When I was younger I used to read many books. So many that I would get lost in them. I was reading everything, depending on my age; from colorful comics, to Ivanhoe by Walter Scott, to almost everything written by Jules Verne, to Alexandre Dumas and the count of Monte Cristo, to some Robin Hood, to Victor Hugo and Les Miserables, to John Steinbeck and The Grapes of Wrath, to Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes.
Of course the Greeks that were considered classics for my generation: Stratis Mirivilis, Alexandros Papadiamantis, and (again) almost everything written by Nikos Kazantzakis.
I still remember my mother chasing me, and me hiding these books inside the covers of the school books; something that did not really help my grades so much…
Actually, one of the happiest periods of my professional life was when I was working as a typesetter for a publishing house; having the opportunity to ‘read’ (actually type) a book as it developed was so wonderful!
During the last 10 - 15 years I find myself reading less and less. I only read a couple of books per year instead of a couple of books per month, and I get more and more resistant in starting a new book. But I do spend time watching movies (another one of my passions), and lately, series. Binge watching like crazy.
After some ‘self-loathing’ time, related to my waste of time in movies and series instead of spending quality time with books, I decided to sit down and have a discussion with myself.
The reason I was a bookworm is that I enjoyed getting lost in a story. A good story can keep me there, and although I have read almost all genres, I find myself liking more the novels. A good novel builds up a story, develops the characters and the scenery, introduces plots and relationships. But so does a movie too. And a movie is faster, the story develops more quickly. A scenery that needs a couple of pages to be depicted in a book is always there, visible in a movie. A man’s physical appearance, limbs and colors, that is developed through pages and -masterful- wording, is just shown in the screen. And this helps the viewer get faster in the mood, in the story. Get absorbed in the story-line, yet still appreciate the visual elements of it.
Overall now I find that a series or a movie can have significant advantages (and significant disadvantages at the same time) over a book. And since I don’t have so much time any more as I used to have as a kid, but I still want to get lost in a good story, I have switched my interests from book reading to movie and series watching. And as I have read some masterpieces, I have watched wonderful movies. There should be no surprise that I (have started to) watch some stupid b-movies, but I have also (started to) read some really really crappy books!
I’m more content after I had this discussion with myself; at the same time I decided to not judge my kids any more for watching TV instead of reading a book (depending on what they watch and what they read of course), as long as they do both. That way they develop different ways to experience life, a good story and a so-much wanted fiction.