, and until next time, happy reading!

Cheers,

BookNerds 

 

 

 

Winding Down The Year

BookNerd

“It is said that a picture can say a thousand words. Well, so can a thousand words. They are the keys by which we can unlock new and amazing worlds, some of which ascend beyond the imagination, and it all begins on the first page.”BookNerd

 

Greetings Fellow BookNerds,

I know I’ve been absent for a while, but given that it’s December, I’m sure most of you can understand. One minute you’re sitting down, relaxing with a mug of hot chocolate, and then you’re rushing about trying to get a bunch of last minute preparations done as you realize that Christmas is only a week away and you’ve barely made a dent in your holiday check list.

I haven’t had a lot of time for reading, meaning the next book review won’t be coming out any time soon, but I will do my best to continue blogging about topics I find interesting. Also, you should know that I’m always open to suggestions from my followers. If there’s anything you would like my opinion about, or if there’s a previous post that you have a question about or would like to comment on, or anything else that comes to mind, feel free to jot it down in the comments below, or on my blog’s Facebook page.

Latest-The-Force-Awakens-Trailer-DescriptionTo get things started, how about you all tell me what you thought about the new Star Wars movie. I’m hoping that by now everyone has seen it, so this won’t be creating spoilers for anyone. Just in case, consider yourself forewarned. That being said, feel free to get the conversation rolling by sharing your favourite scenes, characters, lines, or anything else you loved about the movie. Heck, if there’s something you were disappointed with, I’d be curious to hear about that too. Leave your thoughts in the comments for this post or on my blog’s Facebook page, and then I’ll try to follow up on them in one of my next posts.

In the meantime, I hope you’re all prepared for the winter season which is finally upon us, and until next time, happy reading!

 

Cheers,

BookNerd 

When Videogames Are More Like Books, Amazing Things Happen

“It is said that a picture can say a thousand words. Well, so can a thousand words. They are the keys by which we can unlock new and amazing worlds, some of which ascend beyond the imagination, and it all begins on the first page.” – BookNerd

It is said that a picture can say a thousand words. Well, so can a thousand words. They are the keys by which we can unlock new and amazing worlds, some of which ascend beyond the imagination, and it all begins on the first page.” – BookNerd

Greetings Fellow BookNerds,

So, I just got the news that the next installment of Dreamfall Chapters is set to come out this Thursday, and I could not be more excited… well, I suppose I could be, but only if the new Star Wars movie were to come out on the same day. Still, I don’t think I’m going to be able to sleep too well for the next few nights, as my mind will be too focused on the next chapter of Zoe Castillo’s journey.

Actually, ever since I began playing this series, I found myself thinking a lot about how videogames have changed over the course of the past fifteen years or so, not just visually, but in the stories they have to tell, and the kind of thoughts and emotions those stories provoke in us.

For those of you unfamiliar with Dreamfall Chapters, it is the third in a series of games that began with The Longest Journey in 1999, a game which was both simple and complex at the same time. It told the story of two worlds; the one of science and logic known as Stark, and the other of magic and chaos known as Arcadia. The two worlds were once one and the same, but it became evident that magic and science could not co-exist peacefully, and hence they were divided, watched over by the Guardian who maintained the Balance between them.

In the game, you play as April Ryan, an art student with no real direction in life. She has been having very strange dreams, in which she travels to an unknown world and meets a beautiful white dragon who refers to April as her daughter. She tries to dismiss them at first, but when the world of Arcadia begins to leak into Stark, she cannot ignore them any longer. With the help of a mysterious man named Cortez, who seems to know a great deal about Arcadia, April soon discovers that she is a shifter, meaning that she has the ability to move between the two worlds.

Unsure where this journey will take her, April travels to Arcadia, where she meets all sorts of colourful characters, and learns more about this mysterious world and how she may be the only one who can restore the upset Balance between both worlds. It’s an older game, and as a result it doesn’t have the greatest visuals, nor the most exciting gameplay, but the story, dialogue and characters make it well worth your time, I assure you.

After I finished playing the first one, which to my surprise only took me a few days – my gaming is a lot like my reading, slow but determined, hence my surprise – I thirsted for more. When I discovered that a sequel had been made about eight years later called Dreamfall, I thought I might cry with happiness as I immediately got on my computer and bought the game.

