Newsletter 1

Too Busy To Watch a Movie? Read A Book

Alice Burton

Staff Writer

Chicagoan and aspiring cryptozoologist Alice Burton has a B.A. in Comparative Literature and is an Archives Assistant with the Frances Willard Historical Society. When not booking or historying, she is singing soprano wherever people will have her. She will watch any documentary on Neanderthals or giant extinct animals, and has a Stockholm Syndrome-like love for Chicago and its winters. Blog: Reading Rambo Twitter: @itsalicetime

We’ve all binge-watched TV shows. It’s great. Everything is broken into convenient chunks, you can stop whenever you want — sound familiar?

The way we consume media has changed, and I am persuaded — NAY, CONVINCED — that that change means we should all be knee-deep in sweet, sweet books.


Why would I need to go on adventures when I can sit right here.

I don’t need to look at some person’s “actual statistics” to know people are going to the movies less. I know this based on EVERYONE I KNOW almost never going.

Why are people watching movies less than before? Because people are spending their free time watching TV. Why are people watching TV instead of movies? Because something has happened in the last ten years that makes people FEEL busier than they used to be. This is important: they aren’t actually busier. They just feel like they are. And that last-ten-years thing is obviously the Internet.

If you’re noodling around on the Internet, you will watch six episodes of Arrested Development in a row on Netflix, which combined are easily the length of a movie, but if you’re like “Maybe I’ll finally watch The Running Man,” your brain goes “Noooo, I do not have TIME for that sort of commitment.”

A movie requires an attention span of over an hour, and that sounds difficult to our brains today. If I go two hours without checking my phone, I feel like a damn hero. “Sorry, World, with your dependence on technology; I have taken the red pill and disconnected from the Machi–oh, someone liked my photo on Instagram, better see whooooo.”

ENTER BOOKS. Glorious, glorious books. You’re stuck on the train. Or the bus. Or in traffic. I don’t know your life. You don’t want to be alone with your thoughts because who. does. What can you do while in transit? You can read! Such a short commitment because you don’t even need an app to remember where you are! (Unless you’re driving, in which case I strongly recommend audiobooks.) You jump in for a few pages, you stick an old Walgreens receipt in there, and you move on with your day.

Books are something people don’t know they want yet. The Netflix brand of consumption has hit too recently. You might want to casually drop something into conversation like “Oh, yeah, I mean, what I really like about books is I don’t have to sit down with one for a long time, y’know? I can just read like, a chapter — or not! Just a few pages and I’m good. Can just pick it up again whenever. Haha man, it’s almost like they’re TOO adapted to my busy, on-the-go lifestyle.”

Movies won’t die. We still need a place to go if we want to see Chris Hemsworth’s head on an enormous scale (and that need will never end). But from the fall of cinema, books shall rise.


Did you know that Book Riot has a YouTube channel? We do. It’s new and we are having fun with it. Check it out here.