The Never-Ending Debate of Books vs Movies.

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It was a peaceful Saturday sit-in yesterday for my husband and I. We kicked off the day with some music from the 80s on YouTube and ended with The Bodyguard starring Kevin Costner as the titular character and Whitney Houston as singer-actress Rachel Marron, the client whom Costner’s character was paid to protect.

After the movie (which we watched for free on Yes Movies), I remembered that I wanted to watch The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel as well. Actually, I was supposed to watch that movie immediately after reading the book. But I completely forgot all about it and to be honest, if I did watch it now, I wouldn’t remember the storyline much as I had finished the book last year. But still, it wouldn’t hurt to watch it anyway.

So I did.

But I stopped halfway through the movie.

Because I realised that the movie had not followed much of the book at all! Granted most movies don’t actually follow the book word for word, but there were no proper transitions at all between each scene and the early parts of the movie had not properly explained who each character was and why they had decided to go to India. Whereas in the book, there were chapters that were dedicated to describing each character and his or her purpose in the story.

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Which brings us to this never-ending debate of whether books are still better than movies or vice versa. Of course, it depends on whose side you’re on and what sort of person you are. If you’re like me, an avid reader who swears by the novels she reads and doesn’t let e-books get in the way of your paperback relationship, then books will always triumph over movies. If you’re hardly a reader and prefers to have comic books as your bed-side choice, then movies will be your source of joy and happiness.

It is undeniable that a book always takes the cake over its movie version. Movies will never ever replace the power of imagination that a book has for you through its pages. With books, you can close your eyes and pretend that you’re arm-wrestling with cowboys on the moon with Spongebob Squarepants and Patrick Star on Robot Pirate Island. You can already hear the mechanical sounds in your ears. That’s what imagination does to you and to think that Spongebob and Patrick didn’t even need a book!

But wait, let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. Not all movie adaptations are evil. Some are pretty good even if it meant that they had to be clipped to fit the standard duration. The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Harry Potter franchise and the Chronicles of Narnia were pretty decent movie adaptations.

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Movies can do a lot of things, like making us see a lot of things. They can bring whole new worlds to life before our eyes and turn characters into living and breathing bodies. Movies leave us on the edge of our seats as nail-biting battle scenes are being fought in front of us, or leave us heartbroken and in tears over a death, or smiling with joy at a birth of a newborn child.

Books require complete silence and are a pure, undiluted form of escape, there’s nothing like sitting in a cinema with only the lights streaming from the big screen in front of you, devoid of any other distraction (save for the errant ping of an ignorant cinema-goer) and your attention is paid only on the story playing on the screen.

Movies are amazing creations but they don’t have the same kind of magic that books have. With movies, you’re merely an observer. You don’t feel the emotions that the character feels; you aren’t reading every single one of their innermost thoughts, their doubts, fears and hopes. Movies also have the bad habit of leaving us with this thought, “That’s not how I pictured it to be!” Just like the movie that I watched last night. The book and the movie did not match at all, with what seemed like missing key characters or characters thrown into the mix just for the sake of being there. It’s kind of like fluff-writing where you add in unnecessary items just to plump up the plot and make it seem longer.

But with books, you feel everything, you know everything and you live everything! You can be the saviour of the world; you can be the girl who battles a life-changing disease; you can be a demigod, an alien, an angel, a god, a villain or a hero. You can be anything and everything. There are no limits to who you want to be. There is no limited storytelling time with books compared to movies. Movies have to be condensed to the point of removing or deleting parts which also leads to what I call as mis-transitions. Changes of scenes that have no rhyme or reason of being there. That’s because movies have to be done and over with within a maximum of 3 hours. Any longer and your cinema-goers might just nod off in their seats.

Books don’t need the power of visuals to allow readers to put the story together with the elements in their minds. The stories that you read in books will stay with you forever. Just like music and vinyl, and writing and books. Movies don’t have much to offer except for the scenes that you have seen with your eyes.

That is why books for me will always be better. When you read a book, nothing else exists around you and you can be that whole other person in a completely new and amazing world. You can be someone else, live that person’s life, be free of your own troubles, even if it’s only for a few hundred pages. Books are the medicine for your mind, the magic for your imagination. Which is why I stopped halfway through The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel movie and preferred to maintain the pristine image of the story in my head since I’ve read the book. Which is why for me, movies may be great but books will always be greater.

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Book Review: Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie.

two-years-eight-months-and-twenty-eight-nights-by-salman-rushdieIt didn’t take me too long to finish reading this strange and whimsical book here but while reading it, it did feel like it took me forever. Not sure if it was a psychological issue since the title itself is all about time.

Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by bestselling author, Salman Rushdie, is about the unique relationship between a female jinn, Dunia, and a human male, a philosopher by the name of Ibn Rushd, which spanned centuries, and the brood they created came into existence with a special soul. They were as normal as you and me, holding down a job, gardening, owning a home and driving a car. They were as normal as the other human beings in the story. The only difference was their inner possession of a super power and the levitation that caused an uproar among their own kind. The book wasn’t all about Dunia and Ibn Rushd, though. It was also about the rest of the jinns and jinnias in the fairy world.

I was amazed that my phone dictionary even has the word ‘strangenesses‘ that was used to describe the situation that the children of Dunia and Ibn Rushd were in. It was a well and truly whimsical story, something like that of the BFG. Although to some extent, if one did believe that the jinns and jinnias did exist, then they story isn’t so much of a whimsical one anymore. It could possibly be just as real as you and me.

Below is the summary of the book from Goodreads:

From Salman Rushdie, one of the great writers of our time, comes a spellbinding work of fiction that blends history, mythology, and a timeless love story. A lush, richly layered novel in which our world has been plunged into an age of unreason, Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights is a breathtaking achievement and an enduring testament to the power of storytelling.

In the near future, after a storm strikes New York City, the strangenesses begin. A down-to-earth gardener finds that his feet no longer touch the ground. A graphic novelist awakens in his bedroom to a mysterious entity that resembles his own sub-Stan Lee creation. Abandoned at the mayor’s office, a baby identifies corruption with her mere presence, marking the guilty with blemishes and boils. A seductive gold digger is soon tapped to combat forces beyond imagining.

Unbeknownst to them, they are all descended from the whimsical, capricious, wanton creatures known as the jinn, who live in a world separated from ours by a veil. Centuries ago, Dunia, a princess of the jinn, fell in love with a mortal man of reason. Together they produced an astonishing number of children, unaware of their fantastical powers, who spread across generations in the human world.

Once the line between worlds is breached on a grand scale, Dunia’s children and others will play a role in an epic war between light and dark spanning a thousand and one nights – or two years, eight months, and twenty-eight nights. It is a time of enormous upheaval, in which beliefs are challenged, words act like poison, silence is a disease, and a noise may contain a hidden curse.

Inspired by the traditional ‘wonder tales’ of the East, Salman Rushdie’s novel is a masterpiece about the age-old conflicts that remain in today’s world. Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights is satirical and bawdy, full of cunning and folly, rivalries and betrayals, kismet and karma, rapture and redemption.

Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights reminded me, as well, of something out of M. Night Shyamalan’s work. Shyamalan is an Indian-American film director, producer, screenwriter, and occasional actor who is known for making movies with contemporary supernatural plots. Except that this work of art by Salman Rushdie is in a book and not a movie. I wonder what it would be like if this book was turned into a movie though. Maybe Shyamalan should take the reins for this.

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There were a lot of strange supernatural and mythical shit going around in my head, it was hard to believe that it was only a book and that I wasn’t going mad. When I reached the part of the book where the author had begun explaining the relationships between Dunia and her other jinn playmates, the great and fiery Zumurrud Shah, the polar ice sorcerer Zabardast, the master of soul possession Shining Ruby, and Ra’im Blood Drinker, I kind of did a brief Google search on Zumurrud Shah, and lo and behold, he seemed to be a real thing, a Middle Eastern version of the devil Lucifer. I thought Zabardast seemed like a suitable name for a magician which I had plans on building in the Priston Tale game.

When I got to the next part of the book on the War of the Worlds between the good jinn and the dark jinn, again, it reminded be of something else. This time, it took on similarities of the battles fought between Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort as well as between Gandalf and the evil forces of Mordor. It was a way of saying that darkness can be defeated by light. It was as simple as saying that if you’re afraid of the dark, just switch on the lights in your home and voila, darkness be gone!

The action only began somewhat closer to the end of the book, in the final chapter before the epilogue when Dunia re-emerged as her true self, the princess of Peristan (fairy world) now Queen after her father was killed by one of the dark jinn, to avenge her father’s death by killing the four dark jinn. Dunia did not fight the war on her own, of course. She had the assistance of her strangely mismatched team made mostly of her children from her womb: Jimmy Kapoor aka Natraj Hero, Geronimo Manezes, and Teresa Saca Cuartos. With this chapter coming to an end, I myself knew that I would soon be arriving at the end of my magical and supernatural journey as well. From the early chapters when Dunia first presented herself to Ibn Rushd and gave birth to so many children who bore the mark of the jinn deep within their inner selves.

As I turned the last page, I heaved a sigh of relief. It was over. It was a heavy burden to carry, having read a book of so many possibilities and truths. There were so much magic, spellbinding. It was also a fairly difficult book to read, particularly because of the many long paragraphs and way too many commas in each long sentence. Otherwise, it was a great piece of work that drew you in from the moment you started reading. It left me yearning for more every time I finished reading a chapter, desperately wanting to know what will happen in the next chapter and so forth.

Now, I’ll be reading The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain, and I’ll be back next time with a review of it.