I was so happy to see that they managed to keep all of the charm and wonder of the first one, while having created a gaming environment that was more suitable for modern gamers. They brought back much of the old, but also included a few new things for us to discover, which only added to the already amazing story. Of course, like any game, there are always things they could have done better, but overall, I was satisfied, and once again I fell into despair when the game ended, thus ending the journey… until I made yet another discovery!

In 2014, the game was reborn yet again with Dreamfall Chapters, taking the story to a whole new level that I couldn’t have even imagined being possible. Red Thread Games, who bought the rights to the game from Funcom, added an element to the game which was met with mixed results. Similar to games like Knights of the Old Republic and Witcher 3, Dreamfall Chapters includes various dialogue options which can alter the path your story takes. In other words, your choices have actual consequences, and honestly, I think that was a brilliant move on their part.

Games used to be designed in a way where there was only one outcome, and it was just a matter of making your way towards that outcome, which remained unchanging no matter how many times you play it. This is all well and good, except that there are no consequences for the actions you take along the way, and when there are no consequences, then all we’re teaching young gamers is that you can get away with anything so long as you know how to shoot a gun or go into stealth mode.

I love games that make you think, as opposed to shoot first and ask questions later. In Dreamfall Chapters, when you get to a point where you have to decide how to respond to what someone else has said, or you have to make a choice between two courses of action, the game pauses to give you time to reflect on those choices, allowing you to place yourself and their shoes and consider what you would do if placed in that very same situation. What’s more, each option provides a glimpse into your characters mind, so you can see the thought process they’re going through, not unlike what authors do with their characters. In other words, the characters begin to seem more like actual people, adding a whole new dimension to video gaming.

And with this new dimension, the stories that video game designers create can become even more complex, sometimes to the point where it literally feels like you’re actively participating in a novel. Dreamfall Chapters does this really well by dividing the game into different chapters, each one with its own plot twists and character perspectives, sometimes even ending on a cliff hanger to be picked up in the next couple of chapters. It’s a really creative and imaginative way to design a game, and I truly hope that the future will show us even more games following a similar path.

If any of you BookNerds out their are fans of this, or similar games, I would love to hear what you have to say about them and your opinion on the future of story driven games. Leave your thoughts in the comments below or on my blogs Facebook page, and until next time, keep on reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd

 

 

 

Everyone Has To Start Somewhere

BookNerd
“It is said that a picture can say a thousand words. Well, so can a thousand words. They are the keys by which we can unlock new and amazing worlds, some of which ascend beyond the imagination, and it all begins on the first page.”BookNerd

 

 

Greetings Fellow BookNerds,

It makes little difference where our aspirations lie, whether we yearn to become a doctor, a politician, a writer, a teacher, or a banker. Regardless of where our desired destination is, we all have to start at the same place: the bottom. It doesn’t feel like a very good place to be sometimes, especially when we’re surrounded by those who have climbed to the top of their life’s mountain and are able to enjoy the magnificent view from the top.

Yes, I’m sure we all wish that we could just skip the hardships and stress that comes from being at the bottom, but you know what? Regardless of whether you’re just starting out or you’re part of the big leagues, there are always going to be moments where you doubt yourself, or you question whether this was really what you wanted to do because it’s a lot harder than you had imagined it would be.

I’m not saying all of this to rain on your parade or anything. After all, I am also at the bottom, and have chosen to follow the path to becoming a writer which many have taken, but only some of whom have made it all the way to the end, to the top of their own mountains. It’s a daunting journey, especially for someone like me who suffers from anxiety and occasional depression episodes, and sometimes I ask myself that very same question: is this what I really want to do? And do you know what I tell myself every time? Hell yes!

Writing has been my passion for as long as I can remember. Even though I didn’t really get into reading until I was in grade 4, I probably wouldn’t have had the time anyway because up until then, I was too busy trying to create my own stories. For me, it’s not just a dream, but something I feel that I need to do.

I suffered from crippling shyness when I was young, and as a result I found it painstakingly difficult to express myself vocally. As you can imagine, it created challenges for me whenever I wanted to make friends, but that wasn’t even the worst part. I’ve always felt that I had a lot of really good ideas, but because I was too shy to share them, most of those ideas never got to see the light of day, something I look back on every day with immense regret.

