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On watching and reading

/ 3 min read

For many years, I had a rule: I couldn’t watch the movie until I had read the book first. I figured that the book would always be a better experience. Plus, one of the best parts of a book are the images that you create in your head, and I didn’t want those images to be influenced by the movie.

That worked great when I was younger and had all the time in the world. But as I have gotten older, I realized that the number of books, movies, and TV shows that I will watch over my remaining time here on this lovely planet is limited.

In addition, I’ve realized that the number of good movies, books, and TV shows is vastly larger than the number I could ever read or watch.

Who can decide?

Given that realization, I now just read the books I want to read and watch the movies and shows that I want to watch. I figure that if I read the book for a movie, there are plenty of other movies to watch, and if I watch a movie of a book, there are plenty of other books to read.

But sometimes I’m stymied. For instance, I can’t decide whether to go the book or movie route for Dune. And I’m guessing at some point I will both read the book and watch the movie.

And now, I find that often when I do read the book, I actually don’t want to watch the movie. For instance, I absolutely loved the book A Gentleman in Moscow. Beautiful, gorgeous, wonderful book. But I have no desire to watch the TV show that has come out. I don’t want to see how they have interpreted the book, and I don’t want to see the characters as they have been cast. I have my own images in my head, and I don’t want to see them changed. The same is true for A Man Called Ove and the Tom Hanks film. I’m sure it’s a great production, but I don’t want the images in my head altered or ruined.

But on the other hand, I loved The Martian and was anxious to see the movie and how they interpreted the book. (I enjoyed the movie as well.) I’m guessing the same will be the case for his latest book, Project Hail Mary if that ever gets produced..

But in any event, there is an endless supply of things to read and watch, so I’m not worried about running out of either. Glorious, isn’t it?