You know I’m something of a book addict. My mother actually calls it that, says it’s my addiction. I say, at least I’m not a crackhead. But you know what else I’m addicted to? Television. Yes, that’s right, the girl who wants to read 365 books in a year has also got her DVR set to record eleven different television shows every week, and those are just the regular prime-time series. There are also reruns and marathons and the occasional movie and other things. (And, as you can imagine, the writers’ strike is rather distressing to me!).
My mother made a comment the other day. She said, “I’m really surprised that someone who loves books as much as you do is also so addicted to TV!”
I’m not. Honestly, to me, they’re not so different. No matter how much people say that TV rots your brain and books make you smarter…I don’t see it that way. I guess it all depends how you watch TV; brainlessly staring at Road Runner cartoons for six hours on a Saturday like my brother does may not be doing so much for his brain. But following actual stories? To me, it’s a lot like reading. You’re following a story, you’re learning from what the characters go through (both in terms of learning a lesson and just learning background-information facts). If you’re me, you’re critiquing both the story and the way the piece itself was done (costumes, acting, cinematography), you’re speculating about what would happen next, and if your brain doesn’t feel busy enough you create new episodes in your head, change events and see how the outcome would change, move characters from different shows around and see how they’d react, how their presence would change the show, even put book characters in the TV (including characters from my own writing)…Okay, maybe I have a more active imagination than most people. Or so I’m told. The point is, TV isn’t a passive experience for me, anymore than books are. In fact I might even think more sometimes, because on TV I’m considering the set, the acting, the soundtrack, the costumes, etc., along with the story itself and its value. In a book, I’m mostly considering the value of the story. Neither one is passive!
One could argue that book stories are better because you’re learning vocabulary and grammar and everything. And, yes, I think that’s important and I’m not saying one should exclusively watch television and not read books. But who says you can’t do both? TV has value, too, it just doesn’t lie in better writing skills. Well, I should say it doesn’t lie in becoming more proficient in the mechanics of writing. But you do learn about how to construct a story, I think. And how stories differ when you’re putting them in the pages of a book and several seasons of a television show!
But they’re both stories. And while I do love words, what I really love are good stories. In that regard, TV and books aren’t so different!
*Yeah, that’s my second ramble of the day, but I’ll be back to posting some reviews (back to your regularly scheduled programming) soon. *