Armchair BEA 2014, Day Two: More Than Just Words


Day One of Armchair BEA was fantastic! There were so many bloggers participating with introduction posts and discussions about literature and reading. 


It was a pleasure to "cheerlead" and visit many of the blogs to contribute to the many excellent conversations underway. Found many new book quotes and TBR pile additions...and learned a lot about how the notions of what "literature" means to differs to people.

Today, the collective focus turns to the more acute concept of words--that is, the use of words in concert with other forms of expression...


More Than Just Words

There are so many mediums that feature more than just words and enhance a story in a multitude of ways. Examples may include graphic novels and comics, audiobooks, or even multimedia novels. On this day, we will be talking about those books and formats that move beyond just the words and use other ways to experience a story. Which books stand out to you in these different formats? 

In purely personal terms, this particular topic seems to come at a perfect time. I've recently rekindled an old love for comics, thanks to a couple of super astute family members who gifted me with a couple volumes of the series Saga. (They may not have known it, but growing up I was a total Image comics fangirl, so their gift couldn't have been better chosen.)

Yum.
Certainly, the purely written word holds so much potential for the individual imagination, for better or for worse. There seems to be so much power inherent in the fact that its up to the reader to invest energy into drawing those final images and directing the inner film from the "script" that an author provides. That said, graphic novels/comics can go one step further in developing the author's visual intent; it helps set up a scene in such a way that words are no longer needed as much to convey feelings and emotions. Sure, the reader still needs to contribute their imagination to produce that final moving image, but some of that is helped with the layout of frames, the depiction of movement, the use of color or black & white, water color or digital ink. If pictures are worth a thousand words, comics can be just as potent--if not more so--in the imagination they foster. The sky is still very much the limit.

Now, the leap from books to film (live action in particular) or from comic to film can be immensely enjoyable and impactful, but I think that there are more limitations imposed by reality. That particular actor can only play a vampire for so long before he ages, making for a visual paradox. And there's only so much that a young actor can do or say before things like age appropriateness come into play (one reason why a film like Ender's Game could never be adapted in more literal form). That's perhaps why for my part, I am often wary of film adaptations even as I'd be curious about a graphic novel adaptation of a book (or live action movie/show! Ex. Buffy the Vampire Slayer; woot!).

I know, I know. Doesn't make a terrible lot of sense, but there ya go. :-)

14 comments:

  1. I'm really weary of film adaptations. As you saw in my post, I get let down! There are only a handful of adaptations that I truly like and only one that I prefer the film series to the book series. It's really difficult to give up what you've had in your mind while reading and accept what's on the screen, especially when they are polar opposites!

    Kristen @ Pretty Little Pages

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    1. Exactly...nine times out of ten (or perhaps even 10/10 ^_^), the images we conjure in our minds are bigger better and more impactful for the individual than CGI usually accomplishes.

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  2. Meh. Film adaptations. They never seem to get it right. (With the exception of The Hunger Games and a few select others).
    Nice post!
    AH@badassbookreviews

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    1. Heheh. Si. So rarely do they even come close. I'm always wary when I hear of a live-action film adaptation of a popular book/comic, especially for speculative themes. It's really, really hard to preserve all those fantastical elements unless (or perhaps even if) CGI is involved. :-\

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  3. I must confess that I haven't really read graphic novels. I want to - I just can never decide which one to start with!!

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    1. Not sure which ones to start with? Ooh, what a delightful conundrum to be in! :-) Looking at some of the stuff you've read, I'd recommend some of the following classic graphic novels: V for Vendetta; Sandman; Persepolis; Watchmen; and Maus. I've also heard great things about Stumptown and Criminal, Vol. 6: The Last of the Innocent.

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  4. I just can't get into comics, but I liked reading why you like them. It helps me understand why they're popular.

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    1. Yep, I hear ya. :-) Just like with novels, comics are not everyone's bag. But hopefully there's something in the comic format that might find its way to you and pique interest someday! ^_^

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  5. I have never been able to get that into reading comics (unless the Archie comics I read back in the early 90's count) and I don't read graphic novels. My husband reads graphic novels sometimes, mostly The Walking Dead, and loves them. I figure maybe one day I'll give them a shot. I don't know. They seem pretty violent and I don't really enjoy the pictures.
    Ashley (Closed the Cover)

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    1. Archie totally counts! ^_^ Heard such great things about the Walking Dead comics. Yer right, pretty intense imagery, from what I can tell. Perhaps a good thing it's in black and white. heh

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  6. I adore graphic novels. Sandman was my first and now I am working my way through the Fables universe. There have been a lot of side jaunts though. :D

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    1. Sandman!! :-) Classic. I have been wondering about the Fables series... enjoying what you've read thus far?

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  7. I don't read (English) comics only manga, but I'm seeing Saga everywhere so I might have to check that one out :)

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    1. Ooooh, I'd definitely recommend Saga even more, then. It definitely has some manga (and anime, even) sensibilities.

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