I can’t change how I was in the past, but even if I could, I don’t think I would want to, because then I might not have the same drive that I do today to pursue a career in writing, and that just seems to wrong. Our past is what makes us who we are, and as difficult and torturous as some of those moments may have been, we still managed to ‘keep calm and carry on’, as the saying goes.

And you know, being at the bottom isn’t all bad. That’s when you’re able to see all of the different possibilities laid out in front of you, and we are still able to see each one of them as attainable. There’s also that saying where once you’re at the top, then there’s nowhere to go but down. A frightening prospect indeed, but it’s something that we all must face after we’ve had our brief moment to admire the view before reality kicks in.

When you’re still at the bottom, the only way to go is up, and I think that’s what gives many of us hope, even on our darkest days. So really, we should be treasuring those moments in our early days, because as tough as things might get, our origins give us roots to keep us grounded, creating a place that we can always go back to if ever we find ourselves in need of comfort.

What is your dream? I would love to hear all about what inspired it, and what you’ve gone through thus far to achieve it, because we all have our own story, and there is always a pair of ears somewhere waiting anxiously to hear it.

Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and until next time, keep on reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd    

Book Review: The Last Command by Timothy Zahn

 

“It is said that a picture can say a thousand words. Well, so can a thousand words. They are the keys by which we can unlock new and amazing worlds, some of which ascend beyond the imagination, and it all begins on the first page.” – BookNerd

“It is said that a picture can say a thousand words. Well, so can a thousand words. They are the keys by which we can unlock new and amazing worlds, some of which ascend beyond the imagination, and it all begins on the first page.”BookNerd

 

Greeting Fellow BookNerds,

I know that my last post was rather heavy, but in light of all of the horrible stuff that’s been happening recently,  I felt unyielding need to say something. Hopefully, amidst my chaotic ramblings, at least some of you were able to take something away from it.

Okay, let’s set aside the heavy stuff for now, and get back to something that, even in the worst of times, can still fill our hearts with joy: books!

I’m admittedly embarrassed at how long it has taken me to finally finish the Thrawn Trilogy, but the deed has been done, and I find myself very satisfied with how this particular storyline was tied up.

Star Wars The Last CommandStar Wars: The Last Command by Timothy Zahn

5-stars

The one thing that has remained consistently good throughout these three books is Zahn’s ability to capture the personas of our beloved characters through his mastery of the English language. It truly feels like this is where their lives would have gone had the original star wars movie saga continued.

To sum up what happens in this book without giving too much away, Master C’baoth, who is very clearly not in his right mind, is willing to use any means to get his hands on Leia and her two children, in the hopes of turning them to his side and training them how to use the force as a tool to control and conquer. This does not sit well with Luke, who first encountered C’baoth on Jomark in book two, and new almost right away that this was not a man he wanted anything to do with.

Mara Jade, who until now has been hell bent on striking down Luke with her Lightsaber, has become an unlikely ally. What’s more, we finally learn the truth behind her connection to the Emperor, who has remained a constant presence in her life since his demise. Han, as you can imagine, isn’t overly pleased with the idea of having her tag along, but he shares similar sentiments about Threepio, and he still manages to put up with our beloved droid. Besides, she’s their only hope in getting to Wayland, the source of a deadly weapon which, if allowed, could prove to be one of the greatest threats to the New Republic, possibly even the entire universe.

Leia senses danger on the horizon, involving her brother as usual, who will face off against his worst enemy… but who could that possibly be? Don’t worry, I won’t give away the answer, but I will say that it genuinely surprised me.

So, that’s the gist of it. I tried my best to avoid any spoilers for those of you who haven’t read it yet. As for my personal opinion on the book, for the most part I was pleased with its conclusion. I do feel like the final battle between **** and **** could have been a little more dramatic, but that’s just based on my own preferences. It just kind of felt like it started and ended rather abruptly, but I suppose you could say that it’s more realistic when done that way.

Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed the third installment of their journey. It includes all of our favourite characters, as well as a few new ones whom I have grown quite attached to, like the mischievous Karrde and Grand Admiral Thrawn who, despite being on the side of the imperials, is surprisingly likeable, not to mention very clever and witty. It’s just further proof of how great of a writer Zahn is, if he’s able to create a likeable villain.

