Thursday, January 26, 2012

The question this Oscar season is Have you read the book?

USA TODAY has an article out today with the headline

"It's movie awards season, and the trending question isn't "Have you seen the movie?" — it's "Have you
 read the book?"




THANKS USA TODAY! I couldn't have said it better myself.
Read the full article here
 
I love the fact that when a book is made into a movie - and does well - more people end up reading the book. Even when the movie isn't particularly faithful to the book!
 
I recently read somewhere that when asked how he felt about "Hollywood ruining his books", Raymond Chandler showed the interviewer into his study, and pointed to his books on a shelf. He said something like (I'm paraphrasing here because I'm too lazy to go and find the quote) 'There they are right there. They're not ruined.'
 
Actually, while that's witty, I think it makes an important, if obvious, point. Books and movies are two very different art forms. And while, we book lovers tend to feel very protective about what Hollywood does with our favorite books ... I do anyway ... we need to keep that difference in mind. And try to judge it in that light.
I'm trying to remember to ask myself how a film speaks to me as a work of art on its own terms. And to remember that the way a novelist puts his characters, their thoughts, that fetching description of the town, the back story, etc on paper is miles away from how a filmmaker shows his story on the screen.
And even if they royally screw it up - like they screwed up Hunter S. Thompson's The Rum Diary - it's the film they screwed up, not the book. Like Raymond Chandler said, the book is still there, on the shelf.
 
Even when that shelf is on your Nook or your Kindle!

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