I’ve never really set targets for my reading before, beyond a general expectation that I’d read at least a hundred books a year, but last year a friend pushed me to challenge myself to commit to 150. According to Goodreads I surpassed it, but according to my own count I read 135. I read twenty-seven graphic novels that I hadn’t added to the count. For the past three years, I’ve listed the graphic novels I’ve read, but not included them in the total number of books I read.
This was, admittedly, due to a foolish prejudice I’d acquired that graphic novels somehow didn’t count as “proper books”. Most of them can be read in about an hour, often they’re picture (rather than text) heavy, and though I read comics prodigiously in high school (Marvel universe FTW), I couldn’t quite convince myself to put them at the same level as the classic lit I was also reading.
I know, I know. It was snobbish and stupid. There are tons of wonderful and highly literate examples in the medium. Marjane Satrapi’s Persopolis, and Blankets by Craig Thompson, Skim, by Mariko Tamaki and Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series is rife with literary allusions, both overt and more subdued. It’s not all men wearing underwear over their spandex leotards and large breasted women bursting from their flimsy costumes. Graphic novels count. Books like Kate Beaton’s excellent collection of comics Hark! A Vagrant count.
So, for the first time I’m including comics and graphic novels in my official tally of books read. I feel like I’ve grown as a person.