Recently reported that my local library had closed its graphic novels section. http://www.arthurranson.com/blog/stolen-comics Seems I was misinformed or they have had a change of heart since on my last visit there it was in all its glory with a wide variety of great books. Since I am presently reading – ahem- a Dostoyevsky novel and feeling reading time constrained I restricted my self to taking two. But two fat ones. “Sabrina’ written and drawn by Nick Ornaso and . . ‘Logicomix – An Epic Search for Truth’ written by Arostolos Doxiadis and Christos H. Papa Dimitriou, art by Alecos Papadatos and Annie Di Donna. I first read Sabrina’, it having been much publicized when it was nominated for The Man Booker Prize http://www.arthurranson.com/blog/man-booker I need advice on this. For a book that has received so much praise I am wondering what it is about me that found ‘Sabrina’ such a chore to read. The frequent tiny lettering and the dark close-tone colouring made reading both words and pictures difficult but then I don’t have 20/20 vision. That I was occasionally confused about who the character depicted was, could be that I was not paying sufficient attention. That my heart sank when I turned a page and found another that looked just like one I had just read could be that I have got used to comics where change and action are the norm. In this story the main event, the instigating incident, has taken place elsewhere, elsewhen and off stage. Characters seem to drift in the tide of their unstated responses to that event. Small talk abounds, people spend their time doing little or nothing. Life is running on rail tracks. The characters in this book largely drift. I found myself thinking a good Gestalt therapist would help. Having said which, the book did leave me with a lasting impression. The quote “ lives of quiet desperation’” came to mind. It seemed a rather pessimistic, which does not mean un-true, view of humanity is expressed here. “Sabrina’ left me disturbed - something that cannot be said of many comics. Or any I can think of. ‘Logicomix’ had quite a different effect. It was fun to read and essentially hopeful in outlook. Having missed any coverage of this book I chose it because I have in the past enjoyed reading Bertram Russell. This book relates much of Russell’s life and examines the Mathematics and Logic he devoted his life to. Sounds scary but no, it felt accessible and a joy to read. This is not an Idiots Guide to 20th century Mathematics and Philosophy but while presenting that material provides an adventure of a mans struggle to be concise in understanding and describing reality at the same time living a personal life that is as illogical as for the rest of us. A helpful and novel addition is that all the creators of the book appear as characters in it, discussing the making of the book and reviewing their progress. You learn that ‘Manga’ is also a Greek word translating into something like ‘Jack the lad’ or ‘cool dude’. One can usually ignore blurbs on the back of book but in this case I think they are right. “the most extraordinary graphic novel” Brian Appleyard. Sunday Times “highly original” Posy Simmons “a delight to look at” Ray Monk. Spectator and so on. All good of course but I think all true.