From Weekly Geeks:
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?
Graphic novels and memoirs are a case-by-case basis with me. The subject and author really have to be of interest. Art Spiegelman’s Maus I and II were the first graphic novels I read, back when I was a teenager. The illustrations intensified what was already a heavy story about his father’s experiences during the Holocaust. The last one I read was Alison Bechdel’s Split-Level Dykes to Watch Out For last year. I’ve read a few pages here and there of her acclaimed series, but never from cover to cover so a GLBT reading challenge seemed like a good time to do so. A year after posting about them in response to similar questions, I still have yet to read Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s V For Vendetta and Neil Gaiman’s the Sandman.
The debate between graphic novels and comics is so nuanced. I think of graphic novels having story lines that go from A to Z. Comics can and do have the same, but there are also a lot out there that tend to be random scene shots and go from A to B. As to not being “serious” literature, the same was (and still is) said about science-fiction and fantasy. If I’m reading a graphic novel/comic book I’m doing so from cover to cover and counting it in my tally of books read for the year.
The short list of memoirs that I have read (and liked) are Meatloaf’s To Hell and Back, Anthony Rapp’s Without You, Betty DeGeneres’s Love, Ellen, and Michael Crawford’s Parcel Arrived Safely: Tied With String. I haven’t read any since then, but in a previous post I said:
In general, I’m not inclined to read about a person’s life from cover to cover. I’ve enough to read without adding fine details and reminiscing to the pile. Much to my annoyance, I’m bombarded with celebrity drama. Personally, I don’t care if someone’s attire is “in fashion” or who they’re bonking. As they’re wont to do, exceptions occasionally arise, and there are a few biographies that caught my interest.
And because Terri said Shaun Tan is a particular favorite, I’ll mention that the author-illustrator of the Arrival and several other picture books has been nominated for a Hugo Award in the best professional artist category. The only reason I recognize the name is because of the nominee list, but with the awards and WorldCon approaching I’m learning more names and titles and adding to the dread pile o’reads. My sci-fi mode has also revved into high gear and probably won’t downshift until autumn.