I like to read.
The categories here are based on my main insterests, but I read all kinds of things. At any given time, I'm usually reading three to five books at once - not literally, of course, but I have several going to pick up based on mood or place. I have read and enjoyed at one time or another, books in every century, almost every decade, of the Dewey Decimal System, and novels in just about every genre.
But I keep comic back to comic books.
It wasn't long ago that the idea of treating comic books as worthy of serious attention was considered laughable by most people. Even today, many people can stomach the notion only by calling them "graphic novels" and insisting that the the material bound between those covers differs significantly from the brightly colored adventures of costumed superpowered folks.
In fact, "graphic novel" is a term I don't like much (see my rant on the subject to see why), but as it has come to be the industry standard I reluctantly accept and use it here in places. But I prefer - and generally use - the term "comics." Most graphic novels are, in fact, collections of several sequential issues of some regularly published comics magazine. And many of them feature -- you guessed it -- the brightly colored adventures of costumed superpowered folks. On the other hand, many comics magazines on the stands, or even comics appearing on websites, which may or may not ever get collected into graphic novels, are mature and thoughtful.
On the other hand, there are many other graphic novels that are, in fact, quite worth reading even by those who regard the entire notion of superheroes as the ultimate in silliness. Many of those people also disdain the notion of "picture books," at least for anyone over the age of six. But this contempt and derision is slowly eroding.
This section highlights books I have read and recommend. Good reads. That was the name of a weekly column I had at one time on an earlier version of this website. The term "reads" for books and the title of this site is an homage of sorts to Dave Sim's Cerebus, which is definitely a good read.
The categories reflect my interests. I bickered with myself long and hard over whether to intermingle comics and prose works by category or pull them out into their own section. There are arguments in favor of both approaches. I've been known to sneak a copy of "From Hell" into the True Crime section at the bookstore with the other Jack the Ripper books, for instance.
However, while I still cringe whenever anyone refers to "graphic novels" as a "genre," I decided that the pictorial nature of these books does make them essentially a different art form from prose novels (yes, even those with illustrations) and I am putting them in their own separate category here.
There are three basic sources for the material found in this section: my published reviews, which are also found in the "Writing" section, pieces I wrote a decade and more ago for the original version of this website, including most of my old "This Weeks Good Read" columns, and my blog, where I'll be posting reviews on a regular basis.
There are three comics that I've created separate pages for: Cerebus, Love and Rockets, and Sandman. Maybe at some point I'll add others (I can think of a couple of others I'd like to add), but for now those are it. I badly need to update the Cerebus page, which was written just after Dave Sim finished "Guys," and doesn't even mention "Going Home," "Form and Void," "Latter Days" or "The Last Day" of this major work that was still in progress when I wrote the page but has now been complete for six years. As soon as I get this redesign applied to the entire site, fixing this will be a high priority.