Have you ever wondered why some friends are more interesting on social media than in real life? They may be trying to say or express exactly the same thing but it sounds a lot more interesting and funnier when they text it on Whatsapp or tweet it than a face-to-face conversation? Well, the same goes for books and films
Written words convey something motion picture never can. They possess the unmatchable gift of being able to create a picture in a person’s mind without having to physically paint it for them. This makes the experience unique to each reader though they are reading the same book. Books stir up your thinking, opening your mind’s eye to see beyond your known world.
Try as actors might, they will never be able to harness the emotions, the complex twists and bends of the human character the way a writer can. Take Half of a Yellow Sun, for example. Though Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton give great performances, the movie falls drastically short of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s brilliantly candid depiction of the love, hurt and the brutality of the Biafran War.
I watched Love in the Time of Cholera before I read it – and I deeply regret not finding the book first. It’s a great film but the book is so much richer. The thing about films is that they give 90-minute or so summaries of stories. How can someone possibly do justice to human emotions in one and a half hours? Surely, you’d have to tear out so much from the plot. Even the iconic scenes and quotes from the book that made it to the big screen don’t feel the same. “Very well, I will marry you if you promise not to make me eat eggplant” is a lot more hilarious and feeling when read. Seriously now, try saying it out loud. You see? It’s not as magical.
I love films but they can never match the superiority of books. Don’t just watch it, read it.
I am on a mission to get Nigerians reading books again. If I can get just one person to fall in love with the written word, I would be ecstatic. Look out for blog posts with the tagline, #ALiteraryRevival, and spread the word!