How many times have you left a movie theater and said to your friends, “The book was better?” You can spend hours upon hours getting attached to characters and story lines while you read, only to have your favorite aspects of a story changed or removed entirely when the book hits the big screen. If you don’t read the book ahead of time, you miss out on a much deeper level of involvement.
Nicholas Carr talks a great deal about the effect the web has had on books, both through the distribution of ebooks and the decreased attention spans humans are developing due to web use. I wonder though if the more serious threat to readers is the constant creation of film adaptations. If the movie comes out next month, why bother reading it now?
According to the New York Times (2012), reading narrative text evokes strong neural reactions that trigger the parts of the brain associated with all five senses. Written description leaves more room for the brain to work creatively, as it attempts to construct for itself the the world being described on the page. But as Carr says, our attention spans are getting shorter, which could be what makes film adaptations more palatable. On that same note, it seems as though authors, especially those in the young adult fiction genre, are writing books with the big screen in mind. What does this mean for literary content in the future?