I would really like a time machine... with my time machine I would use it to go back to the time period of every book I've ever read. Then, I would sit and read my book in that time period and see how much things matched, how the smells come alive in the reality of it. Books are incredible and I think they're a bit like Pringles for me, in that, once I've started one I pretty much have to read it as quickly as possible if I like it. Some books are obviously like Cheese & Chive Pringles and you sort of put up with the first 10% to see if you were right about not liking them before you give up... but most are very catchy.
I think, with a book, you're allowed to put so much more of yourself into it than you can with a film - you read it in your own style and put your own voices in and imagine things in a completely unique way. I have a tendency to skip large chunks of description because I'm a bit narrative fixated - it means I get an action packed book but often have to go back and re-read sections because I have no real idea what's going on.
I suppose no book can really be exactly the same to two different people - no matter how meticulously read or written it was. It's a little bit like the (put on Kitson voice) "How do you even know you see the same red as I do...?" argument, except that it's less irritating and more an interesting study into how different people perceive different things.
I find books very absorbing and they leave their print quite firmly on the places that I've read them - I get infused in them and they in my memories of their time frame. For example, the DLR line between South Quay and Greenwich is peppered with memories of Conquistadors because that's where I did most of the reading of an excellent historical novel about those fellows. The duvet cover I bought myself as a present with my first pay cheque is also the same duvet cover that Lady Jane Grey had because they both came into my world at the same time and apparently my imagination is flaky at best... I've already outlived the good lady by about 7 years so I'm not unduly worried.
At the moment I'm reading a really excellent book set in Nero's reign... it's honestly amazing and one of the first books I've ever read and nigh on hoped they'd make a film of it - a really good film. I don't often feel like that, I usually like to keep books as close to my heart as possible and get very annoyed when they make a film. With The Time Traveller's Wife, I just can't bring myself to see the film in case it spoils the memory of the book. But with this book (Rome - The Emperor's Spy by M.C. Scott) I want to see it play out, and I want to see the men in the story properly... and without my time machine, I sort of need it to be a film.
That's really all I have to say, but I feel like (in true High Fidelity fashion) I should end on the best 5 books I can remember reading right now. This list would probably change daily as you asked me, but we'll go with it for right now -
5. Captain Correlli's Mandolin
4. Each Peach Pear Plum
3. The Time Traveller's Wife
2. River God (Wilbur Smith - actually the whole series is amazing...but we'll list this one for now...)
1. The Lies of Locke Lamora (Scott Lynch - there's an impending series which can't come quick enough...)