It’s a quiet afternoon at home on one of the days of the long Dussera weekend we’ve just had. I am sorting through and rearranging my bookshelves in an attempt to make space for my ever-growing number of books. The first thing I do is to remove all the books from their shelves and separate them genre-wise. Soon, there are piles of books grouped all over the room.
It is a beautiful sight. 🙂
Now comes the difficult part. I need to identify books that I can bear to part with and give away to libraries or to people who want them. Progress is slow, as I get distracted by some of my favourite books among them, often opening them to read passages and lines. It’s like meeting old friends, you know.
The afternoon passes by pleasurably as I move from book pile to book pile, genre to genre. The last pile of books are all Graphic Novels of varying sizes. As I sort and stack them by size and series, I am amazed at just how many of them there are.
“How did it get to be so much? When did it even start?” I ask myself as I stare at the now sorted books in this genre.
Even as I ask myself these questions, I know the answers. For some people, book collections grow and multiply consciously. In my case, they sneak up on me — I am never aware of a book collection in the making till my annual cleaning, sorting and rearranging of bookshelves happens. Sometimes, someone else has to point out that I have a collection in the midst of all my books. As I look at the books once again (PS. the photograph above only shows part of my Graphic Novel collection), I realise that though quite a few of them were purchased in the last couple of years, it is a collection that began 3 decades back.
The first Graphic Novels in my collection were these Illustrated Classics that my brother gifted to me sometime in the early 1980s.
My Graphic Novel collection grew very slowly; the next set of graphic novels added to the above was purchased nearly a decade later in the 1990s — 4 of Agatha Christie’s crime novels presented in a graphic format. And so the collection grew in one’s and twos as I picked up Graphic Novels based on friends’ recommendations, reviews and impulse buys at bookshops. And never, in all these years, did I realise that a collection was building slowly Graphic Novel by Graphic Novel.
Perhaps one of the reasons why I didn’t realise about the collection is because all the books fit in some other genre as well.
Mythology / Mythological Fiction… Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers presents Loki’s perspective on his rivalry with his older brother Thor, life at Asgard, his insatiable lust for power, his conflicted sentiments toward his wife Sif, his longing for and resentment towards his father, Odin, and much more…
Memoirs… At the age of 23, the author discovers that her father who she believes to have died when she was young is alive. This revelation leads to a disarming examination of her life through flashbacks and some brutally honest self reflection. Calling Dr. Laura is a compelling read and one that I intend to do a full review on soon.
Sub-altern Studies… A Gardner in the Wasteland is a based on Jotiba Phule’s 1873 work, “Slavery”. Perhaps, India’s first graphic book based on a work of non-fiction, this book is a scathing attack on India’s caste system. It traces the history of Brahmin domination in Hinduism from the perspective of a Dalit is is one of the finest books on Dalit Literature available today.
Art and the artist… Vincent is all about the Van Gogh’s most intense and creative period that he spent in Arles, Provence. Van Gogh’s attacks of mental illness, his interaction with friend and fellow artist Paul Gauguin, and his observations of life around him is beautifully illustrated and presented. This is another book that I need to write a full review on.
Fairy Tales … Imagine all the fairy tale characters in modern day New York (where else 😉 ) trying to live amongst people like us. Fables is an intense series and richly illustrated and I. Am. Hooked. to it.
How I got introduced to Fables is a tale of serendipity. A few months back, I had gone to pick up some comics and graphic novels for my friend Raghav from Mihir who was looking to sell his entire collection. While I selected the comics, Mihir and I got chatting about graphic novels. As I was leaving, Mihir handed Vol. 9 of the Fables series to me with just these words: “You’ll like this. But read it from Vol. 1.”
Mihir was wrong. I didn’t like it. I loved it and over the next few months, I have been buying the series, issue by issue. There are 24 issues in all till date and I am currently on No. 11. Still a long way to go !
The above is just a tiny sampling of the genres that I have the Graphic Novels in. There are others on the environment, politics, coming of age, feminism, the Mahabharata, the Ramayana, etc. It is a varied and actually a very rich collection, if I may say so myself. And therein lies my shelving dilemma — just where do I shelve them? Under graphic novels or under Art or Classics or Mythology or Politics or anything else as the case may be? Obviously, I can physically shelve them under only one category.
That’s when I recall a friend telling me about Goodreads and their multiple shelving system. While I do have a Goodreads account, I haven’t really explored it. I decide that this would be the perfect opportunity to test it out. I pull out the Dell Venue Tablet and download the Goodreads App. As I familiarse myself with the functioning of the App, I am delighted to find that it has a barcode reader. What this essentially does is that on scanning the barcode, the book is identified; all that I have to do then is to ‘shelve’ it in the appropriate category(ies)/genres on Goodreads.
And so I begin the shelving on Goodreads. Its not exactly smooth sailing as some of the books are old and either have no barcode or have barcodes that are not recognised. The details of such books will have to entered manually and I leave this task for another time. Once the Goodreads shelving under multiple categories is done, I physically shelve the books under Graphic Novels.
It’s a win-win situation: the simpler shelving at home makes it easier for me to physically keep track of the book in a particular genre; the multiple shelving on Goodreads tells me what the book is all about exactly by shelving it in more than one genre. 🙂
Another weekend is coming up and I’m looking forward to completing the task on Goodreads. Once the Graphic Novels are shelved there and categorised, it’ll be time to move on to books from other genres in my collection.
I can’t wait. 😀
So tell me, do you read Graphic Novels? Do you have a collection? How do you categorise and shelve your books? I want to to know !
The Dell Venue Tablet that I talk about in this post was sent to me as part of the Dell blogger review programme.