Theresa over at edittorrent (one of my new RSS feeds thanks to BBAW) went for a trip to the bookstore with her friends. In a very entertaining and articulate post, Theresa ends up musing over why and how we pick books, as well as when and why we read.

As we were standing in line, I asked them point blank what would make them choose to read a book instead of going to a movie or watching TV.

“But I like reading,” he said.

“And I don’t really like TV,” she said. “Well, except for certain shows.”

“I understand that,” I said. “But let’s say you have two hours, and you can do anything at all in those two hours. What would make you choose a book over something else like playing computer games or watching a movie?”

They had a hard time articulating an answer.

In the end, Theresa had a couple solid questions, and I thought it would be really interesting to address them.

1. How are books different from other forms of entertainment (TV, movies, clubs, etc.)?

I’ve never thought about it seriously, but it is definitely related to energy level and brain power. If I’m feeling totally zonked, I won’t want to study for school, I’ll want to lay on the couch and flick channels.

I think the interesting thing about movies is the story, similar to books, but in a different way — the movies do all the work for you. It’s an amazing way to experience a story, emotions, and amazing talents (cinematography, soundtracks, acting, costumes, etc.) Some people definitely take it for granted and others also demean the quality of work and the time that went into the project. It does bring the entertainment to you, but it is definitely worthy of being appreciated.

Just general TV — sitcoms, dramas, etc. — are more of a “non-thinking” type of entertainment. They are definitely there to relax after a long day. I really enjoy the story line and how they can continue to develop a character through the season(s). It’s an excellent medium for characters and plot (similar to books). Movies are more challenged in this aspect to have a nice packaged deal.

Video games I’m not really into because they take effort to get good at. Some little games like Solitaire on the computer, or Sudoku on my laptop are fun. And occasionally I’ll play mini-games on the Nintendo DS, but really I could only see myself playing lots of video games if I liked the games. Also, I think I’d play more games if I had a Nintendo Wii just because they’re so generation-friendly.

Crafting is my other form of entertainment: Knitting, sewing, crochet, scrapbooking, etc. And to do this, I usually have to feel inspired. It kinda sucks, but I don’t always feel like picking up the knitting needles and going at it. But I certainly feel accomplished and proud when I finish something, which I can’t say for many other forms of entertainment!

2. What makes you choose a book instead of some other form of entertainment?

I have sort of a hierarchy when it comes to entertainment. I will usually always pick up my laptop first. Check my email, browse social-networking sites (Ravelry, Facebook), read blogs, write on my blog, etc. Then, depending on my mood and energy level, I have a choice.

If I want peace and quiet, it’s my book all the way, no questions asked. But if I don’t feel like thinking, I might put on television (on DVD preferably) or a movie. Then I might knit while watching, or if I don’t have any energy – no knitting, just mushing.

As for social entertainment, I only tend to go to the movies or rent when there is something I actually want to see. I have to want to spend that money, and know that it’s not a waste. For some reason though, even if I buy a book and don’t like it, it doesn’t seem like a waste. Odd. I’m not really a clubbing/drinking person, so that’s out pretty much straight away. But I’ll definitely phone a friend up for coffee or lunch if I’m in the mood for some chatting and laughing.

And the last factor, is actually schedule. When I get home from work, after spending all day working on the computer, I like to play on my laptop for a bit. Then I’m so burnt out, that I like to mush and watch DVDs (hopefully television without commercials). And always always always (since I was a little girl), I read before bed.