Saturday 6 February 2016

Reluctant Romantic - Graphic Novels

Katie @Doing Dewey is hosting a Reluctant Romantic challenge throughout February. The idea is to embrace a genre that you normally avoid.

Our first post is called Genre Speed Dating - what genre are you getting to know this month? Why do you want to give it a chance?

February is going to be graphic novel month on Brona's Books.

When I was a kid, visiting my Nan and Pop in their wonderful old rambling home in Bellingen was a real treat for several, very childish reasons.

One: the old bikes and scooters that we would ferret out from under the house. My sisters and I then spent the holidays racing each other around the house on these tyre-less, rough as guts, rusty old, leftovers from my mother's childhood.

Two: the giant orange tree in the backyard that seemed to be permanently loaded with fruit. To access the fruit, we had to climb up Pop's old wooden ladder onto the roof of the shed. The roof was a sweet mushy crush of rotten fruit and leaves. Pop had made a hook for us to pull down the fruit from the top of the tree. We always shared some of the fruit with the chooks in the pen below. To this day the smell of overripe oranges instantly takes me back to this place and time.

Three: my uncle's old comic books lived in one of the bedside tables in mum and dad's room. They were a mix of Archie comics and Marvel superman and batman comics. They had the usual musty smell that all books in the tropical north develop over time. They were yellowed with age, but we loved them. We would divvy them up equally, then retreat to one of the daybeds scattered around the huge verandah to read them.

It's the only time I have read (and loved) comic books.

During my early highschool years I discovered the Tintin books - I loved their mix of history and irreverence.
But Asterix bored me. And that was the end of me and graphic books.

As an adult I have tended to look down my book-snobbish nose at all graphic novels as not being proper books and therefore not worthy of my attention.

My plans for February are to reach out to graphic novels to rediscover some of my childhood love.

I will be focusing on my strengths - history, classics, bio's and non-fiction.

Any suggestions are most welcome.


  1. Anonymous6/2/16

    What an interesting 'speed date genre'challenge! Loved your memories.... All you have mentioned I can relate too. I haven't touched 'graphic' since I was a child. Memory: every Sunday when we bought the NYT Sunday papers I was allowed to pick out 1 comic to read. Archie and Jughead and 'Classic' comics were top best sellers. I'll have to rummage around to see what I can find at the library...graphic, Hmmm?

    1. Ohhh I'd forgotten the 'funnies' in the Sunday papers. 2 papers with comic sections and 4 kids - the strongest won first reading rights!

    2. Anonymous6/2/16

      I was smart....took the 'funny papers' (comic sections) andwent by myself in the bathroom...."Can't come in, I'm busy!"

    3. Ba ha ha !!

      I learnt to volunteer to be the one to run outside to buy the papers off the paper boy (now I'm really showing my age!!) that way I had first dibs at both papers :-)

  2. I liked comics as a kid too, but now graphic novels leave me cold as well. It's weird, I've really come to love verse novels (not something I ever thought I'd say)- I do have a few graphic novels ready to go but am in a bit of a reading slump at the moment, falling further behind by the day.

    1. Sounds like it's time for you to pick up an old favourite that you know you will love to get your mojo back.

  3. I'm reading this genre for the challenge too. So far I've read Maus I, Stitches by David Small, and Boxers & Saints, which were all interesting. Of these Stitches had the most accomplished artwork (and a horrifyingly compelling story). I can read them very fast because they have relatively little text -- which I think is one reason why I don't gravitate to them in general. Usually I want books that will last me more than a couple of hours. Still, I'm glad to be exploring beyond my usual genre boundaries.

  4. Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi is one that I really enjoyed, if you're looking for bios. Though you've probably already heard of that one? I've also heard that Habibi, by Craig Thompson is great - though that one is fiction. And I assume you've heard of Maus, another that I've heard great things about.

  5. I also read Archie comics when I was younger and haven't read many comics or graphic novels since. Since the genres I usually read are similar to yours, I'm excited to see what you pick up this month :)


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