The Unique Imagination of the Reader

“If a book is a space-time sequence, it is also a kind of film. It can be animated, rather than static.” (144)

When I think of a book, I usually think of a story, if I’m being honest. Even though I know a book can be much more than a story or not even a story at all, such as nonfiction, I always think back to going to the library in school and checking out a novel. I’ve always thought about books in this way, and silver-screen adaptations of the books only reinforce that experience. A novel written by an author can be a fully fleshed out world that their mind has created, and given to the reader to experience. Now, they way the reader perceives the novel and the world inside it is up to their imagination. Everyone sees the story in their head uniquely. That’s what gets me excited about books, but with this quote above, it demonstrates that some people limit what a book could be. When a film studio takes a book and makes it into a movie, it can taint the world previously created inside the reader’s head. Some adaptations are great, such as The Lord of The Rings and Game of Thrones, but those are rare to experience. I only think that if we make books more digital, then we are welcoming in external media to influence the worlds the authors create. A digital book with different animated scenes as the background would only limit the imagination of the reader.

“While some e-books are simply liquid text, a number of authors and artists are using the medium to create immersive cinematic and game-like reading experiences that take advantage of the digital space opened by this technology and demand a more expansive definition of the book.” (244)

Immersive experiences are great. I love going to the movies and losing sense that I’m in a movie theatre looking at the screen. Being fooled that you’re in the movie is one of the highest achievements of any filmmaker. But like I was saying above, the book is already an immersive experience, one that is completely unique to each reader. They get to decide what the world looks like in the mind, what the characters look like, how they act, etc. When you make an futuristic book, it only limits what heights a book could be imagined to by the reader.

I will say that I think my view is pretty close-minded, since I’m sure many people love movie adaptations of books, and maybe they prefer to have some visual aid when thinking about the works of an author. It may actually make it more immersive for them. But for me, I love the idea of the freedom of my mind to construct the world to my liking, which can be completely different from another’s.


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