The Death of Literature
by Kamryn Pigg
If one were to step onto the withered steps of a library today – any library – Bienville Books, the Mobile Public Library, or even one elsewhere in the world, they might experience a surreal feeling normally reserved for the ghost towns of the Wild West. Literature, at least in its purest form, is a thing of the past. Readers are few and far between, with people flocking to big-budget cinemas instead of small book clubs.
Televisions are more common than bookshelves in many homes, the latter being nonexistent in some. There are resources all around Mobile that offer not only the adventures of Grimm’s fairy tales, but many other stories as well. While books offer a silent corner of the world for people of all ages, for some reason people are still more drawn like moths to a flame to the flickering screen of a dingy cinema.
The death of literature is a slow one indeed, and may not be complete in its entirety. While libraries are normally sullen and bare, they do offer a vein of life to an increasingly digitized art form. This day and age, books are valued more for their connection to big-budget films. However, film should be an art form in of itself, without the need of a book’s plot. All kinds of writers have their ups and downs. Book writers should be able to suffer their own faults, while film writers should be able to have their own fall-outs.
Sometimes the books taken to the screen are the flashiest of the bunch, choosing style over substance, and other times perfectly good books with relatable simple plots have to be left behind because of concerns over how the story will translate on the big screen. For every Twilight in the world, a Finnegan’s Wake joins a river of other tomes left behind because transforming them into an easily digestible film would be ‘too difficult.’ For every Hunger Games, A miracle occurs on Maggie’s Bluff, but few are around to remember it.
Books open up doors to whole universes, which each having the ability to establish its own rules. Films offer only a glimpse into these universes – windows instead of doors. People who do not give books a chance are not offered the same escape into exotic worlds; instead, they shell out money by the billions to have a glimpse of what a series that is probably worth less than half of what they are paying for.
Film adaptations of books tend to be a teaser trailer for fifty thousand words of story and emotion, not all of which could ever be placed onto the big screen. Books that receive this free advertisement are normally the ones to produce the biggest turnout. This normally equates to loud explosions and outpourings of base emotions. Unfortunately, many books that deserve more awareness are not offered the same opportunity.
Thankfully, the teasers do not dictate the best of the best; the choice is up to each individual reader. Why not give it a try? Every page flip is one more faint flutter in the slowing heartbeat of literature. Fifty thousand flutters and suddenly there’s a beat. Read two novels, then, and there’s a pulse.
~Kamryn Pigg is a 14 year old student at Bryant High School and contributing writer from Bayou La Batre. Miracle at Maggie’s Bluff is the first book she remembers reading, and meeting the author at her school inspired her to appreciate literature. She volunteers at Bayou La Batre Library on Tuesdays and Thursdays~