BTT ~ Do You Hafta Be So Graphic?!

Booking Through Thursday

Suggested by Vega:

Last Saturday (May 2nd) is Free Comic Book Day!

In celebration of comics and graphic novels, some suggestions:

– Do you read graphic novels/comics? Why do/don’t you enjoy them?
– How would you describe the difference between “graphic novel” and “comic”? Is there a difference at all?
– Say you have a friend who’s never encountered graphic novels. Recommend some titles you consider landmark/”canonical”.

For the longest time, I never gave graphic novels a serious consideration. To me, they were just kids’ books, just a glorified comic book. Not only did I refuse to read them on the grounds they were “books for dummies,” (after all, wasn’t it the mark of growing up? Graduating out of picture books and into chapter books?) but I avoided their whole section like it had a highly-contagious, IQ-lowering virus emanating from it.

However, a few months ago I started getting curious about them. It was about the same time I gave anime an open-minded look. I started walking by their area in the bookstore, then started looking at their spines, and even cracked a couple open before passing them up. Then, when Gwen’s school had a book fair, I came across Vampire Kisses: Blood Relatives by Ellen Schreiber and finally bought my first graphic novel.

I had always found the few graphic novels I’d read a little confusing.  Who said what first is sometimes hard to tell, as the bubbles aren’t numbered, and often bump together.  So I sat down with Maggie (it was for her I bought the book) and began to read VK, determined to get through it.   And, after a few pages of working it all out, I started enjoying it.  They’re not the awful stupid-fying, “Dick and Jane grows up” kind of book I’d always accused them of being.

Still, I haven’t read many.  I’ve only read one other graphic novel, Robot Dreams by Sara Varnon.  Part of that, though, is there are just so many to choose from.  I do have one, a manga, coming from PaperBackSwap called Psychic Academy.  Also, since I like Neil Gaiman, I’ve put his Sandmanbooks on my wishlists.  I’ve also got the first Fruit Baskets on my wishlist.

As to which book I’d recommend, well… I’m kind of in that same boat with the hypothetical friend.  Maggie doesn’t like the traditional manga books because they open backwards… lol… it seems I’ve passed my book-prejudice on.  And besides, she says, they’re not worth anything in the Accelerated Reader world, which is her yardstick of book-value.  “Why read it if I’m not getting points for it?”  *sigh*

If you’d like to participate in Booking Through Thursday, click the button above 🙂

Edited to add:  I forgot about the Far Side book I recently read and reviewed, Night of the Crash-Test Dummies by Gary Larson.

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The Sunday Salon.com

Well, I missed last week’s Salon, and finishing Breaking Dawntook a bit longer than I had anticipated… like 10 days longer; it was an exercise in self-torture and perseverance. I wanted to finish before my boyfriend, but I think we both finished the same night, and I’m not sure who read “THE END” first. You can read my review here.

One of the things disappearing in Second Life for a few months has done is rob me of the time to comfortably achieve my reading goal of 75 books for the year by December 31st. After Breaking Dawn, I had 19 books to go… it’s a seemingly impossible goal to achieve; it works out to one book every day and a half. So I’ve been piling headlong into this insurmountable quota. It’s my goal, set by me, and if I miss it I’ve only got myself to answer to. But still, it chafes a bit that I might NOT make it. I have every intention to meeting this goal if I go blind in the process.

For that reason, my next book was Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr. A short 125 pages with a lot of illustrations, this cute little book took a little over 2 hours to finish. Maggie looked it up at her school to see if it’s an Accelerated Reader book, which it is, so I’ll be reading it a second time with her next week 😉 . You can read my review for Nim’s Island here.

I finally returned to my Viral Video Wednesday post, this week posting music videos. The concept was “If there was a soundtrack to your life, what songs would be on it?” I listed mine, along with my reasons for them in a brief history of my life, which included songs like “Crawling” by Linkin Park, “The Unforgiven” by Metallica, “Wonderful, Merciful Saviour” by Selah, Natasha Beddingfield’s “Unwritten” as sung by Team Lachey, and Leona Lewis’s “Bleeding Love”, among others. Personally, I thought it is a story of triumph and resilience, but it would seem that it was more depressing than joyous, inspiring pity. I apologize to those of you who found it more of a downer than a sharing of my life and recovery. You can check out this week’s Viral Video Wednesday here, if you dare.

I tried hard to finish Fragile Thingsby Neil Gaiman by Thursday to hit that one book per each day and a half quota, but didn’t quite make it. So I finished a book Maggie and I had been slowly working on for the last month or so. Vampire Kisses Blood Relatives, vol 2 by Ellen Schreiber was my first experience in Manga. It’s an interesting and by no means a small genre of reading material. Manga covers any subject matter and age group that books of text cover, only they do it with graphic art panels and thought and speech bubbles. You can read <my review of Vampire Kisses Blood Relatives, vol 2 here.

I did finish Fragile Things: Short Stories and Wonders by Neil Gaiman today. I really loved this book, and read the two poems I posted in the review, plus the short story “Other People”… making that my fourth time reading it… to my boyfriend. I remembered another short entry (not written in verse form, but feels like poetry nonetheless) that I liked in it a while ago. It’s called “In the End”:

IN THE END

In the end, the Lord gave Mankind the world. All the world was Man’s, save for one garden. This is my garden, said the Lord, and here you shall not enter.

There was a man and woman who came to the garden, and their names were Earth and Breath.

They had with them a small fruit which the Man carried, and when they arrived at the gate to the garden, the Man gave the fruit to the Woman, and the Woman gave the fruit to the Serpent with the flaming sword who guarded the Eastern Gate.

And the Serpent took the fruit and placed it upon a tree in the center of the garden.

Then Earth and Breath knew their clothedness, and removed their garments, one by one, until they were naked; and when the Lord walked through the garden he saw the man and the woman, who no longer knew good from evil, but were satisfied, and He saw it was good.

Then the Lord opened the gates and gave Mankind the garden, and the Serpent raised up, and it walked away proudly on four strong legs; and where it went none but the Lord can say.

And after that there was nothing but silence in the Garden, save for the occasional sound of the man taking away its name from another animal.

Fragile Things: Short Stories and Wondersby Neil Gaiman, “The End” page 233.

You can read my review of Fragile Things here.

I started reading The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon today, and hope to finish and post the review tomorrow. I’m about 70 pages in and am enjoying it so far. It’s an alternate timeline in which Sitka, Alaska became the interim Jewish homeland after the fall of the State of Israel after three months of independence. The book opens with a murder, a messed up homicide detective, and the stress of the reversion of the Federal District of Sitka to the state of Alaska.

Unfortunately, though, I may not be able to finish it tomorrow… Second Life has made a claim to my time tomorrow, as a SL friend is getting married there and I’m a bridesmaid. Busy, busy, busy!