How and Why Do My Tastes in Books and Movies Differ?

“Dear friend, I’m writing to you because she said you listen and understand and didn’t try to sleep with that person at that party even though you could have.”

First line in The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

I’ve had this topic on my mind for a while now, and therefore naturally pondered how I could write a post about it. I’m talking about how I’ve noticed that I don’t like the same kinds of stories in book and movie format, at least not all the time. So I’ve been trying to figure out what the differences in my tastes are and why.

The most glaring difference, and the one that prompted this post, is fight scenes. In books, those are not my favorite thing because I have such a hard time visualizing them. Most often I’m just waiting for them to be over because I’m still very interested in the result of them. Looking at some of my favorite movies, though, half of those are Marvel superhero movies with a ton of fighting in them. And I love those movies so much, not only because of the fight scenes, of course, but I also love those scenes. Naturally, it must be because I don’t have to do any of the visualizing myself. The movie people have done that for me, so I don’t need to think, I only need to watch.

Staying with the Marvel movies, those are obviously based on comics. Do I want to read them? Nope. And I can’t exactly blame the visualization problem again here. Instead, I believe my disinterest in comics, in general, comes from my love of great writing in books. Beautiful, atmospheric writing is one of my favorite things, and experiencing it is partially why I love reading. Not to throw shade at comics, but they don’t exactly provide that kind of writing. That is not their purpose. However, I can then turn it around again and ask myself whether I love the movie equivalents of these well-written books. And just to be clear, I’m not talking about the movies based on books I’ve already read, but the kinds where the movie is my first experience with the story. In my mind, it would be something like Academy Award-nominated movies and movies like that. You know what I’m talking about. And even though I do watch some of those movies and can appreciate them for what they are, they’re never ones I rewatch or consider favorites of mine.
I have to acknowledge that part of the reason why can be that those movies aren’t Fantasy (yes, I love Fantasy in any format) because apparently, it’s basically impossible to make a critically acclaimed Fantasy movie. But still, I do also enjoy standard Literary Fiction books, so the movies shouldn’t need to be Fantasy. When I still don’t love those kinds of movies, I believe it’s because I need more stuff to happen when I’m watching a movie compared to when I’m reading a book. Otherwise, I get distracted, so watching something where people have 10-minutes long conversations is going to bore me, while in a book, that would be my favorite thing. Here on my blog, I’ve often talked about how my books don’t need to have any kind of plot, but I need movies to have a certain pace or I’ll start looking at my phone.

Other types of movies I love to watch include Romantic Comedies, and if you’ve followed my blog for a while, you might have noticed the absence of Romance novels. I do pick up a rom-com read once in a while but we’re talking one or two per year, so I wouldn’t call myself a major fan. However, when I’m with my female friends, rom-coms are the only thing we watch, and some *cough*The Proposal*cough* I’ve seen at least 30 times. Those stories just work better for me on a screen, and I think it could be because I don’t want to know the characters’ thoughts along the way. All the “oh I’m so in love” types of thoughts are so cringey to me that I can’t take it seriously. It also often becomes way too obvious that the character’s entire personality is “being in love” when you’re in their head all the time. Finally, I also think that my love for the darker and more depressing books plays a part here. Like, I can deal with fluff and even love it when I only have to submerge myself in it for an hour and a half by watching a movie, but not for the several days it would take me to finish a book.

Is there anything to conclude from all this? Well, I do find it funny that most of the movies I like can be categorized by that horrible term “guilty pleasures”. They’re pure entertainment for me and not something I want to think about too hard. Then you have my favorite books that I often love because they challenge me and/or teach me something. And I really think there’s an argument here about not judging people for liking something that is considered a “guilty pleasure”. Not everything we do needs to challenge us. It’s okay to have something in your life that will make you turn your brain off whether it be books, movies, or something else entirely. Whatever it is, it will not be the same for everyone. For me, it’s movies. It might be the main reason why my tastes in books and movies differ so much. I need something different from them. And there are still overlaps, of course. I still enjoy great characters in movies, and I don’t enjoy an action movie simply because of the action. I remember watching the movie John Wick and not liking it because that one was just violence for violence’s sake. But still, I do accept my movies to be more meaningless as long as they make me feel good.

That suddenly took a philosophical turn at the end there. But oh well, this was a bit of a personal post about my weird tastes, although I would love to know if anyone else has noticed differences in their taste when it comes to movies and books. I’m assuming it’s pretty common, but you tell me in the comments!

6 thoughts on “How and Why Do My Tastes in Books and Movies Differ?

  1. I’d never given this topic much thought before, so this was extremely interesting! Because now that you’ve said it, there are also some pretty obvious differences in my book and movie tastes!

    Concerning fight scenes, I’m actually the complete opposite 😂 I usually like reading them, because part of what makes them interesting for me is seeing what a character is planning in their head, how they’re sizing up their opponent, and how they then translate that into the fight. But in movies, when you just see people hacking away or punching each other without thinking, I couldn’t care less. Unless there’s blood involved. Then I suddenly care a lot, but not in a good way 😅 I don’t mind reading gory scenes, but when I watch them, everything starts to swim in front of me… I’m still absolutely traumatized from the time my sister made me watch The Medicus with her 😅

    I do agree with you on comics, though! I always miss the beautiful writing, and I don’t like that you can’t really read them “linearly” – I never know what order to look at things in a panel and when I’ve looked at it enough to have gathered the important details 🙈 Does that make sense? And when I have written words, what I picture is so much more vivid than looking at a comic strip! However, I do enjoy movies based on comics, and there are also cartoons I like, even though it’s basically the same art style 🤔

    Another thing I’ve noticed is that I usually don’t like books that have too many POV characters (the only exceptions I can think of right now are Cassandra Clare’s books and the Six of Crows duology). I always tend to like one or two of the characters way more than the others, which will make me lose interest during the chapters that aren’t narrated by my faves… But a ton of TV shows I absolutely adore have a huge cast of main characters, and I love it!

    Also, yes to the aesthetic writing that basically only covers characters talking to each other! I love that in written form! But give me a movie with fancy cinematography and no plot, and I’ll probably hate it 🤣

    Also, while I do read and enjoy romance every once in a while, it can in no way compete with the amount of rom-coms I watch 😅 So you’re definitely onto something here!

    Amazing post, Line – this one definitely deserved another monster comment 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Of course, you love fight scenes 😄 And your explanation of why makes sense. I do like a few fight scenes but it’s especially when to author remembers to tell me how the character feels along the way. You know I want to know about the suffering 😄 In movies I can always see it for myself, but of course some fights are better than others (Marvel ones are always good though). But yes, I can see how your aversion to blood would be a problem.

      I understand what you mean about comics, although my problem is the exact opposite. I almost treat it like a book so I read the text and turn the page. I forget that I have to look at the pictures, too 😅 Which makes it kind of redundant to read comics, let me tell you.

      And your point about POVs is really interesting! I also don’t like too many perspectives so I really hate that trend in Fantasy where you gotta have at least two. One (like in Farseer) is perfectly fine! And I actually don’t like too many perspectives in TV shows either, but I think I’m more accepting of it because I get that you can’t just follow one character around for that long. I have the same problem as you described with books where you’re bored when the focus isn’t on your favorite characters. I get that too with TV shows, so I still tend to love shows with smaller casts. Some of my favorites are Mr. Robot and New Girl with only about 4-5 main characters.

      Thank you for your monster comment (again) 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Of course, suffering is always good 😈😂 At least as long as we get some thinking as well!

        And I love your comic reading style 🤣 I always feel tempted to do that, but then get scared that I might not have seen enough of the pictures and start analyzing those… Which gets so distracting because I’m always consciously wondering when the right moment to switch to the next panel has come 😅

        Also, thanks for the TV show recommendations! I haven’t seen Mr. Robot or New Girl yet, so I might have to look into them 🤗 Maybe I’ll be lucky and there’s even a Russian version – I need a new show to practice my language skills with 😁

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s not a reading style I’d recommend for comics either 😂 It’s kind of hard to follow what’s going on actually, so I think your technique might be more correct.

        If you understand Mr. Robot in Russian I’m going to be immensely impressed! I barely understand it in English with Danish subtitles 😅 But it’s brilliant and I actually think you’d really like it.

        Liked by 1 person

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