One of my favourite aspects of the star wars universe is being introduced to new races and creatures from other planets. That was the only thing that kept me watching the newer star wars movies, despite their crappy dialogue and cheesy acting… well, that, and Ewan McGregor of course. They could not have chosen anyone better to take on the role of Obi – Wan Kenobi. One of my favourite creatures was the giant green one from the second movie that looked kind of like a praying mantis. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for creatures that are composed of various parts of other creatures… and I just realized now how strange that actually sounds. Doesn’t stop it from being true though.

Anywho, there aren’t a lot of new creatures in this series, but the ones they do have are fascinating, like the ysalamiri, who are surrounded by a kind of invisible bubble in which the force cannot be used. As you can imagine, this posses quite a few problems for every Jedi, regardless of which of the force they’re on. I would love to see a picture of what they look like. In my mind, I kind of imagine them to be something like a sloth, but I could be WAY off. As for new races, Luke and the gang end up working alongside the Noghri, a relationship which had a bit of a rocky start [you’ll find out when you read the series] but I guess that could be said about any relationship. I never was able to create a very clear picture of what these guys looked like, but I would love to hear what you guys were able to make of them. They’re a race of alien beings who, for most of the story, you’re never quite sure which side they’re on. In the third book, however, you find out the horrible things that the Empire had done to them, making their actions and attitude a lot more understandable.

I could go on for hours about all of the stuff I loved about this series, but I don’t want to risk spoiling anything for anyone. I’ll just finish by saying that it had a very satisfying ending, and the series overall was very true to the Star Wars we have all come to know and love. As always, I would love to hear what you guys have to say about it, so don’t be shy and leave your thoughts in the comments below or on my blogs Facebook page, and until next time, keep on reading :)

Cheers,

BookNerd

 

Let Fear Be Your Motivator, Not Your Excuse

“It is said that a picture can say a thousand words. Well, so can a thousand words. They are the keys by which we can unlock new and amazing worlds, some of which ascend beyond the imagination, and it all begins on the first page.” – BookNerd

“It is said that a picture can say a thousand words. Well, so can a thousand words. They are the keys by which we can unlock new and amazing worlds, some of which ascend beyond the imagination, and it all begins on the first page.”BookNerd

Greetings Fellow BookNerds,

It feels like a lifetime since my last post, even though it was just a couple weeks ago. I’ve been kept busy with my Nanowrimo story, which sadly I am very far behind on, but even if I don’t make it to the 50,000 word mark, at least I can proudly say that I devoted time to working on it every single day, and that’s a victory in and of itself. I was considering setting my blogging aside for the rest of the month to avoid too many distractions, but in light of recent events, I convinced myself that it was okay to devote some time to my followers and anyone else who may stumble upon my blog.

I have always wanted to travel, but due to money constraints and lack of time, I still have yet to set foot outside of Canada. Fortunately, living in Ottawa for five years has allowed me the opportunity to experience a worlds worth of cultures without having to leave the city, for which I am extremely grateful. Of course, I would still like to one day fulfill my dream of travelling the world, but sadly I have to admit that I am being rooted to the ground where I presently stand by fear, a fear which is slowly encroaching on us all.

Having grown up in a neighbourhood where you had to drive in pitch blackness at night because there were almost no streetlights to guide you along, where the neighbours dogs roamed free and you didn’t always know if they were friendly, where most nights you’re lulled to sleep by the sound of a pack of howling coyotes on the hunt just outside your house, and the house itself has aged to a point where it sounds like a haunted house, let’s just say that it takes quite a bit to get me quaking in my boots. In fact, it used to be that the only thing I was truly scared of was ventriloquist dummies, a fear which regrettably sticks with me to this day. I don’t know what exactly it is about them, but the very sight makes me want to dart behind the nearest rock. But I digress.

As we grow older, many of our childhood fears stay with us, but the way in which we perceive them changes. For example, our childhood fear of spiders was based purely on how they looked. I mean, eight hairy legs and a pair of fangs can be quite terrifying for someone who is still trying to figure out the difference between a circle and a square. As we get older, our curious minds seeking out information about every little thing, our fear of spiders then becomes a fear based on our knowledge of them and what these tiny arachnids are capable of. In other words, our fears never truly disappear, but simply evolve, sometimes to a point where we are no longer bothered by that fear.

