Sunday, February 21, 2010

"Graphic Grown Up"

I'm still chewing on the topic of quality vs. demand. Until I can (if I can) coherently gather my thoughts on that topic, I wanted to discuss another topic of interest.

A coworker recently recommended for me to read a graphic novel Blankets by Craig Thompson. She had picked it for her "Staff Picks," and just raved about it. I loved it. While I will admit that I read an awful lot of Young Adult Fiction, I had never before read a graphic novel. By no means am I now an avid graphic novel reader, but I do keep them in mind when choosing a book to read.

I came across an article by Ann Kim, "Graphic Grown up," that discusses these questions. Kim states that what we, as Reader's Advisors, take into consideration when recommending any other book is similar to what we should take into consideration when recommending graphic novels. However, she reminds us that "applying what a reader likes in prose to GNs can pose difficulties; pacing, tone, and atmosphere in a graphic novel are strongly affected by the artwork, so there's an additional visual/aesthetic aspect to consider in recommendations." Kim also provides an annotated list of graphic novels for adults who are new to reading such books. PLCMC's "Reader's Club" also contains a list of graphic novels... for adults.

This topic also stems out to adults reading Young Adult Fiction (like me :)). I work in a youth department of a public library, and more often than not, I get adults visiting our department for YA books. When I was a junior in college, I had a Children's Literature professor who thought this was simply preposterous. Is it odd for adults to read YA books? I don't think so. Some of the best books I have read are YA fiction.

I guess the point of this blog is to ask the question: "Are adults reading graphic novels?"

If they are, what are they reading? Are librarians recommending graphic novels to adults? Are graphic novels included in readalike lists? If so, which titles are included? If not, why aren't they included? Many graphic novels exhibit the same likable qualities of other novels, such as fast-pacing, suspense, romance, character development, rich descriptions of the setting, etc. These qualities exist in graphic novels, and are enhanced by the visual aspects from the artist.

While I understand that graphic novels do not appeal to many people, I still think it's worth a shot for us librarians to shine some more light on them. Some adult readers may not be aware of this format, and we can introduce them to a new way of reading.

This may not be too "deep" of a topic, but it is definitely worth thinking about.

Kim, Ann. "Graphic Grown up." Library Journal (1976) 134, no. 13 (August 2009): 20-2. Library Lit & Inf Full Text, WilsonWeb (accessed February 20, 2010).


SLIS Guy said...

This is an interesting topic to me! I can't say that I have read at all in this genre and felt hugely impressed when I heard a librarian on a show discussing graphic novels in depth. For all I know, she could have loaded up on a few seminal articles, but she seemed to have read fairly widely. As valuable as I think readers' advisory is, I sometimes despair of learning enough to be effective at it. You've highlighted another article to give us pause for thought.

Andrea Japzon said...

Great stuff for next year's S524 Syllabus. Thanks for the post.