As I got older and more "busy", I ended up reading less and less. But every once in a while a novel would capture my interest, especially if I heard or read that a movie was being made from it. I would always rush to try and read the novel before the movie was released. Or conversely, I would watch a movie, then when I found out it was based on a book, I would find and read the book to compare it to the movie. And without exception, I have found that the book was always better than the movie.
To me, books give you more insight into characters lives and motivations. You get a much richer background, and get to create your own visions of who and what the characters are. You can open a book, and let your imagination take you wherever it may. I remember lolling away many hours, lost in another time and place, completely shutting out the world around me. It was comforting to be able to get away from my drab, day to day reality, and escape into someone else's life.
I am always initially excited about a books translation into a movie or TV show. I am interested to see how the various cast and crew translate the written words into concrete visions, both for those who have read the books, and for those who are viewing the program for the first time, and likely have no knowledge of the book. As much as I love a good literary experience, I also enjoy a well crafted movie or TV show. A well written movie draws you in, and keeps your attention until the very end. A well written TV program keeps you coming back week after week, never boring you, and always telling you something new about the characters. Theoretically at least, if you have good source material, you will likely have a good end product.
I understand the television and movies are limited mediums. You only get 45-60 minutes for television, and a minimum of an hour and a half for movies to tell your story. There is often so much ground to cover, that there is no hope of cramming all of the information, characters and motivations in the book into such a small times frame. So the movie and television industries do the best they can, and hopefully, the fans of the book (or books) are satisfied. My experience has been about 50/50. Half of the adopted books have been wonderful, faithful adaptions that enhanced my view of the printed material. The other half left me wondering if we had we read the same book. But I do applaud the time screenwriters take to read an entire book, often more than once, and try to adapt it as faithfully as possible to the screen so that those who are not avid readers might get to enjoy a story they might not otherwise have known about. Who knows? The movie might actually get them to the book.
I am trying this approach with my daughter. When my son was younger, he and I used to love the British cartoon series Redwall that played on PBS on Sunday mornings. I found out later that it originated from a book by Brian Jacques. I always told myself that at some point I was going to get the book for my son. While my son did eventually get into reading lots of fantasy and science fiction, Redwall slipped off both of our radars for quite some time. Fast forward to about a month ago when I was perusing a used book store that popped up not too far from us. Sitting right next to each other on a shelf were the first six books in the Southern Vampire Mysteries (upon which the True Blood TV series is based) and Redwall. I scooped them up immediately, and while my son was definitely interested in the vampire books, he figured my daughter might be more into Redwall. When she came home from camp, I introduced her to Redwall, reading the first chapter with her. She seemed to be okay with it (the chapters are pretty short), but what really piqued her interest was my son finding Redwall on Netflix, and allowing her to watch the first few episodes. Now she is more interested in finishing the book.
Not a perfect way to get your child into reading for pleasure, but it's a start.