Books vs Movies

02023-01-01 | Book, Movies, Music | 3 comments

Here is the moment where novelist Mohsin Hamid eloquently speaks about the difference between books and movies – from the podcast Always Take Notes. I have compared instrumental music to books and songs to movies, in the past, and love the way Hamid describes books and movies here.

This is from 2014:

What I love about instrumental music is that, without the words, you can find you in it, not just me.
Instrumental Music | Ottmar Liebert


  1. Jane Parham

    We are one.

  2. Steve

    Maybe its a consequence of age or perhaps changing movie market expectations, but lately I have found very few movies to be attention engaging. That sounds snobby but what I mean is given a good movie, with an engaging story line which is well acted, and with great cinematography I find a kind of … “time dilation” takes place: an effect of, “oh, wow … that was two hours? dang. I just sat down…”

    Most of the time, I end up stopping movies part-way and go do something else, and perhaps come back to it. My Netflix “Resume Playing” queue is something like 20 deep. I wish I knew how to clear that, but I have found none. None of those will ever be resumed.

    Most books I read give me the time dilation effect, but it’s quite rare that a “recent”[1] movie will. And I completely agree that instrumental music is analogous to a book. You can completely lose yourself it it with your own imagination. _The Overstory_ by Richard Powers was one that I sat down to read on a summer evening and didn’t put down until something like 4am the next morning. Now that is time dilation.

    [1] Past 10-15 years.

    • ottmar

      For years one of my methods for judging a movie was at which point I would check my watch. Looking at the watch was involuntary but it triggered the recognition that something about the film lost me for a moment and I would make note of the time. Watching for 60 minutes was pretty great. Making it through the entire movie without checking my watch didn’t happen often but did occur.

      Has Netflix been getting worse? I often find myself watching Kanopy instead.

      The Overstory is such a great book!!


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