Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Does a Graphic Novel "Count" as a Book Read?

 I have a question for everyone that would be best presented as a poll question, but since Blogger software doesn't make that an easy thing to do (at least I can't figure out how to do it), let's just do it the hard way.  

In all the years I've been reading, the number of graphic novels I've read may now have finally used up all the fingers on one hand. And the one that accomplished the trick was not really a graphic novel; instead,I would call it a graphic biography. It was this 155-page "comics biography" of science fiction author Philip K. Dick:


Despite my admiration for several of Philip K. Dick's science fiction novels, I knew almost nothing about the man's personal life before I picked up this condensed version of his life. To the book's credit, I feel that I now have a solid feel for how all of Dick's personal problems with mental illness, drugs, and alcohol so directly influenced his work - and resulted in five marriages. I may not have a lot of hard, factual detail to back up my impressions but the illustrations added a great deal of depth to the limited text, and I'm pleased with how much better I now know Philip K. Dick, the man. 

So why do I still feel guilty about counting anything but the longest graphic novel as a "book read"? It even took me a few years to stop feeling guilty about counting audiobooks, so maybe this is not even an issue for most readers. 

So my question is this one: Is it legitimate to count a graphic novel that you spent maybe 90 minutes with as a book read when compiling your numbers for the year? 

I will be happy with a simple "yes" or "no," but would appreciate any comments you want to add to your votes. Thanks for participating.

13 comments:

  1. If I pick up a middle grade fiction book or a short romance that only takes me an hour or two to read, I count them. So I say YES. Count the graphic novel. You read it, you enjoyed it, count it as a read. Besides, no one's going to audit your list but you. Include what you want on it.

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  2. Oh my gosh, YES! Some of the best I've read in recent years have been graphic nonfiction, and I have loved them.

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  3. YES! Of course they count as do kids books, audio books etc.

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  4. Yes, absolutely. Like Lark said, no one's going to audit your list, it yours and yours alone. Up to you what you include. And I didn't know any of that about Philip K. Dick...

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  5. Yes! I even count the ones I have read that have no words at all- just pictures.

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  6. Well, it's unanimous here and on Twitter, both. That's good to see. I think the worst response to have received would have been a mixed one, especially something lie a 50-50 split. Makes me feel better about including graphic novels and the likes in my personal stats. As some of you have said, a really well don graphic novel or nonfiction book can be every bit as useful and gratifying as a more traditional approach to a subject.

    My thanks to everyone who has responded to the question.

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    1. I was thinking about comics - like Calvin and Hobbes, Gary Larson's, For Better or For Worse and how they are as engaging as any book! And I know you agree!I just searched and found Lynn Johnston and she is posting comics online now! https://www.fborfw.com/

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    2. For sure, Nan. I used to look forward to a new one of those every day in the paper...back when newspapers were still a thing. Thanks for that link. I'll check it out.

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  7. Absolutely yes! Like all the other responses, I always count graphic memoirs, biographies, and even a graphic edition of Pride & Prejudice in my reading numbers.

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    1. I don't know why I've always been reluctant to count that kind of thing; it goes all the way back to when I first started listening to books on tape despite how much I enjoyed listening to them on my lone commutes to work every day.

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  8. I am with everyone else, Yes, they count. I can understand why it would seem to be "cheating" to count something that takes so little time to read (sometimes). However, I read two graphic novels Whiteout Vol 1 and 2 by Greg Rucka, that were quick reads but then I had to read them two or three times to fully understand the story. I don't pick up on graphic novel stories easily; my son can explain them to me beautifully after one reading. Really irritates me.

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    1. Thanks for your input, Tracy. I sort of rationalize counting them, too, because some of the books I read are over 500 pages long...sometimes much longer...and so it all kind of averages out in the end, I suppose.

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