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Kathe Douglas
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Very few USians read for pleasure as adults. So, whether or not one appreciates graphic novels, I think it's important to promote every kind of reading as pleasurable: magazines, blogs, the Guinness book of World Records. Deriding a format as too easy reinforces the idea that reading shouldn't be pleasurable, which is counterproductive. Of course graphic novels don't *require* a deep visual understanding, but neither does viewing The Last Supper. Likewise, they're almost nothing but dialogue, but so are the plays of Shakespeare, which because of the tricksy language can be much more accessible as a graphic novel than as a script. The medium isn't the message, especially if the message we want to convey is that all art enriches our lives and experience. I have a child who loves novels, but balks at any non-fiction except The Superior Persons Book of Words. For her, graphic novels are a pleasant introduction to memoir, history, and science writing. The other child prefers non-fiction, she loves the acquisition of facts. For her, graphic novels are a way to enjoy long narrative story lines in discrete, satisfyingly easy-to-finish chunks. Because adult fiction is now nothing but text we forget that those lengthy Victorian tomes were then available in illustrated magazine installments, and as a set of small illustrated volumes. No format could possibly be the saving grace of children's literature. But a broad selection of formats and genres means there will be something for every literary taste. One thing you might do is make recommendations that cover multiple formats: the Tell-Tale Heart as story, audio book, graphic novel, and film. Get them to discuss what works best for them, and why.
I wrote a letter of outrage, and posted a copy on my blog. This whitewashing really bugs me. Thanks for covering it so thoroughly.
Toggle Commented Jan 20, 2010 on More on the cover art issue. at bookshelves of doom
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Jan 20, 2010