You know what we don’t hear enough of these days? Other people’s opinions. In order to rectify that, here are some of mine:
Sometimes the film actually is better
I thought I’d start on a nice controversial one to get the ball rolling! I agree that 99% of the time the book is better than the film — they’re usually more nuanced and allow more time for characters to develop. But every so often, a movie comes along that is the exception to the rule. For me, some of those films include The Godfather (if for nothing else, than for dropping the terrible bridesmaid subplot), The Green Mile (come to think of it, I could have made this list up of Stephen King adaptations alone — The Shining, The Shawshank Redemption, Stand By Me...all great books/short stories, but the films just tighten things up), Jurassic Park (Goldblum + really great animatronic dinos = enough said), and The Silence of the Lambs (again, still enjoyed the book but the movie is such a classic.)
It’s OK to dogear your books
I’ve written about this one before but it bears repeating. By all means, take care of your books if that makes you happy, but just know that some of us actively enjoy being monsters. Dog ears, underlines, cracked spines — all are fine by me and don’t impact my enjoyment of a story in the slightest.
Happy ever after is overrated…
…Sometimes. Listen, I enjoy an appropriate HEA as much as anyone else, but what really gets me is when they are shoehorned into stories they have no business being in. If the main character has been put through the wringer, I don’t really want to spend the final chapter finding out that it’s all good because at least they’ve married their childhood sweetheart. Give me a bittersweet ending, a happy-ish ever after, an I’m-not-OK-but-I’m-fine ever after.
One book that did this really well, in my opinion, was Stephen King’s 11/22/63 (I just bashed King above, so I feel I owe him). Spoilers in the next paragraph!
When Jake Epping successfully travels back in time and foils the JFK assassination only to totally mess up the current timeline, he gives up his shot at happiness with Sadie, the love of his life, to undo it all. When he returns to the present, he finds her again — now an old woman — and they dance together one last time. (Even writing that brings a tear to my eye!)It wasn’t a totally happy ending because his actions had consequences, but it was sweet and satisfying.
It’s OK to get rid of books
For the longest time, I believed that it was sacrilege to get rid of books. If you bought it you’re stuck with it( even if you didn’t even like the book all that much). Getting rid of most of my worldly possessions last year to go travelling around Canada by car finally cured me of that problem once and for all. While it’s lovely to be surrounded by books, you don’t need to hold on to every last one. It’s OK to give them away to friends, drop them into Little Free Libraries, or even sell them to a used book store for credit.
These days I have three criteria for whether or not I’ll hold onto a book:
- Is it a book that I’ll potentially reread in future? (The Lord of the Rings, the Harry Potter series, His Dark Materials, The Graveyard Book…just a few books I turn to time and again when I need comfort.)
- Is it a book I want to lend out to multiple people? (Books like Fingersmith by Sarah Waters which I know most of my friends and family would like.)
- Does it just bring me joy? (Hardcover editions of Grimm’s and Anderson’s fairy tales, a book of fairy illustrations written in French so I can’t actually understand a single word of it but just love to flick through every now and again).
If it doesn’t fall into one of these three camps then it’s out.
Maybe this will change in future should I ever actually live somewhere with, you know, actual space for lots of books. But for now, I’m happy to keep my bookshelf relatively lean.
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Do you agree with me or do you think I’m an uncultured cretin? What are some of your unpopular bookish opinions?