Saturday, January 9, 2016

On reading what you want.




Last year I began my obsession with books that held both pictures, and words. 

Yes friends, I toed the comic and graphic novel waters. I inched my way in, starting with things that were popular and well-received, then slowly treading into deeper water. What I found astounded me. Suddenly, there was a whole new world of media to appreciate. I had my novels, I had my trades and my floppies, and life was good.

Then, guilt set in.

To those of you who set reading goals on Goodreads, or BookLikes, or any of the various places us bookworms inhabit, you'll understand what I'm about to say. For a lot of us, that number matters. Whether we are willing to admit it out loud or not. We feel a sense of accomplishment when that number edges towards our goal, and worry when we aren't quite keeping up with the pace we should be. That number, if you're like I am, matters.

Which is why, once I realized that I was reading graphic novels and comics more often than novels, I started to feel guilty. Was it still fair for me to count those toward my goal? Could a 32 page comic book hold the same "1 book read" status on my goal progress bar as a 400 page novel? Was I, and this word always bothers me, CHEATING?

The answer, of course, is no. It took me a long while to understand that though.

After a lot of thought, and debate on doing things like waiting until I'd read a volume worth of comics to mark them as a book on my site of choice, I decided that... well... it just didn't matter. Who else is holding me to this crazy strict set of guidelines, other than myself? No one. Just me. Which of course means that I can read what I want.

Oh look. Freedom. Let's say it again. I can read what I want.

A comic isn't less than a novel. A novel isn't more than a comic. They are different ways of experiencing the same thing and, if I'm being honest, both are equally amazing. I stopped carrying about that looming number, and just started enjoying what I was reading.

Read what you want. Enjoy it. That's all that matters.

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