The key point in all of that is knowledge. The more we understand something, the less we are controlled by our fear of it, and that can be applied to just about anything. I used to be terrified at the thought of driving a car, but that was only because I didn’t know how to. Once I practiced and got my license, I couldn’t believe that I had ever been scared of something so simple as driving! I felt the same way before starting my first year of university. All I knew about it going in was what my high school teachers had told me, which was essentially that no matter what, my grades were going to drop down from what I was used to getting, and what my friends who had been to university already told me,  which was more or less the same thing. But that thought alone made me terrified, and that’s because I was basing the next four years of my life on what little I knew about the whole experience, and the added fear of living on my own for the first time didn’t help either. Four years later, and I can say with confidence that university was one of the greatest adventures of my life, and part of the reason for that was because I didn’t let the fear of my preconceived notions get the better of me.

The same logic can be applied to people. I’ve always been a bit of a socially awkward individual, never quite getting a firm grasp on the norms of social interaction… in other words, I had difficulty making friends. Not an uncommon problem, I know, but the situation is different for every person. For me, I grew up in a very different environment from most of the people I met. It’s not easy to join discussions about current pop culture when you live out in the boonies where there are more farm animals than people, and your television only gets about 3 channels, maybe 4 on a good day. Don’t get me wrong, I love where I grew up, and I wouldn’t change that way of life for the world, but it did make things challenging for me at times, namely making friends. Oddly enough, things became a lot easier when I got into reading books. It finally had a common interest I could share, but not only that, they changed the way I saw the world.

It’s the power of knowledge. Whether fictional or not, books have a way of opening our eyes to things we didn’t even know were there, educating us through the experiences of others as they journey into the unknown. In books, the protagonist is put into situations where they have to face their fears in order to become stronger, whether it’s to help themselves or those they care about. My favourite part was when the hero rallied the people together to face off against a common enemy, so that they may conquer their fears as well and finally live in peace. Of course, stories are different than reality, but one thing they both have in common is that fear can be our greatest enemy, but also our greatest motivator.

So when I hear people lashing out at someone, not because of something they themselves did, but because of what others have done, I can’t help but feel a stab of pain in my heart knowing that those people have become victims of their own fear. When we let it, fear can manipulate us, twisting our thoughts into ugly, misshapen ideas capable of tugging on our emotions, making us feel a certain way about something that we never would have before. It’s a poison to the mind, and it can cripple us emotionally and physically if we give into it for too long. Worst of all, it can turn us into the kind of person we never wanted to be.

When I read the news story about a woman standing in line at a grocery store was afraid that a Muslim woman, who was standing in the same line as her, might try to harm her in some way, I wanted to cry. In the aftermath of what happened in Paris, I don’t blame people for being scared. We hear about horrible stuff like this happening on the news almost every day, but we never think that it can happen to us… until it finally does. We can’t always make sense of it, when our world is turned on its head so suddenly, and we instinctively want something or someone to put the blame on in our need to find meaning in it all. I’m not about to tell anyone to stop being angry, sad or scared, because that would be asking the impossible. However, the moment people use their fear as an excuse to push their hatred and anger on those who did nothing to deserve it, that’s where I draw the line.

Humanity has grown and changed so much, and to think that such archaic sentiments like racism, bigotry and prejudice still exist is disheartening, and fear is only going to make these feelings grow stronger in people. It’s the side effect of uncertainty, which is directly linked to a lack of knowledge and understanding. Of course, knowing more about something won’t necessarily extinguish our fear completely, but it can help us to better understand the root cause of our fear, instead of letting our fear control what we see and how we see it.

I would like to end this post by sending my love and best wishes to those who were affected by the attacks in Paris, and I hope that in the face of such uncertainty and devastation, that you are able to stand together and find hope amidst the fear. I hope that the video posted below will remind everyone that the actions of a few do not define a people as a whole, and that we must look beyond a person’s exterior to see what is truly in their hearts.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVUCMBuAQNs

BookNerd

Reading vs. Watching: What Exactly Are We Comparing?

