Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Graphic Novels and Manga

I hadn't originally joined the Graphic Novels Challenge for 2008 because I wasn't sure I'd manage to read 6 of them over the course of the year. But thanks to a little gentle arm-twisting from Dewey in the summer, inviting people to join in then, and read 3 graphic novels by the end of the year, I pretty quickly gave in. And I'm so glad I did! I'm quite new to the genre but it was great to read something different from my usual fare and also to discover some of the diversity in the art and stories. In fact, I ended up reading 4 graphic novels, and they were:
99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style - Matt Madden
Maus I & II - Art Spiegelman
Three Shadows - Cyril Pedrosa
The Sandman: Endless Nights - Neil Gaiman
Except for Three Shadows, which I bought this year, the rest had been on my shelves for quite some time so it felt good to finally read them.

Best book(s) I read for the challenge?
Maus I&II, not just because it was a moving holocaust story but because I loved the story of writing the story told alongside the main one. That sounds really confusing but if you've read them you know what I mean.

Book(s) I could have done without?
None. They were all good!

Any new authors? Will I read them again?
I'd only read Neil Gaiman before but it was my first time to read one of his graphic novels, specifically his Sandman series. The other books of his that I've read are children's books (Coraline, The Wolves in the Walls, The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish) and Neverwhere, so this was quite different. I'm curious to read the rest of the Sandman series but it's rather expensive so I may wait until I live in an English speaking country and where I can find them in the library. We'll see.
Of the other three authors that were new to me, I'd gladly read another graphic novel by them sometime although at the moment I don't feel a desperate need to search out their other books. Another we'll see.

Best thing about the challenge? What did I learn?
That graphic novels are a heck of a lot of fun to read, and that the art is so varied. The Sandman: Endless Nights was the only one that was in colour, but they were all quite impressive in their respective styles. I've already picked up a couple more graphic novels based on reviews from other bloggers and have several others on my wishlist, so I think it's safe to say that I'll be reading more graphic novels in the future. I'm not sure yet what's happening with the challenge for next year, or who is taking it over, but I'll most likely participate again. I know Dewey would be pleased to have won over another convert! :)

In the same vein, I've also decided to join Rhinoa's Manga Challenge with a goal of reading at least 6 manga in 2009. I kind of feel like I should read some manga, considering that I am living in Japan after all, but I am also curious about them. The problem is figuring out where to begin. Each time I stop by a Japanese bookstore, I'm quite overwhelmed with just how many there are, so I look forward to hearing what everyone else is reading. I do have a couple ideas but I'm not going to make a list, instead I'll simply let my mood decide. It should be fun, thanks Rhinoa!


  1. I saw this challenge come up and have been contemplating it. I loved the graphic novel challenge and am so curious to try manga but like you, I really have no idea where to start. I probably need to go check the challenge blog and see if I can get some suggestions.

  2. I plan on buying Maus I and II in the new year. They look really good! I am doing Rhinoa's challenge, too, it should be fun!

  3. That's great that you became a convert. I had some arm-twisting from a friend of mine who likes graphic novels, and thanks to this challenge I have totally been getting into graphic novels. Hopefully even more for next year!

  4. I'm glad you enjoyed the challenge so much! It was a great one, wasn't it? Two of the books you read are books I love too, and the other two were added to my wishlist.

    I have no idea what I'll read for the Manga challenge either, but hey, that's part of the fun :P

  5. I loed the Graphic Novel Challenge and I am looking forward to reading lots more in 2009. Thanks so much for signing up for the Manga Challenge, it should be a lot of fun. There are so many great series out there, my favourite by far is Death Note so far. Looking forward to reading your reviews.

  6. Iliana - I keep thinking I should try some manga so I think this'll be a good motivation to finally do so. There were some good suggestions in the comments to the sign up post on Rhinoa's blog.

    Kailana - I hope you enjoy reading Maus when you get to it.

    Kim L - I've really enjoyed the few graphic novels that I've read now and I'm looking forward to reading more. :)

    Nymeth - It was a great challenge! I think a lot of us owe our thanks to Dewey for encouraging us to read graphic novels. :)
    And yes, half the fun will be choosing which manga to read!

    Rhinoa - Death Note is very popular here, lots of movies and other spin-offs. I'm probably going to have to try it. :P


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