I’m not much of a reader. I mean, I love to read, but I don’t do it nearly as much as I’d like to, or even as much as I should. This year, though, I’ve read a fair number of books, at least for me. Weirdly, though, my book-reading often intersects with my movie-watching, and sometimes my TV-watching. It’s usually the movies that inspire me to read.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s like this. There are just so many books out there, and so many are considered great, and so many are considered classics; it’s difficult to know which books to read at any moment in time. That’s why inspiration is important. A little nudging. Sometimes it’s the nudging from a friend, or a teacher, or an employee at a bookstore. Sometimes you’re looking to your idols, trying to soak in the same books that influenced them. For me, it’s usually something to do with movies.
This year I’ve read the following:
- Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell
- Blood Meridian
- Easy Riders, Raging Bulls
- The Good, the Bad and the Multiplex
- It’s Only a Movie
- The Sisters Brothers
- A Game of Thrones
- The Great Gatsby
That’s a lot of books for me. Currently I’m in the middle of reading the second book in the Song of Ice and Fire series, A Clash of Kings. I’ve taken a break from that book, though, to read David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. Except for two of these books, I can tie everything I’ve been reading to movies or TV.
The exceptions are Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell and Frankenstein. Except that even in the case of Frankenstein, I read it because I was really into the filmed stage play that director Danny Boyle put on and which I saw in a movie theatre. Of the others, three are non-fiction books about movies. Two have been adapted into a TV series I’m currently watching. One has been perpetually in development hell for a potential film, one has been adapted before but is being adapted once again, two were written by a working screenwriter, and one of those bears a striking resemblance to Charles Portis’ True Grit, which has twice been adapted to the screen.
I can’t help myself. When I look to the world of books, I need something to go off. Film is my reference point. It’s my muse. I’m reading Cloud Atlas, partly because I hear it’s good, but largely because I just saw the incredible 6-minute trailer for the film adaptation by Tom Tykwer and the Wachowskis. In fact, go ahead and watch the trailer if you haven’t already. It’ll probably make you want to pick up the book, too:
How do you choose what books to read? Do movies play as big a role in your selections as they do in mine? Let me know in the comments.