Today is officially the start of July for me. I was busy tying up loose ends in the past two days and figuring out how to leap into the void. Luckily for me, an opportunity found me right around the corner so maybe the next two months will not be spent dusting crumbs off the couch day in and day out. I found some relief in the fact that my Saturdays are free again, but everything else stays exactly the same. My next project will be different, it will be interesting no doubt but I guess more in the field of what I am used to doing.
I think things lined up quite well for me as I went out to purchase a pair of spectacles. I went for something very different from what I am wearing or have worn. It’s a symbol in ways of change, a makeover of sorts. I love when I have physical manifestations of change, it makes it easier for me to transition. I picked up a book to read today and managed to finish three chapters. The last time I read this year was purely for academic purposes and that was over a month ago. But, I surprised myself by picking up a work of fiction. My shelves are covered in books, to the point that I have run out of space.
I have been putting off reading telling myself that I wasn’t in the mood. Today I was, I don’t know why. You know, when I turned 19 my taste in books changed, I wanted to read more philosophy and books that analysed the State and its limits. I had begun to think fiction had run out of creativity, the age of fiction came to an end with my dismissal of it. This is why growing up is terrible. When I look at some of the fiction I read, now it seems childish, but my appreciation for it was paramount when I was in my teens. My taste changed, and so did my vocabulary which meant authors had to try much harder to impress me. Plot wasn’t a compromise anymore and neither were facts.
Our tolerance for magic wanes as we age. My appreciation for werewolves, vampires, fairies, angels, demons, and monsters is practically nonexistent now. I see flickers of that appreciation when I watch reruns of anime but that’s about it. I only know I have changed when I find myself standing in the classics and non-fiction sections of a bookshop, as opposed to sixteen-year-old me, who would be found smiling up at spines of fat books in the fantasy and the young adult section. I never understood what a young adult actually is. Also, why do all romantic novels automatically find themselves in the young adult section? Except of course the more explicit novels. It’s beyond me.
I remember young adult books that became a phenomenon. I also remember the stamp of “young adult” was assigned to a book on the basis of whether it was going to be picked up by a production house to be made into a movie. The only movie series that ever nearly did justice to the books was, ‘The Lord of the Rings‘ trilogy. Some movies were crimes that actually brought bad rep for the books. Eventually, after Harry Potter, books like Percy Jackson, The Fault in Our Stars, and others got picked up as scripts. Authors were then found writing “movie-worthy” books abandoning the craft of writing for over-simplified characters and cliches. Although if anybody remembers Percy Jackson they will cringe, if you don’t you’ve either not seen the movie or not read the books to compare it to the movie which was blasphemy.
That’s just about when I started reading non-mainstream authors who would one day become incredible successes. I shifted to classics as well purely out of my love for the language of that time. Of course, that meant reading British authors until I started speaking at home like it was the 1800s. Those works mind you were set in the blue-eyed world of British aristocracy at a time when colonisation was thriving completely undoing my roots derived from colonial oppression and aspiring for the high society brand of fiction. Now that I look back I am conflicted about my fascination for the private lives of British aristocracy, I feel guilty but I still think of those books with a sense of satisfaction.
The film industry took over the world of books, adapting comic relief books into movies too. Producers should know when to stop, The Hobbit except for Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice which sounded uncannily like Smaug if Smaug happened to exist today was a letdown. What can I say, the filmmakers are competing with the imagination of readers and they will never come close. When I read those books, the way I interpreted the characters no filmmaker will be able to recreate that for me. A book I spent days on, skipping meals, refusing sleep, a book I made a priority is something filmmakers cannot encapsulate in three hours.
People usually say, “It’s just a movie, enjoy it. Don’t think of the books.” It breaks my heart and I know I speak for all the bookworms who spent years loving a book. They deemed it worthy of their respect, movies should not insult that investment. You cannot warp the storyline when we loved that book as is, with all its flaws, every single character, and plot twist. When you omit something or rework something you are taking bits of those books away, it’s like ripping pages from the book and expecting us to be okay with it and pay money to watch it.
I know this sounds like a lot of rage, but when I saw another movie of a book I loved at some point in time, I thought, “Not today.” I shouldn’t have watched it, because I regretted it. Just like when the script of Game of Thrones deviated from the book. Fine, the author wrote the script, but I am watching the series and the movies because I loved the books, not the other way round. I know there are people who fall in love with the books because they watch the movies, I don’t have that kind of strength, I guess when you watch it as a stand-alone it’s ok but is it ok when you know the mistakes in the film? In Harry Potter, for example, how was it ok to change so much of how Harry and Voldemort fought at the end of the seventh movie? How did they let that happen?
But I guess life goes on. Just not today. So when I picked up a work of fiction this afternoon to read I knew I was in for something and as I began reading pangs of appreciation shot up and I knew I was done for. It’s similar to when you always fall for the bad guy even when you know he’s bad for you. I know I’ll rage the day this book comes to an end because I take books seriously, I live with these characters and when it ends I feel like someone just broke up with me. I know I’m in for an emotional journey, I’ll think about all of this later…..just not today.