Ode to New Genres


The cast. Yes, it’s a book about superheroes, but no, it’s not what you think.

I was in that happy place of having finished one good book and thinking about what the next one would be last night, when I asked my neighbor/friend if I could take a look at his bookshelf. As he was recommending titles to me, his brother (who’s in town) strolled past and jokingly pulled out the graphic novel Watchmenby Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Maybe because nothing else was calling to me, I thought “What the hell,” and decided to give it a shot. I think the scales were tipped out of guilt, if anything: I teach a course called Literature for Adolescents and every time we come to the graphic novel unit I feel like somewhat of an impostor because I’ve read only the graphic novels on the syllabus, and no others (they include PersepolisAmerican Born Chinese, and Maus, by the way– all of which are awesome).

But holy cow. I had no idea that graphic novels could be like this. The art, the layering of dialogue, the fascinating and creative interplay of image and text… just, wow. I can’t put it down. (Those who know me or live near me know that I’m really loving a book when I read it while walking the dog, or strolling to the bus stop.)

So, I just wanted to give a little shout out to unusual genres. It’s so easy to get stuck in a literature rut, but last night a whim took me out of it and introduced me to one of the most interesting books I’ve read in a long time. What other interesting genres do I not know enough about?

P.S. If you’re now considering reading it, Watchmen is a violent and dark book. It’s probably not for everyone.


My favorite character so far, Dr. Manhattan