Weekly Geeks 2010-19 – Getting Graphic

Terri has posed this week’s discussion topic about graphic novels. She asks
Do you read graphic novels or memoirs? Who are your favorite authors? Which books do you recommend? If you haven’t read any, why not? Some people have the impression that graphic novels are glorified comic books, are unsophisticated or don’t qualify as “serious” literature. What do you think? If you track your book numbers, do you count a graphic novel as a book read?

The short answer is no. I don’t read graphic novels. I’ve read one, a re-print of Will Eisner’s A Contract with God that was originally published in the 70’s but was re-printed a few years ago. And I only read because someone gave it to me as a present and waited patiently for my opinion. Thankfully I wasn’t writing reviews then because I would have struggled to come up with much more than the “it was nice” I said to my generous but slightly misguided friend.

Why don’t I read graphic novels? I’m just not a very visual person and the pictures get in the way of the storytelling for me. I felt the same way about the comic books I was given when I was a kid. I’m sure it sounds odd but I’m the sort of person who would choose a book over a movie every time. I don’t just mean that I would choose the book versus its movie adaptation (though I invariably would) but when offered a choice of what entertainment to consume in a given period I will choose words (in written or audio format) over pictures every time because I find that a better storytelling medium for me. Perhaps it’s because I have a vivid imagination and create my own pictures or perhaps it’s because my brain is wired oddly but if I want to retain information about what I’m consuming I need to read it or hear it.

Just to be clear I’m not ‘against’ graphic novels, I don’t think they’re a less sophisticated form of storytelling and I don’t think I’m superior to those who do enjoy them. It’s simply that just as some people can’t listen to audio books because the words don’t sink in the same way that written words do, illustrated stories of the kind found in comics and graphic novels just don’t sink into my brain.

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7 Responses to Weekly Geeks 2010-19 – Getting Graphic

  1. Rikki says:

    Ditto, Bernadette. Even though I must admit that I read Archie comics (at my age!). But comics are just not in the same league as graphic novels, so I didn’t even mention them in my post.


  2. Perhaps it’s because I have a vivid imagination and create my own pictures or perhaps it’s because my brain is wired oddly

    Not wired oddly hon, just you being you and not liking GN is apart of you..
    I love that you can read a novel and bring it to life for those of us who come to this blog..
    I love GN, but then art, graphic is my medium of choice if I had to choose. Audio books – I can give or take although that has to do with the narrator more than anything else…
    I love a beautiful lilting voice in my audiobooks and I want a reader to bring all the little nuances, sad and happy moments to life for me..

    Hopefully one day one you will find a GN that makes the cut for you – if not, the whole reading word is our oyster, and we have our whole lifes to enjoy it..



  3. Bernadette – I’m not a big reader of graphic novels, either, for much the same reason you aren’t. There’s a lot of research, especially by Howard Gardner, that suggests that we learn and know in many different ways. Visually is only one of them.


  4. Maxine says:

    Me neither, though I do have a copy of Tamara Drewe by Posy Simmons (an updating of Far from the Madding Crowd) because I’ve liked her drawings in the past and because I was desperate to think of what to ask for for xmas one year. (she has also done Gemma Bovary).
    My daughters have occasionally read them – the older one quite liked The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and the younger one has read Fruits Basket, and interminable Manga series and, more recently, Persopholis (Persepholis?) about growing up in Iran, also now a movie.
    For my part, I loved comics when I was in primary school (mainly of the Dandy/Beano variety, graduating to Hornet/Hotspur, while my sisters read Bunty et al) – but not since!


  5. I am trying to find out more graphic novels. I want to explore some good ones.

    Weekly Geeks: Getting Graphic


  6. Mish says:

    I hear you about the audio books. I’ve listened to one, but will be using my eyes for round two.


  7. JoV says:

    I only read Graphic novels for a good laugh. Dilbert is one for its satire of workplace, Tintin the other because it’s so superbly details in its graphics. Otherwise graphic novels belongs to a fetish in my childhood memories, back then when I was too young to grasp the power of words with my limited vocabulary.


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