I'm home from work today (wife is sick), reading a book to my 3yr old. The thought occurs to me that we have the movie version of the book (Barbie, always popular) and my thinking goes a little something like this...
"We have the movie version of this same book. But spending all day sitting in front of the tv is bad, you should turn off the tv and read books. Yet when you get older and the books get bigger, you're far more likely to have seen the movie than to have read the book. And once the reading gets really hard, like Shakespeare, then people go out of their way to tell you *not* to read it."
Yeah yeah yeah, I get that Shakespeare is different, that scripts are written for performance not perusal. But you have to admit, somewhere along the line it becomes not only accepted but expected that you'll be familiar with the movie/tv version. The cliche is about the "ruby slippers" in Wizard of Oz - but in the book, the slippers are silver. That doesn't happen when the majority of popular culture has read the book.
I wonder why that is. Is it strictly because the younger children need the reading practice? That would seem to imply that you hit an age where you're all set, you don't have to read anymore. That's certainly not true. Or maybe it is a time management thing? You can watch a movie in 2 hours, it's very hard to say that about a book.
There's a quote about writing - Stephen King maybe? Or Douglas Adams? - where it's said, "I don't want to write, I want to have written." In other words, the result is positive but the act is painful. I see a parallel here. "I don't want to read the classics, I want to have read them." But here it comes with a more negative impact. "I want to be able to say among my peers that I know the story. It's not important enough to me to devote the time to read the original, so I'll take the short cut." How different is this from the Cliff's Notes approach?