My son bought me a Kindle for my birthday last May. I was really busy taking some online courses so I just didn’t get into it until after the summer. Then I purchased an Ipad. I have really enjoyed reading this year and I love the fact that I can virtually have any book I want within a matter of moments.
In school we are focused on improving reading scores for our students. There are many students who just don’t like to read. It doesn’t matter how many times I tell them, “The more you read, the more you know.” Some just don’t care or read at such a low level that they are frustrated. If you or your child is a frustrated reader, my advice is to work harder at finding something that is interesting for you or him/her to read. If you are reading for information, find things that you want to know. If you are reading for leisure, find a book that helps you create the “movie in your mind” of that book because then you can compare your version with the soon to come real version in the theaters!
I have made many comparisons this year and I have discovered that movies just cannot possibly beat reading the book! This year I read many series of books from “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” series to “The Hunger Games”, and even the Harry Potter series. Yes, I had never read the Harry Potter books! My sister Colleen, who passed away six years ago, loved Harry Potter. She even took her grandson to one of the midnight book extravaganzas when she was alive. Sadly, she didn’t live long enough to read the entire series. She had given me one of the books years ago and I had never read it because I knew I needed to read the first ones to understand it. I had only seen the original movie, so I didn’t have any real preconceived ideas about the books. I decided, as a tribute to my sister, I was going to read that series this year. I ended up buying a set of the movies and as I read the books, I eventually watched the movies. I discovered that most movies leave out a lot of details. If you are waiting for the movie to come out for any book, read the book first. If you only watch the movie you are getting one interpretation for the book and you are allowing yourself to be manipulated in your thought process. Movies can be, and are in fact, altered. In Harry Potter I was surprised when the loyal elf, Dobby, had some prime activities that he had done to help Harry usurped by Neville Longbottom. Maybe Neville’s agent wanted to give him a bigger part. I don’t know why movies veer off from the original book, but I prefer the book as it is what the author created when he/she wrote it.
In the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series I was able to watch the Swedish version of the books on Netflix. All three movies are there and like the American version there are some changes. The movie that I find most frustrating however was “The Hunger Games.” In the movie version I detested the crazy, shaky camera that ran over all the violent scenes of the movie and swiftly panned the opening scene of District 12 in such a way that anyone who didn’t read the book would never realize how desperate things were in all of the districts let alone District 12. In the book there is a real sense of how manipulated the people are by a government gone amok with controlling the masses through these “Hunger” games. The kids in the games were really reduced to animals, set on each other, and this was truly shown towards the end when Katniss saw Rue’s eyes in the genetic makeup of the wolf like dogs that attacked her and Peeta. This didn’t even come up in the movie and the Hollywood “interpretation” of the book missed a lot about what the Hunger Games really was about. It’s more like what’s happening today with the 99% and the 1% than some kind of clever reality game that people “want” to participate in so they can be set for life! NO one wants to be picked because the reality is your chances of living are slim and none. It’s like sending lambs to slaughter! Did I really get all of that from the movie….not a bit! The violence was smoothed over so Hollywood could make more money by not getting that dubious “R” rating. Shame on them!
A teacher friend suggested I read “The Help”. When I first started it I found the narrative to be quite demeaning to the black women in the book but I kept with it. I felt like it was a white woman writing how she thought a black woman would think and write. That was why I was turned off. In the end, I did enjoy the book but once again the movie is not quite the book! Surprise, surprise! After reading the book and watching the movie I knew that the author, Kathryn Stockett, was influenced or inspired by “To Kill a Mockingbird” and Harper Lee. This may seem strange, but I had never read the book, so I decided to get it on my Ipad and read it. Many years ago I watched the movie but I didn’t remember all of it as I was young.
To Kill a Mockingbird is by far one of the best, if not the best, book I have ever read. Reading the book through the eyes of Scout I was taken back to when I was a kid living in Kingston, Michigan. I remember running by spooky houses and stories about strange people that lived in the community. There were two old sisters that ran a candy store/restaurant. I was scared to death of them! I could imagine my brothers daring each other to run up to some old house and touch the door because some spooky person lived inside. Harper Lee captured all of those feelings and thoughts from a kid’s point of view in such a magical way that the true innocence and horror of prejudice can be seen in a light that is clear to all that read it. Even though there were changes to the movie, I believe the movie did capture the basic essence of the book. The book is better but Gregory Peck was stellar in his portrayal of Atticus Finch. In fact all of the actors were wonderful in the movie and I appreciate the black and white of the movie because that aspect really brings home for me the black and white issue of prejudice whether it be about skin color or idiosyncrasies that individuals have that make people pre-judge them. Many quotes from the book are in the movie so the movie was able to capture Scout and her viewpoint in a positive way.
I know I’ve rambled on a bit but I hope I have convinced anyone that bothers to make it to the end of my thought process to pick up a book and read. If you start with “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, I promise, you will not be disappointed.