Ambassador of Books ~ Book Club Madam ~ Blogger Gal

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea

Like most of you, I've been seeing raves about graphic novels for quite a while now but I (maybe like you?) really wasn't interested in trying one out. Then I began reading about the trend toward memoir writing in this genre and my interest was piqued.

When I read this review of Pyongyang by Guy Delisle I decided that it would be my first foray into the world of graphic novels (and that means it counts toward the Irresistible Review Challenge). The book is Guy's recollections of the two months he spent working in North Korea; it's a humorous - and sometimes sad - look at a highly repressive society.

I had a hard time getting into this book at first ... I kept picking it up and putting it back down again. The other night I decided to sit down and really read for a while and THAT made all the difference. Once I read several pages consecutively - without interuption - I was hooked. I completed the remaining 3/4 of the book before I went to bed.

The biggest thing for me was getting used to the lack of words. What I mean is that I'm used to lots of words on a page, lots of words to convey meaning. In graphic novels the illustrations convey just as much meaning as the words themselves,which seem to be used sparingly. It was hard for me to slow down my reading and take in the pictures, but that's what you have to do in this kind of book.

I wouldn't say that I'm a graphic novel convert but I did enjoy this one. I've ordered another from the library ... we'll see what I think after that one.

If you've reviewed this one, I'd love to post your link here - just let me know.
here's a review from the In Their Shoes Reading Challenge

7 comments:

Rebecca Reid said...

I'd love to read this one! I just finished Maus and Persepolis and I enjoy the idea of graphic novels but not a "graphic novel convert" either. Because I'm very interested in political issues, though, this one is on my list.

Nowhere near me, though--I"m in Australia now...

Julie said...

Hmm. Although I'm perfectly willing to read from practically any other genre, I have a real mental block when it comes to graphic novels. I find the whole concept so... unappealing. But now you've got me thinking maybe I should try one.

Laura said...

I'm like you--I've been hearing a LOT about graphic novels lately, but for some reason, I don't have much desire to read one. I'm glad you decided to try one out! I wonder what would a really good one to read for a first time graphic novel reader? I'll be interested to see if you do become a "convert"!

Heather J. said...

I've heard that Persopolis is a great one to start with (the only reason I didn't is that it wasn't available at the library and Pyongyang was).

I don't think I'll become a convert, but I'm glad I tried this one out. I feel like I'm really a "book snob" most of the time, and I'm trying to break out of that mold. I'm not going to rule out ANY type of book without trying it at least once.

If any of you DO decide to try out a graphic novel, please drop back in here and let me know about it. :)

Bybee said...

I read this earlier this year and reviewed it...I'll get back to you with that link. I wasn't too interested in the DMZ tour, but after I read Pyongyang, now I have to go to North Korea. I was out with a bunch of American women last night and they were all laughing about the horrified reaction they get from their families when they announce their plans to visit North Korea for the day!

Bybee said...

Red face! I just realized that my review is the one that propelled you to read Pyongyang!

Darla D said...

This one sounds very interesting - I'll definitely be checking it out! I added your review to my list of links for the IR Challenge.

I had a bit of difficulty transitioning to the graphic novel when I first started reading them, too - because I'm so text oriented! But when I learned to slow down and approach them as a sort of hybrid between, say, books and artwork, it got a lot easier. Now sometimes I feel like reading a regular book, and sometimes I feel like a graphic novel. It's fun!

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