When someone tells me they are reading a book, I imagine a 200+ page novel with writing taking up the whole page on every page. You?
Often with BookTube I will be watching a video and someone will say they have read 15 books that month and I will think “wow, that’s loads”, usually though it turns out that they have “read” a lot of graphic novels, and I’m disappointed.
From my point of view, a graphic novel is essentially a longer/bigger version of a comic. Most people would say they “read” a comic however, so is it fair to say the same with a graphic novel? Or is it fair in some contexts but not others? Fair in the general population but not on BookTube for example?
If you go to a movie with subtitles do you say you saw the movie or read the movie? You say you saw it. If you go to a gallery and there are notes/explanations beside the painting/photo/sculpture, do you say you read the piece or saw the piece? You say you saw it. So if a graphic novel is mostly pictures, why say you read it when you wouldn’t say you read a movie?
I think it is fair to say that graphic novels take as much work as a traditional novel, but so do lots of things and we aren’t calling them novels or claiming to read them. Then again, if you aren’t going to say you read a graphic novel what term can you use? Saying you “experienced” it seems a bit pretentious, saying you “looked” at it suggests a quick glance at the cover. So what is right?
From what I have seen on BookTube I think I am probably in the minority thinking that it isn’t really fair to count graphic novels amongst more traditional books. If however we decided that they don’t compare and therefore shouldn’t be called novels, what should we call them? Graphic collections? Comic collections? What do you guys think?