In the end all my research into what to read for the graphic novel category of the reading challenge was thrown out the window when I visited my local library.
It has just reopened after a ‘renovation’. I’ve put that in inverted commas because it didn’t really have a renovation. We’ve got a new civic centre and so they have moved the library entrance to be part of this new complex. They could have made the library so beautiful but instead they have done nothing. The walls are beige. The shelves are beige. The staff are beige. And there are not enough seats. Or books.
That said they do have about nine shelves (three bays) of graphic novels, all looking really new and barely read. They didn’t have any of the ones I had been looking at online, ones I had been thinking I may read, but they did have three I thought looked interesting and so despite there only being one graphic novel category on the list I borrowed all three anyway.
This is the one I chose to read first.
However, there is some contention in my household about just how many graphic novels I can read for this challenge. I’ve found another with a number in the title and could read a third as the book I can read in a day. Apparently this is unsportsmanlike, according to my husband at least. I’m not so sure. I picked up all three at the library because they looked good and I wanted to read them. One of them is really long and I think it could count.
What’s the consensus?
And now to the review portion of this blog.
I should say upfront that I don’t read a lot of graphic novels. The ones I have read are those I consider classics of the genre – Maus, Anya’s Ghost and Persepolis. I think I have read a couple more too but they can’t have been that memorable. I’m not really into Manga or the comic book superhero style graphic novel and so I feel I am a bit limited in what I can choose to read. I also refuse to read graphic novel version of prose novels. Yes, they provide great access to literature for people who may not necessarily be able to get through Shakespeare, but I don’t consider them real graphic novels.
I enjoyed Empire State for its use of colour and flashback. And the two are inextricably linked. At least I think so. One thing I find hard with graphic novels is the timeline. And that’s my problem, not a graphic novel one. I am never quite sure what order to read the cells in and because there are no chapters or breaks usually I am not sure if things are happening chronologically or all over the place.
So if I did read this properly I think the red pages are flashback and the blue are taking place in the present. If I’m right this works really well and helps me figure out how the character feels and what they are thinking. The red and blue also work really well with the love themes that underlie the plot.
I like to think that the end is open and I choose to ignore the brackets of the subtitle and say that. It is a love story. But then again, perhaps not.
Coming up on my next blog: I’m a lot more impatient than I thought.