Note from the Editor –
Insidious 2. Prisoners. Carrie. Bad Grandpa. Many of these titles will sound familiar to Edison students, for they belong to several films released in theaters at the beginning of the school year. Television shows and movies are becoming increasingly prevalent in modern society; even the lives of Hollywood celebrities are enmeshed in so much glamour and scandal that they become a show unto themselves, a constant exhibition of humanity exaggerated, mankind caricaturized. There are certainly films and actors that rise above this generalization, but that’s not the point. The point is that movies and TV are everywhere, and it would be difficult to find someone not aware of the latest releases; advertisement and billboards are ubiquitous. So, let me throw out a few more titles. More Than This. The Final Descent. The Republic of Thieves. Probably none of these will sound familiar to most Edison students, for they do not belong to any films released in theaters at the beginning of the school year. No, they belong to books.
I constantly marvel at how something so powerful, so beautiful, so important, can go so largely ignored by so many people. I can talk to almost anyone about movies, but there are only a handful that I can talk to about books- at least, the ones that haven’t been made into movies. Books are boring, they require too much thought, they are the stuff of English classes and homework and wasted time. With films, you can see the movement, see the action; it’s dynamic, it’s right there in front of you, you don’t have to do anything but sit back and look at the pretty pictures. Right. That’s what most people say, or at least think. Why go to the effort of investing yourself in a book? It takes too much time, it’s too tiring.
But as Patrick Ness says in A Monster Calls (a book that would make the world a bit better if everyone were to read it), “stories are the wildest things of all. Stories chase and bite and hunt.” Words are not limited by budgets, nor corrupted by the actors or directors or cinematographers. Books are pure, unadulterated story, a direct conduit from one mind to another. And what power lies within this simple truth! There will always be the argument that movies perform the same function, but mere acting cannot encompass the miracle that lies in the words of a character’s thoughts and an author’s pen. That is what books are- thought, distilled from any influences that would corrode its perfect form. Thought that can take you and consume you and feed you and live in you forever. In More Than This, Ness writes that a book “is a world all on its own…a world made of words…where you live for a while.” A “while” that is always too short. The characters in this book, and in The Final Descent, are far more than just flesh and blood, far more than pretty people pretending to be different pretty people. They are more than this, and more even than reality. There were several times throughout these books in which I felt tangible waves of emotion shiver through my body, and after finishing them, I couldn’t do anything for hours but think about what I had just experienced, at how the world suddenly didn’t seem as real or as important as some words on a page.
And people think books are too inert. But the truth is, they are more alive than anything else in the world. If you have the time to watch a movie, you have the time to read a book. As Rick Yancey’s Will Henry would say in The Final Descent, there is a space one ten-thousandth of an inch outside of our range of vision. And in this space is terrifying beauty, if we dare to turn around.
Thank you for your continued support,