I’ve loved the public library in my sleepy little New England town since we moved here eight years ago. It has a huge kids’ section, of which I’ve taken advantage of since my boy was old enough to start following along with books. Now that he’s old enough to read to himself we make a regular habit of bringing a library haul home, only now I also make a point to bring books home for myself. Namely graphic novels.
Our library has a great graphic novel section for both kids and adults, though the kids’ section is bigger (which is fine by me), but I was surprised to see the depth of what was available. I was largely accustomed to seeing graphic novels at book stores and comic shops, and at the time it didn’t cross my mind to look for anything significant at my public library. Boy, was I missing out on a great resource. There are a handful of superhero trade paperbacks, sure, but the majority of the selection is the grand scope of what the genre has to offer; biographies of historical figures, award-winning stories, experimental comics, autobiographical work, you name it.
I was able to read Marjane Satrapi’s excellent Persepolis, Jim Henson’s weirdly wonderful Tale of Sand, and the haunting Once Upon a Time in France by Fabien Nury and Sylvain Vallee. There were a few others I didn’t enjoy so I won’t mention them here (I’m not in the business of negative reviews these days), but I was able to try them out and not feel like I wasted my money. Because it’s free. With every one of us being nickel-and-dimed for everything in our existence these days, it’s almost disarming to be allowed to borrow something without cost. Did I not enjoy this book? Big deal, it didn’t cost me a dime, and taking out lots of books helps the library anyway.
So get yourself a library card if you don’t already have one and go to your local library. They probably have some graphic novels you’ve never seen before, and they’re probably hidden gems. And if they’re not great or best-kept secrets, who cares? You’re using a free resource to help you discover new things and determine what you do and don’t like. The opportunity to read more comics and help an invaluable public resource show how vital it truly is? That’s a win-win in my book.
Read more comics.