It was as part of this experimental reading that I discovered the graphic novel medium. Years ago, I had read and loved Persepolis. But, I didn't step out to find more similar books. It's mostly because I used to think the graphic medium was for "comics" as in super-hero stuff that run as series, and mistakenly assumed that Persepolis was more of an exception to the rule than a trend. It was last year that I discovered more of such books with Embroideries (delightful yet with a big focus on women issues), Chicken with Plums (a unique way to tell a story), Asterios Polyp (Didn't like this when I was reading it but for a long time, I kept revisiting it), The Arrival (speechless!), and Blankets (one of the best). When I joined the Graphic Novels challenge this year, my worry was mostly whether enough graphic novels existed. I wasn't much for manga or superhero or scifi/fantasy comics or anything that runs as a series. I typically prefer graphic memoirs, or the graphic equivalent of literary fiction. Something that leaves the same effect on me as literary fiction.
But joining the challenge made me step out and explore and find more such books. It helps that my library and local bookstore both have shelves upon shelves dedicated to the graphic medium. It was through exploration of these shelves that I found some of the graphic books that I loved. At this half year point, I've already read 14 books in graphic format, and I'm looking for more.
When I reviewed Lucille last week, many of you told me that you have not read a graphic novel. I will confess that I said the same thing this time last year, but within a year, my impression of this medium has changed drastically. I would love to see more of you try this medium, and the Graphic Novels challenge is a great place to start. Now I subscribe to plenty of graphic novel newsletters and am forever looking for recommendations. My worry is that some day I will extinguish all possible options and will sit waiting for the next one. I think I'm in that soup right now, so I have a question for you at the end of this post.
These are the books I read for this challenge. Although I've officially completed this challenge, I know I'll read at least another 14 books (hopefully) before the year is up. If I do, I'll sum them up in another post by the end of the year.
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney
- Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón
- Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by G. Neri and Randy DuBurke
- Fist Stick Knife Gun by Geoffrey Canada and Jamar Nicholas
- Stitches by David Small
- A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History (Maus, #1) by Art Spiegelman (WOW!)
- A Survivor's Tale: And Here My Troubles Began (Maus, #2) by Art Spiegelman (WOW!)
- The Odyssey by Gareth Hinds (Liked this graphic retelling of the original Odyssey)
- Vietnamerica by GB Tran
- Nicolas by Pascal Girard (Liked it but didn't love it)
- An Elegy for Amelia Johnson by Andrew Rostan (This was an okay read)
- Lucille by Ludovic Debeurme
- Gingerbread Girl by Paul Tobin (Started out okay, but turned to be better)
- Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol (Really delightful)
Until now, I've mostly found graphic novels by discovery - checking out shelves at my library and bookstore, scouring through newsletters and blogs. Now, I want to try out some recommendations. If you have read a graphic novel that you loved, please let me know in the comments below. If you have ever done a post listing graphic novels you've read/loved (eg: as end-of-challenge posts), I would be thrilled if you could share the link with me. If I choose a book from your list to read, I promise to let you know somehow.