I've been setting up my Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge recently, but I've been really stuck on just how low/ high to set my goal.
The reason that I feel so stuck on this is that each year I'm reading more and more comics, collected volumes at least. I have a nice, comfy collection in the bookshelf right next to my bed, Chew and Saga included, and a neat (and by neat I mean jumbled up among all of my other library books) pile of books that I got from the public library to read over break, Fables and Unwritten included.
There are a lot of them, not gonna lie. Chew has seven volumes out, so far, and the first five made their way onto last year's Goodreads Reading Challenge. Each one took me somewhere around an hour, maybe an hour and a half depending on how long I linger to look at the artwork.
When I did Goodreads Reading Challenges in the past, adding them to the list always felt like cheating to me. I read a lot of manga in middle school and early high school, which is where my comics kick really got started, and they were never really treated like "real" books, at least not by the people surrounding my me and my friends.
-Our little anime club was treated like a joke by the librarians (which, granted, we were, but there's no need to be rude about a bunch of middle school girls just having fun.)
-Public library manga collections always seem to be poorly taken care of and missing volumes (all too often number one? Really?)
-My friend was allowed to choose manga for an English project, but she had to read the entire series (at least 10+ volumes at the time) while all of the other students just had to pick one novel.
I've read dozens of volumes of manga in my life, but not one has made it's way onto my Goodreads account.
Why is that? Why is there this notion that comics don't count as "real" books, or that the time invested in reading them isn't the same as the time invested in reading a "real" book? How come they all need to be reclassified in school libraries and on recommended reading lists as "graphic novels" in order to be taken seriously by teachers, librarians, school officials, and parents?
The reason I'm stuck is because there's still that nagging feeling in the back of my head that I'm cheating on my Goodreads list by adding comics. I could spend days holed up in my room, pouring over volume after volume, and a part of me would still feel guilty, like those books "don't count" or "shouldn't count" towards my final goal because they're typically shorted, are full of pictures (duh), and manage to pack their plot into fewer words than other forms of storytelling.
I'm finally starting to come into my own about what books I want to read. I turned 20 late last year, and I'm moving away from the young adult genre not because I think that I'm "too old" for it (lies), but because many of the new stories coming have stopped capturing my interest. Comics are now filling that gap, and I know that to neglect them on my Goodreads simply because other people would think that I was taking the easy way out (people who have obviously never picked up a comic book in their life if they believe that) wouldn't be right on any level.
I've spent too long reading, and blogging, for other people, and both are hobbies that I need to reclaim for myself. This is how a start: a 40-book goal and an understanding that I have to start doing things for myself.