• Amanda Schubert

Books, Movies and Monte Carlos

I got my hair cut last Friday.

"Big whoopie-doo," you cry, sipping your hot beverage and waiting for me to get to the point because the biscuits are getting stale.

This is always a big event for me (and my poor hairdresser) as I am practically a yeti. My hair is long and thick. Like, wearing-a-rug-on-my-head thick.

Just to keep the torture coming for the girls, I usually get it coloured, too. Not foils, like a nice person, no. Full colour. This means I am in the chair for three hours.

Three. Hours.

It has reached the point where new haridressers are warned about me. "Eat a big breakfast, luv - you ain't gonna get a break again anytime soon."

So, with me safely secured in the chair, rugged up in the plastic bib, and my hairdresser silently crying as she tries not to lose her hands in the woodland I call my mane, our attention naturally turns to chit-chat. We have three hours to kill, there's a lot of small-talk to get through.

This particular appointment led to a wildly in-depth discussion about books versus movies -

"WAIT!" you shriek, dropping your soggy Monte Carlo in your beverage. "You can't discuss this - it's too controversial!" You settle back against the Kmart throw cushions, ignoring the trembling in your hands as the Monte Carlo sinks to the bottom of your cup like a sugary Titanic.

Shh,'s okay. Here - have another bikkie.

Now, as I was saying, we were discussing books vs movies and how often there are strong opinions attached to both. But that's not what I'm writing about today. I like books. I like movies. There, that's covered that.

No, it was the discussion that followed that intruiged me the most and led to the creation of today's blog. It was about how different people process imagery and use imagination.

For example, I am the kind of person who learns best by reading information. Shock, surprise, incredulousness. If I get told I need to...bake a cake, for instance, I prefer to have a written recipe in front of me describing each step. I can picture the instructions in my head and can imagine what needs to be done without the use of pictures (most times). The same thing happens when I read a book; I can clearly imagine the scene in my mind and it helps me to immerse myself in the story. It is also how I write - I 'see' the scene in my head, hear the voices speaking, then write down what is happening.

My husband, however, is a visual person. For him to really understand something, he needs to be shown. Using the recipe example from above, while he can read the instructions well enough, things like YouTube tutorials are more his style. Actually watching someone cook is easier for him to process than reading the same sentence several times. He was the same at school, and the same in his work - show him once, and he'll remember. Get him to read it, it will take a lot longer to sink in.

But whether we read the recipe or watch it, we still end up with cake - everyone wins!

"Okay, that's great. But what does this have to do with books vs movies?" you mumble, frowning into your cup distractedly because you've finally discoverd the mushy remains of the Monte Carlo.

It got me thinking - does it really matter, in the end, whether people prefer the book or the movie? For those like me, who process things easily through reading, I love losing myself in a good book. Movies are enjoyable, but there's almost always a kind of dissonance between what I've imagined and what is portrayed on the screen. Does it make me dislike movies? No. I just tend to view the book story and the movie story as individuals with perhaps a few mutual aquaintances.

For those like my husband, who find reading a little more boring as they can't picture the scenes so vividly in their minds, movies are a godsend. They can watch the story unfold visually, and it makes it easier to understand and get absorbed in the world that's being created. My hairdresser placed herself in this category - she adores the Lord of The Rings movies. Loves them. Hobbits unite!

(Vale Ian Holm - Bilbo has set sail on his greatest adventure)

Has she read the books? No. Have I? Only several times. But we were both equally as passionate about the stories and both got all bug-eye excited when discussing the characters, the adventure, and the world of Middle-earth. In fact, we could have watched the entire Fellowship of the Ring movie in the time the poor girl was stuck wrestling my hair into submission. Perhaps I'll suggest we do that next time.

So, which is better - the books, or the movies?

Well, friends - that is entirely dependant on subjective experience. I love both for very different reasons. My hairdresser loves the movies because reading is not something she enjoys. At the end of the day, our love for the story is the same - we are fangirl crazy about it.

Isn't that what counts?

Now brush those crumbs off my couch. I'll see you for a cuppa and a chat next week., there won't be any more Monte Carlos.


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