Why You Shouldn't Try to Get Out of College Reading by Watching the Movie


Hoping to save some precious study time by skipping your college reading and watching the movie version of the book instead? Here's why you shouldn't.

There's no denying that the college course workload can be overwhelming, especially for new students. And if your major is at all related to the humanities, chances are you have hundreds of pages to read per week. That's a lot, even for those who like reading. If you're required to read a book that has been adapted into a movie (which, let's be honest, it probably has), you might be tempted to skip the reading and opt for a film screening instead. Hey, we don't blame you for the impulse. Time is scarce and you're busy. But there are a few reasons why that's not a great idea. Check them out below.

A book being read with a cup of coffee

Movies Cut Things Out

As any fan of the Harry Potter series can tell you, movies don't keep everything from the book. The fact is that they can't. Books can be hundreds and even thousands of pages in length, while the average movie is between 90 and 120 minutes long. To achieve this concise duration, films will often cut out entire characters and plot points. If you rely on a film adaptation to give you a sense of what happens in a book, it's very likely you'll miss out on something, potentially even something crucial to the story.

A young male college student reads a book in a library

Movies Change Perspective

Books have one distinct storytelling advantage over movies: they can be told from multiple points of view, including third person omniscient, third person limited, first person, and even second person. Books that are written in first person or third person limited point of view are able to describe a character's thoughts and feelings in a way that movies just can't replicate. Sure, a film can use a voiceover to try to give you a sense of what a character is thinking, but they can't include as much of a sense of subjectivity as a book is able to.

Several books open on the floor

We Read for a Reason

Movies are great for a lot of reasons, including that they don't require much of a time commitment to consume. But in your rush to finish your classwork, don't let yourself forget why your professor is asking you to read a book in the first place. Books are so much more than one of many ways to experience a narrative. They're full of prose both beautiful and efficient, they're relaxing to read, they stimulate your mind, spark your imagination, and expand your vocabulary. Sure, watching the movie might be easier, but isn't challenging yourself what college is all about? And, hey, you can always watch the movie later.

Is there a film adaptation that just doesn't live up to the original book? Tell us about it by tweeting @studydotcom.

Need some help understanding your assigned reading? Check out Study.com's literature guides.

By Daisy Rogozinsky
August 2018
college reading

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