Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Story So Far.............

I'm a modern kinda guy. Love new tech stuff and all that. Can't afford most of it, but love it all the same.

When ebooks came along, I embraced the idea. I could download and read books on my laptop.


Of course despite being pretty portable, it's not easy to curl up in bed with a laptop and mine got particularly cumbersome when its battery pack died and it became a mains powered device only ! Beds and cables do not mix well.

Then I got a smartphone and the Kindle app and suddenly I was in heaven. Well ok in bed actually where I do most of my reading but now with a much smaller hot throbbing device with me.

(You people make me sick !)

Anyway, as I'm tight and wanted only free books, I was mostly restricted to the classics. This turned out to be a good thing as I discovered I'd not actually read most of the classics I thought I had read. Seems I'd watched the movies but not read the books ! For shame.

And so, over the years, I've worked my way through Treasure Island, A Tale of Two Cities, Dracula, Great Expectations and so on. Brill......and there are plenty left to get through.

Now reading a book on a smartphone is all well and good but the screen is a tad on the small side. If I could afford a tablet, that would be better but of course they are bigger than books so why bother ? Well you get a bucket load of books on one tablet so that would be reason enough.

But I haven't got a tablet so the point is a moot one.

I love that word.





Moving on.

So last night I finished another classic on my smartphone and really didn't fancy starting another. I fancied a book. A proper paper book. I went looking on the shelves. Bookshelves.

I came upon a paperback version of The Hobbit and despite the cover being curled and the pages being more yellow than white, I took it to bed with me like a treasured friend.

Whoa. Dammit, that didn't come out right. Oh well.......

So after taking my pills (the only tablets I can afford) and lying on the bed so the ceiling fan could cool me down, I started reading this 1974 printing of The Hobbit.

Chapter 1

"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit."

I was hooked immediately but I have to admit, the image of Bilbo Baggins going into his des res hill house at the start of Lord of the Rings popped into my head. A bit different from a simple hole in the ground which is what I'd have been imagining if I'd never seen the movie.

So already the movie of the NEXT book was forming images in my mind and on it went. As the book in my hand described the layout of this 'hole' with all its twists and turns and furnished rooms, I was so there. So there in the movie version of the 'hole' that is. A very Hollywood hobbit 'hole'. Lovely wood everywhere, fitted kitchen, luxury fixtures and fittings - so much so that if you'd stopped off at the concession area for popcorn and a drink and arrived in the theatre after Bilbo had entered his 'hole', you'd have thought he was in a modern apartment in Manhattan !

This brings up the whole can of worms that first or book first ?

The only time this applied to me was with The Sum Of All Fears by Tom Clancy. I'd bought the book at an airport store for reading on a long flight and then saw the movie on tv some years later. That was enough to tell me never to do that again. Bits cut out, bits added, characters removed and new ones inserted.

No, for me its either/or.......but not both.

Hmmm if this blog post had a point, I seem to have forgotten it. Lost the plot, you might say.

Oh yes, paper books versus electronic books.

Well unlike with books versus movies based on those books, I'm coming down on the side of.......both.

Both have their place and obviously if you want to have reading material for a 6 month holiday you'll want an ebook device or risk a hernia and excess baggage charges with all those books.

But now and then there is nothing like reading the real thing. The smell alone is worth it. I'm not sure what Bilbo's 'hole' smells like (dammit again) but reading about it has come to life already in this well thumbed 1974 edition of the story. Slighty musty with a faint aroma of sweaty feet.

Well I did say I was lying on top of the bed so those were probably mine.

Now would that have happened with an iPad ? I think not.


Daphne said...

I think it's fine to read the book AND watch the film of most things - - as long as you don't do the two closely together, and as long as the book isn't too dear and too familiar to you. Otherwise you think things like "Oh no! They've cut that bit on page 43!" and it definitely distracts from your enjoyment.
My copy of The Hobbit dates from about 1974 too - it's probably twenty years since I last read it (sighh) and I'm looking forward to the film!

Jennyta said...

I agree with Daphne regarding reading the book and watching the film. As for e-readers, I have had two as presents but it's the Kindle I use, although I do alternate using that and reading real books, which I would never want to be without.

Jay at The Depp Effect said...

Oh, that was funny! Hahaha!

But yes, to be serious, books/film, Kindle/real books .. we do both here. I don't mind watching the movie providing it's not a book I really love, but I prefer to read the book first so that I can take the movie as a lightweight representation of same. Sometimes I've done it the other way round and that can work too - I saw Chocolat before reading the book, and still enjoyed the book, despite (or perhaps because of) imagining Johnny Depp in one of the roles.

But though we have 'pruned' our bookshelves since getting ebook readers, neither of us would ever get rid of real books altogether!

Milo said...

Recently bought a kindle and no looking back! Reading so much more now too. I know of others who do similar. Mix of free and paid for books. There are lots of offers on Amazon so I tend to pick up good books that way too.

Just finished A Clockwork Orange. Very powerful - albeit disturbing.

rhymeswithplague said...

I like to read the book first because I admire good writers so much, plus I like to form my own mental images of people and places and not have the Hollywood cast in my mind when partaking of the original. It also helps me to know very quickly whether the movie is any good or not based on how similar it is to the book.

One particularly atrocious film version was of John Grisham's The Firm, one mediocre film version was of Pat Conroy's Prince of Tides, and one absolutely stupendous film version was of Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird. IMHO, of course.

I have that very edition of The Hobbit, or did until I lent it last year to my grandson.

Silverback said...

I liked the The Firm as a movie, Bob, and have watched it many times. I've even added it to Daphne's rental dvd list ! Not sure about this new series spinoff but I'm about to watch the pilot episode now.

Daphne, you and Bob can't have this 1974 copy back !

I'm with you Jenny. A place for both in this world.

Milo, I think Kindle should develop a "heads up" display for bike helmets and then you could read a few paragraphs whilst at the traffic lights. Assuming you stop at them ;-)

Jay, here's one for you. A file of Depp photos on your Kindle or in a book ?

rhymeswithplague said...

What Mrs. RWP and I specifically disliked about the movie The Firm was twofold:

1. The chase in the book went all the way from Memphis to Florida; the people in the movie simply went all around Memphis.

2. John Grisham has been quoted as saying he wants to write books that his children and his grandmother can read. He never uses four-letter words. From about mid-point in the movie onward, the F-bomb was thrown around with impunity. Its unbridled use totally destroyed the film for us. So perhaps my problem with the film is the pandering to the lowest common denominator in society (I believe the word is dregs) by the screenwriters or the film-makers when it was totally unnecessary and completely gratuitous.

I know that America is more Puritanical (or at least it used to be) than the Mother Country when it comes to certain Anglo-Saxonisms in the language, but I was taught that frequent cursing indicates nothing so much as a poor vocabulary. (I never curse, but where I spit, grass never grows again.)

Anyway, I disagree with you about The Firm.

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