Why wait for the 2020s?

You’d think it was Valentine’s Day already.  I can practically see the little cartoon hearts and Cupids floating around. 

The reason:  two Christmas-gift Kindles and their newly smitten recipients in my family.  With these devices on site (neither belongs to me), our Focus Quotient has declined markedly.  Whenever the slightest lull in conversation, pet activity, or televised sports occurs, the Kindle owner instantly re-fixates on that little screen.  Every so often, my own reading, working, or thought is interrupted by a delighted exclamation–again, not from me–about some just-realized feature of the e-reader.

I’m happy for them, really I am.  But the non-Kindle world still has its own diversions.

One example is the library’s Graphic Novels collection for adult readers.  Still located on second floor, the GNs just emerged from the far side of the circulation counter to a showier location beside the New Fiction shelf at the top of the stairs.  With this shift from a “you know where to find them if you like them” venue to the new “Who knew? Try one!” locale, we’re hoping for a Kindle or Nook-like response–discovery and excitement for browsers.

Graphic Novels are for everyone, even if everyone doesn’t know this yet.  These illustrated stories represent a vast range of style and content.  More than just comic books (not that comics aren’t great) graphic novels offer long-running series, take on social issues, create fantasy worlds, and experiment with new visual techniques.  I’m a certain type of GN novel reader; I don’t care for manga or its filmed counterpart, anime.  That segment of the collection I’ll leave to the those with a proper appreciation.  On the other hand, Persepolis is a favorite.

Here is a wonderful list from Graphic Novel Reporterfull of intriguing GN possibilities.

My second non-Kindle find almost qualifies as a Graphic Novel; instead, you’ll find it in the New Fiction section.

Admirers of Nick Bantock’s lavishly illustrated Griffin and Sabine books should look for The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston.  Every single page of Scrapbook is covered with ticket stubs, magazine clippings, photographs, report cards–a museum-like array of 1920s ephemera.  With artfully arranged pages and brief typed captions, Preston reveals Frankie’s adventures (and misadventures) from 1920 through 1928.  I would love to see more books like this one.

You can follow up with Sophie Kinsella’s Twenties Girl, Carola Dunn’s Daisy Dalrymple series, or Kerry Greenwood’s  Phyrne Fisher series.  Actually, Hildegarde Dolson’s hilarious We Shook the Family Tree (out of print, sadly) features the most Frankie-like narrator–who claims that the very day she arrived in New York City, the stock market crashed. 

My guess is that Hildegarde would have liked manga but Frankie wouldn’t.  But I’m pretty sure that both would-be sophisticates, given the option, would have gladly traded their daring stashes of cigarettes and lip rouge for an e-reader.  

Leave a Reply