I know, I know. The title of this post is a painfully obvious statement (at least for those of us who know the truth). But even with it’s seemingly obviousness, I felt a need to really explain what I mean when I say books are greater than reality. Let’s face it, we all have days when reality is just too much and we strive to find a way to escape it. Enter, books.
Everybody has something that enables them to escape this dark reality we live in; whether that is TV, movies, video games, yoga, walking the dog, or (yep, you guessed it)…Books! Each of these “reality-escapers” are great in and of themselves, and to each their own! I know that sometimes I just want to get lost in a video game where I can pretend to be caster and shoot lightning at my enemies (looking at you, World of Warcraft!), not to mention the amazing TV and TV-alternatives out there (twitch.tv, anyone?). And yet, even with all those options and all their wonderful, visually-stimulating sensory overloads, nothing quite compares to losing yourself in a good book.
But, why? What is it about books that not only makes them so much better than reality, but better even than all the other reality-escaping options out there? For me, it’s the complete immersion that a great author can induce – sending me into a new world with different rules, religion, creatures and characters. Yet, you might find yourself thinking, “but you can get that in a movie, just as easily, and it has PICTURES!” To which I would respond that movies show you what something looks like and it is someone else’s interpretation. Whereas with a book, you have the author describing their world in as much or as little detail as they can, but always allowing the reader to ultimately create the world in their imagination however they will. When I first read Harry Potter, the Hermione in my mind had a very distinct look based on J.K. Rowling’s description, but my Hermione might look very different from your Hermione, and both of them might be a million miles away from the Hermione in the movies (even though we all know Emma Watson was the perfect casting).
Books give us a way to leave this world and use the author’s descriptions to envision a new world. Written descriptions can only paint so much of a picture, and there will always be differences between each reader. And that is what makes books so incredible. Not to mention the possibility that your “vision” of a character may change and adapt according to the character’s experience. Hell, maybe you even put yourself into that character’s place and become them in a way that movies and TV cannot do.
But no matter how you choose to go about it, finding your own way to escape reality is so incredibly important, and I am just happy that there are people out there who are more creative than I am to provide that escape.
Thank you to all the authors out there giving me a way out!