One of many stereotypes for librarians is that we love to read, and I’d have to say in my experience, this particular stereotype is mostly true. I love to read, and I used to be a voracious reader—devouring book after book after book in rapid succession (my older daughter does this now—she is amazing). Unfortunately, spending two years in grad school reading dry textbook material, scholarly journals, and professional literature online in the form of blogs, etc., has left me lacking a strong desire to read for pleasure. I’m sure it will return in time. I hope so, because I miss it. But every time I try to get absorbed in a good book, I can’t seem to stay focused or get engaged enough to finish. The last book that captured my imagination and swept me away was The Help by Kathryn Stockett.
But I have always loved movies, too. And that has not changed except maybe to have increased in intensity. And I’m not talking movies on-demand or on DVD or streaming on my TV. I’m talking about watching movies the way they were meant to be watched—in a dark theater, on a big screen, surrounded by the sound and plunged right into the experience in a very visceral way. I call it The Great Escape. I can get lost in a bad movie as well as a good one, although I prefer the good ones, of course. The last really good movie I saw in the theater was The King’s Speech. That one would have put my husband to sleep (and it almost did when we watched it together, later, on DVD). But I can appreciate his kind of movies, too—who doesn’t love a good action thriller, especially on the big screen? I even love the big budget blockbusters that make up for what they lack in substance and character development with mind-blowing special effects. When my husband and my son get going on a Clint Eastwood marathon or the like, well, then yes, they lose me after the first couple of movies. That’s when I turn to my daughters (when they’re not away at school) for a chic-flick fix or a good character-driven drama. Now that I think about it, we are a family of movie lovers.
I’ve got movies on the brain because I have a need to go to a theater and see one. And that’s what I intend to do this weekend. And I can’t wait until August when the movie version of The Help comes to the big screen.
What about you? Books or movies? I don’t think I can choose. Both have their place and fill a need. And the thought of having neither is frightening. But if I was forced to choose, now, much to the chagrin of the librarian in me, I would have to choose movies. I suspect I will have a change of heart eventually and get back to enjoying a lazy afternoon reading a good, long, sprawling novel while drinking a nice, cold chardonnay. But for now, I will grab a seat in the dark and spend two hours in whatever world the screenwriter and producer/director has created for me. Books and movies can both be transformative. I think books stay with you a bit longer because you spend more time with them. But some movies are impossible to forget, too.
I’m glad there is no real need to choose. And you can find both for free at your local library, at least the small-screen version with regard to movies. But I still prefer the big-screen experience—waiting for the lights to dim, the projector to roll, and the escape to begin.