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06 July 2011

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Well, I'm glad you mostly liked the experience. I will say that with graphic novels, the whole "it's pictures AND words" doesn't actually mean it's spelled out for you more. In fact, part of the joy of reading the graphic novel is that your brain has to make the narratives jumps on it's own from panel to panel over the "white space" or "gutters" in between. I recommended Mercury because I think the simplicity of the story and art are beautiful and echo/compliment each other. This story is not meant to be fully understood without the reader's own impressions filling some of it in.

I can't wait to hear what you thought of the next one :)

Beth,
I did enjoy the book, which is nice. I start/read a lot of books that don't do anything for me, so this one held up quite well, actually.
I always get a chuckle when people act like GNs are dumbed down pieces of literature--I actually don't love them because they're too hard for me. I cannot concentrate on the text and the pictures both. I love to flip through picture and art books, and of course I love reading, but putting the two together is more than my visually-spatially challenged little brain can handle. So, every now and then I enjoy them as "palate cleansers," just a little something different, but I will never truly love graphic novels.

I understood most of the story, but we had some basic narrative questions that I can't tell if I'm just dense or what. One of them includes a spoiler so I can't say it here; maybe I'll email you with it and see what your take was!!

it's been awhile since i've read it, but i'll do my best to remember!

If you only read one graphic novel read Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (it's nonfiction, even, a memoir!). Great book. Great, great book. Really, an excellent book. Read it. Though I am not challenging you. Just recommending.

Thanks, Beth, now I've just got to get the email written. So disorganized!

Nan,
Thanks for the suggestion (as always) but I have read Fun Home. Not a light read but you're right, fascinating. Another one, though, where I felt I couldn't concentrate sufficiently on both the text and the pictures. (I felt that way about David Small's Stitches, too.) Maybe I need to read GNs twice; once just for the text and once for the pictures.

You know how you say you read them quickly? That could be the problem actually. It's a misconception among many people that comics can be read fast. Faster than text only books? Usually. But they are meant to be absorbed, pictures, text etc., so maybe more time on them would yield better results? I'm just throwing it out there, I'm not trying to convert you or anything ;)

I just read another beautiful and very well done YA GN called Anya's Ghost, for anyone with interest in this area. It's written with young adults in mind, but is very much something adults will enjoy.

How about the Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger? It's spooky but beautifully done and should appeal to anyone with library DNA.

My only experience with graphic books (nonfiction, so not novels...) were Burma Chronicles and Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea, both by Guy Delisle. I liked them both, but I thought the images built the story in Pyongyang, while in Burma they were more illustrations and were more separate. I definitely enjoyed the concept though and have been looking for a few other nonfiction options. I've been looking for Rick Geary's Victorian murder series, but haven't been able to find them here. I'm going to chase some of the suggestions in the comments too.

Alli, if you like Guy Delisle, you may want to look at Joe Sacco's books as well http://amzn.to/pkMnWI. There is also the very good and relatively new book How To Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less http://amzn.to/n9Ptx0. If you'd like to try nonfiction of a more personal nature, there is the excellent Special Exits http://amzn.to/olihTz as well as Mom's Cancer http://amzn.to/oBFub4 (which i know CR thought was excellent as well) or Stitches http://amzn.to/qSrqfK (which CR reviews, sort of, here http://bit.ly/nCnI7T). Enjoy :)

Thanks, Beth! I'll see which of those I can find.

Beth!
Yeah, I don't think I can change the way I read GNs. For the most part, unless a book really calls to me, I'm just not going to read it twice. And perhaps this might be why I tend toward nonfiction in general, I'm just a fast reader by nature. It's interesting, because all the bemoaning of the loss of "slow reading" and fiction reading, which makes sense to me, doesn't really reflect my way of reading at all. And yet I'm not a huge thriller or "story-driven narrative" type person. I just don't know. But I do like the sensation of whipping through GN stories, and I just don't picture giving that up to absorb the artwork better. It's something to think about.

Beth, Alli,
I've so enjoyed eavesdropping on your conversation. Beth, thanks for being such a great GN "point person."

Nan, Thanks for the suggestion. I do like AN so I'll have to look into it.

Haha, I generally think of myself as a "pushy person" when it comes to GN, but I'm glad to be of service ;)

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