One of the things I love about reading is that it opens up to us the secrets of the rest of the world. Written down are all kinds of secrets, secrets of all the educational disciplines, stories, strange and true, weird and wonderful, biographies and autobiographies of people, their cultures and quirks.
The more I know about others, the more I learn about myself by identifying where I differ from others and where I am similar. It’s much easier to see in others what I find difficult to see in myself. It’s a good thing that reading is so personal and private. A lot of the things I learn are not things I want to broadcast to the world, especially not until I’ve had the chance to correct my direction. As a lifelong learner, there have been many such corrections I’ve had to make and every day I find more.
There is a lot that writers of different persuasions can learn from each other despite their differences. Books and movies both have advantages and disadvantages when we’re talking about story.
Starting with the most obvious, the time taken to watch a movie is (usually) much less than that necessary to read the book of the same story, and a movie gives the watcher more aural and visual information which a reader must imagine. The writer, on the other hand, has much more scope to insert information which it’s impossible to include in a commercial length movie.
Commercial considerations and the particular skills of writers, publishers, screenwriters, directors, actors and editors of each version will shape the final book and movie. Whether the book or the movie of a story is better often hangs on personal preference and those commercial decisions.
A writer of books will always need to read and analyse as many stories as possible to continue learning and keep up-to-date with their craft. However, analysing movies to study story is efficient and effective as anyone who has watched Casablanca over the course of a day with Robert McKee can attest.
I highly recommend Alexandra Sokoloff’s website Screenwriting Tricks for Authors to anyone wanting to learn more.
Yesterday I posted about the benefits of reading to a child. That got me thinking about reading for your own benefit. It started something like this:
- It’s fun
- Keep yourself entertained, reduce boredom
- Exercise and strengthen your brain
- Expose yourself to your endless possibilities
- Become a life-long learner
- Strengthen analytic skills
- Stress reduction
- Improve ability to focus and concentrate
- Widen your horizons with travel books
- Broaden your vocabulary
- Develop empathy by learning to understand others
- Never run out of things to think about
- Develop language and writing skills
- Find answers to all kinds of questions, even those you mightn’t think of otherwise
- Never run out of topics of conversation
- Reading hard copy books can help you sleep
- Reading onscreen can help keep you awake
- Encourage others to read by example
- Build understanding and comprehension skills
- Develop interest in a wide variety of topics making you more interesting to others
- Knowledge and understanding make you a valuable person in all areas of life
How many more can you think of?
It’s been too long since I was around little children. There’s great pleasure in sharing your love of words, story and books, especially with children. Some of the many benefits include:
- It’s fun
- Calm a child down, even put them to sleep
- Excite your own and the child’s imaginations
- Deepen your relationship
- Spend quality time together
- Open up subjects which might otherwise be difficult to discuss
- Develop physical and emotional closeness
- Make all kinds of strange noises with impunity
- Read wonderful, magical stories
- Develop your skill at reading aloud
- Exercise your brain and encourage the child to exercise theirs
- Learn about the world and things in it
- Teach necessary life lessons with subtlety
- Improve vocabulary and language skills
- Increase level of concentration
- Develop a love of story and reading
- Learn empathy for others
- Practice reading skills to perfection
- Readers learn to keep themselves amused, never bored
Haven’t you always wanted a secret room behind a bookcase? Or am I weird? I don’t think so. Well, slightly so, maybe. Oh, all right, yes, I’m weird and you’re wonderful. We have a strange and unique relationship.
It’s not that I think the Nazi’s are coming and I’m Anne Frank, though that’s another story. It’s not because I’m antisocial, though I can be at times and would love somewhere to hide away and read in peace and quiet. It’s not just because I love the smell of books, old books, new books, red books, blue books even though I do. It could be just because, plainly, there are not enough walls in my house for the bookcases I need to house my library of books.