“It is said that a picture can say a thousand words. Well, so can a thousand words. They are the keys by which we can unlock new and amazing worlds, some of which ascend beyond the imagination, and it all begins on the first page.” – BookNerd

It is said that a picture can say a thousand words. Well, so can a thousand words. They are the keys by which we can unlock new and amazing worlds, some of which ascend beyond the imagination, and it all begins on the first page.”BookNerd

Greeting Fellow BookNerds,

I often see people get themselves all worked up with excitement when they learn that one of their all time favourite books is going to be made into a movie – myself included, of course –  and just as often, I watch as those same people who went into the theatre with such high expectations, came out looking not unlike a cartoon character with a thundering cloud hanging over their heads, as the image of the story they had in their heads didn’t come out quite the way they hoped it would on the big screen.

It’s in our nature to compare things. After all, how else can we determine what is good, what is bad, what is better, what is worse. We do it to figure out what food we would rather eat, what clothes we would prefer to wear, and my personal favourite, what books are more worth our time reading than others. Just like anything else, however, making comparisons has its ups and its downs, based primarily on the context in which they are being made.

Harry Potter Books

When I first got into reading the harry potter books back in grade school, it felt as though my brain was giving birth to my imagination for the first time. I developed a deep attachment to the series, and when I found out that they were being made into films, I just knew I had to see every single one of them. Why, you ask? Well, the only thing better than reading a book for the first time is getting to experience it all over again, but in a very different way. Unlike books, movies cater to all of the senses; synchronizing music and moods to tug on our heartstrings, playing with colours and special effects to keep our eyes glued to the screen, creating masterful scripts that tell us so much, while at the same time saying so little, and fitting actors into the roles they were seemingly born to play. Such is the beauty of films, which differs greatly from the beauty many of us find in books.

Authors struggle tirelessly to create stories using their native language, which the readers can then create images from that are unique to their own interpretation of the words. No two people will perceive a story the exact same way, which is what makes reading such a personal, internalized experience. What’s more, most books are created by a single individual, making them solely responsible for creating the characters, the dialogue, the setting… basically, everything, unlike in movies where you have hundreds of people working to bring the story to life.

Another striking dissimilarity between the reading and movie viewing experience is that books are not designed to be enjoyed in a single sitting, whereas movies are. Unless you’re a ridiculously fast reader capable of zipping through seven hundred pages in less than an hour as if it was nothing, then it’s going to take you a few days to get to the end. This is especially true for those readers out there who, like me, need time to visualize what they have just read before they can continue… perhaps that’s just me :P

Group of boring people watching movie in cinema

Movies, on the other hand, are typically a two to three hour experience, and you can choose to enjoy them alone or with 200 other people crammed inside a dark room which smells of popcorn and is occasionally lit by a smart phone that someone just couldn’t bother to turn off for the sake of everyone who is sitting behind them. If movies were to be made any longer, the audience would get bored, feeling as though the story is being drawn out longer than necessary, not to mention the increasing soreness in our backside from sitting for such a long period of time. When you’re reading books, you can stop and start whenever you want, but with movies, we tend to want to sit down and watch it to the end before diverting our attention to anything else.

Now, we come to the unique scenario of book to movie adaptations. The thing with movies that are based on books is that they always seem to miss the mark. In other words, they fail to meet the expectations of everyone who see’s it, because as mentioned before, we all have a tendency to interpret the same book in very different ways, meaning we will all be going into the movie theatre with very different expectations. There is also the added pressure on directors and the crew to make the movie as true to the book as possible, but this isn’t always feasible, especially when dealing with a book which has managed to throw the laws of physics entirely out the window. But they do their best, and some of them have turned out rather brilliantly.

The Fault In Our Stars

My favourite book to movie adaption to date has been The Fault In Our Stars, a beautiful story about a girl with lung cancer finding love in the unlikeliest of places, and discovering that “some infinities are bigger than other infinities”. In my eyes, the movie was a brilliant interpretation of what I am certain will someday become a classic novel, but I am certain there are others out there who found it to be unbearable. Why? Well, I’m sure there are many reasons, but every time I hear someone start to rant about every little thing they changed in the movie, or how the actors they chose weren’t good enough, or how they could have done this or that to make it more believable, I just feel like telling them one thing: why are you comparing two things that weren’t meant to be compared?

The story might be the same, but the purpose and the means by which they are executed are just so different. It would be like comparing music videos to musicals. Just because they both have a music component to them, that doesn’t make them any more comparable. Now that I’ve had my say on the matter, I would love to hear what you guys think. Leave your thoughts in the comments below, or on my blogs facebook page, and until next time, keep on reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd