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The Movie is Always Better Than the Book Because Reading Takes Too Much Energy

Eileen Barrett

A classic debate when in the company of people who think they are intellectual is whether or not a particular movie is better than the book it’s based on. Usually the consensus is that the book is better because it provides more thorough detail or allows for more creativity and individual interpretation. These arguments are fine if you’ve just joined a new book club full of judgemental southern women who you need to prove your intelligence to so they’ll fully accept you, but the reality is that we are all lying to ourselves and others when we say that we would rather be reading than watching a movie. 

As much as we like to believe that as a society we are productive and motivated and perseverant, a universal trait of humans is that we love, more than anything, to sit down in front of a screen and be provided with mindless entertainment without having to expend any energy whatsoever. Think about the lengths that we have to go to in order to be satisfied by a book. First, there is the challenge of actually finding a book that sounds appealing, which is no easy task when there are so many out there and just about every single one of them claims to have been #1 on the New York Times best seller list for several weeks in a row. Then there is the reading itself. The page-count of the average book is hefty enough that it is hard to even remember the beginning by the time the end is reached. Worse than that, though, are all the small inconveniences that occur while reading that coalesce to make reading one of the most tiring activities in existence; not once have I been pleased with the font size of a book, and by the time I get used to it I have finished the book and have to move on to a new one with a totally different and equally jarring font. Then, there is the constant issue of lighting. Every time I try to emulate an Instagram influencer by looking seductive while reading out in the sun, the light is so blinding that I can’t even see the words on the page. If it is too dark, my eyes become strained and I fear that premature blindness is setting in. Even in ideal lighting, there is always an irritating shadow on the page that can never be conquered no matter what awkward contortions I perform with my arms in my attempt to escape it. 

Compare all this to the simplicity of watching a movie, which only requires you to sit down, look straight ahead, and after about twenty minutes start scrolling through social media while wondering if it would be worth it to stand up and walk all the way to the fridge.

Reading a book might be more intellectually stimulating and ultimately fulfilling than watching a movie, but I guarantee that if television had existed in 1954, “Walden” would never have been written because Henry David Thoreau would’ve been too busy watching The Hunger Games to go hang out in the woods thinking for two years.


If you enjoyed today’s moot, consider donating to The Rainforest Alliance, Eileen’s charity of choice.

*For each moot, we generate a cover image using  DALL·E, an AI art platform that generates images using natural language processing. This image on the right was generated using the title, 'The Movie is Always Better Than the Book Because Reading Takes Too Much Energy' in the style of Andy Warhol, Eileen's artist of choice.*

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DALL·E 2022-09-18 21.54.48 - a painting of movie and a book by andy warhol.png

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