My new friend, Betty Lou, started a book club and she asked me to join.
I was delighted. I hadn’t been in a book club for a long time. Because she is a librarian, Betty Lou knows better than most the importance of reading a variety of things and so, at the very first meeting, we read a graphic novel.
None of the members of this group are young, and this was the first graphic novel most of us had read. We weren’t sure what to say about it.
“This book is very heavy!” one member finally said.
“It’s a doorstop!” said another.
We all agreed we were not crazy about the weight of the book. I wondered if a book club should really be concerned with how much a book weighs, but I figured it was a legitimate concern if you could injure yourself by dropping it. And we did, eventually, get to what was inside.
“There were a lot of pictures,” I pointed out.
Since it was a graphic novel, this should not have been a surprise. Still, there were a lot more pictures than I expected, and I didn’t want to look at them all. I wanted to get on with the story. But the story wasn’t being told with a lot of words—it was being told with pictures. I realized this, but it didn’t make me want to look at the pictures, it just made me want more words. I began to think that I was not a good reader for graphic novels.
“Are we just too old for this?” one of the members asked. The question hung in the air.
“It’s an important story!” another member said, and we all agreed.
We talked about all the important things the book was saying, and we all agreed they were things that should be said.
“But shouldn’t it be more entertaining?” I asked.
I felt a little like the boy pointing out that the emperor had no clothes. Everyone looked a little relieved. We all agreed that it should be more entertaining than it was — at least for us. We suspected other people (younger people) might have more fun reading this than we were.
I don’t think of myself as being too old for very much. I know younger people are better at some things (anything involving technology), but I don’t consider myself too old to learn. Still, there might be things I am simply too old to enjoy. Graphic novels might be one of them. I’m not sure if that’s a bad thing or not.
There are things I know I will not try because I am no longer young — skateboarding, for instance, video games, learning more languages or how to draw. Theoretically, I could learn to do any of these things, and yet I am pretty sure I will not.
It occurs to me it would be good to take at least one of those activities off the “Things I Will Never Do” list and move it over to the “Things I Just Started Doing” list. And yet my day already seems filled with the things I’m doing, things I already enjoy.
And so I’m glad Betty Lou got us to read a graphic novel, even if it was not my favorite book. Now I can say I’ve read one, and I am reminded that there are many ways of telling stories, even if not all of those stories are interesting to me.
It was a good reminder. It’s just the sort of reminder you might expect from a librarian.
Till next time,
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