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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Murder Me Dead by David Lapham

Bookcase 16's Graphic Novel (i.e. comic) Murder Me Dead was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be. I was expecting to give it 1 out of 10 but instead I give it 5.

That said I won't be rushing out to read adult comics because it's a limited form of story being mainly centred around pictures superimposed with the odd word. Murder Me Dead actually had a proper storyline, plot, characters, dialogue and chapters like a normal book, it wasn't War and Peace but it held my interest more or less throughout. Sometimes it was hard to figure out what was happening from pictures alone, and I had to keep flicking back to make sure certain characters were the person I thought they were. But I often have that problem in conventional fiction books, especially when there is a giant cast (I've given up reading War and Peace on at least two occasions because I just get overwhelmed by the sheer number of people in it!).

The effort of drawing up to 20 pictures a page must be immense. It's a huge achievement for one person to publish something of this scale. I imagine it would probably appeal to more "arty" than "literary" people", and if I had to pigeon hole myself in either camp it would definitely be literary. I don't expect to read many comics again but it's been a interesting aside and I won't be so dismissive of them I hope in the future.

Bookcase 17 actually saw me skip a case because the second case in the language section of Dorking library contains entirely audio books, sometimes with an accompanying text to help you learn the language. I did say at the beginning that I was only going to read prose and poems, and not reference books like dictionaries and phone books. I've already skipped "maps" on my route so far, a very useful section of the library, which I often make use of when travelling, but obviously outside the scope of his project. I suppose I have already made an exception for "graphic novels", but I draw the line at language courses because they are not written prose. I don't want to have to devote the next month to learning Italian!

My omission of the second bookcase still left the first bookcase in the language section. I've been quite impressed how many cases so far have contained something I have already read, or at least an author I have already read or part read.  I didn't expect to find anything in Languages but there was: The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Stephen Tinker.

I think I found The Blank Slate a bit hard going from what I recall so I picked something hopefully a bit lighter this time: Spell It Out by David Crystal.

I enjoyed Bill Bryson's Mother Tongue about the evolution of English, and this is a similar subject matter except it concentrates on spelling rather than the language as a whole. I am always fascinated by books that explain why the world today is the way we find it, and English is such a fundamental part of my life, I am looking forward to see how spelling evolved. This is probably the first example so far of a book that I might have chosen anyway during the normal course of my reading.

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