If you've ever wanted to read every book in the library, maybe you should rethink that.

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It’s been a wild ride in only 28 days. I’ve been reading as much fiction as manga lately, so I didn’t get to the 6th manga challenge as presented in my original Manga Month post.

These are the mangas I explored this month:

  • Girl Got Game (also known as Power!!) by Seino Shizuru – A tasteful gender-bender. I finished most of this. I lost interest somewhere in volume 8
  • Alice 19th by Yû Watase – A fantasy about an outcast. Although I lost interest in volume 2, this was because I started the series with an actual VIZ Media translation and read volume 2 in a fan sub that was a little weird. Lesson learned: buy the series by the same publisher so you will get consistent information. I definitely want to buy the rest of the series because it looks goooood.
  • Heaven by Seino Shizuru – No idea. I quickly lost interest in this one, but the fan sub might have been at fault. It’s a cute idea, and I like fantasy, but it just didn’t wow me into staying interested.
  • Imadoki by Yû Watase – A love story involving plants. I’m still reading this. So far, it’s cute. Since my library actually has the whole series, and it’s only 5 volumes long, I’ll definitely finish it. Can’t wait!
  • Re-Gifters by Mike Carye, Sonny Liew, and Marc Hempel – A martial arts enthusiast who faces personal troubles in LA. OK, this isn’t a real manga. I didn’t know that when I reserved it online. I felt meh about this one, but high schoolers and middle schoolers would like the plot.

Hey, I never said I had to finish each series! And although I didn’t get to explore more authors, I learned a lot about my tastes. Man, I missed shôjo. Although I don’t much care for Fushigi Yugi or Ceres: Celestial Legend, Yû Watase fits my tastes.

For the next year, I’ll be on the hunt for a few mangas because I only own the first volumes of each. Dang it. And, unfortunately, I probably won’t touch any more manga until next February. There’s still that pile of books I’ve had since this summer, so I’ve got to go weed that before my second summer children’s literature challenge.

Feel free to surf my manga tag and Manga Month category on the sidebar.

In the meantime, I feel a comic book challenge is in order. ^_^


Since I last partook in manga (high school), I’ve become a much faster reader. This is a disadvantage for Manga Month. Although this art form is easy to read and tempting to read quickly, it’s important to remember that the pacing is part of the effect.

While reading Girl Got Game (better known as Power!!) by Seino Shizuru, I found it hard to get into the story. The problem? I was reading it too quickly. Scenes in which basketball was being played should go quickly, but the artist usually takes care of that in the art.

Take this page from Volume 4 of Girl Got Game. Try reading it at a slow pace, taking in each picture before moving on. Then, try whizzing through it.

source: MangaHere.com

When I read this page slowly, it matches what I see in anime shows.

Here’s another page from the same volume. The artist/author adds appropriate noise to make the scene go faster.

source: MangaHere.com

See what I mean?

Perhaps I should have started with some Yuu Watase, who is a master at pacing (and diagonal lines!). Below is an example of one character’s hurried action that turns into a pause (from Alice 19th).

source: MangaHere.com

I’ve always been biased toward shoujo anyway. ^.^ Happy reading!

I can’t read comic books. Somehow, the left-to-right reading doesn’t settle well in my brain. Dialogue is painful. I recall reading about another bookish person whose brain couldn’t process the genre, either. When I read most comic books, I instantly get a headache. There must be a name for this phenomenon.

The comics I recall being able to finish in my life were Spider-man issues, a few X-Men and Batman issues, and a specific Batman issue I had when I was little that I owned the life out of. Everything else? I can’t stand. Why is this?

I was raised on comics, not manga. And yet I always fare better with right-to-left reading in graphic novels. (Sunday comics and humorous internet comics are different.) Even if a manga has been flipped around to Western reading at an attempt to not confuse people just doesn’t sit right with me. The overall way manga is displayed seems so much better to me. The novels are more interesting as they begin, the artist breaks away from the square—er—squares of pictures. I especially love it when the artist puts two pictures on one page and divides them with a diagonal line. To me, the break in symmetry makes the novel more interactive.

Marvel comics do well to keep my interest. They don’t always stick to the cut-and dry squares. They’re great at drawing action scenes. They know how lame it is to begin a graphic novels with a villain’s monologue to a couple henchmen or a parable from a minor character who just happens to be prophetic. That’s my experience, anyway. But because of manga’s right-to-left reading, I’ll always be so much more comfortable with it, be it Japanese, Korean, or even American. If all graphic novels suddenly switched things up and did everything this way, my brain would be completely on board.

I won’t try so hard to like most Western comics that aren’t Spider-man, X-Men, or Batman. It just wouldn’t end well. Manga all the way, baby!

February is Manga Month. Why? Because I said so, that’s why.

On top of that, I’m involved in three book clubs (one of which I manage and some of which read multiple selections at a time), have many research and pleasure books still on my plate, and I just started this behemoth. That’s a lot of books.

Since childhood, I’ve set aside book titles (and actual books) to read “sometime.” When I have time. When I unearth my pages of book titles while purging my room. Recently, I unearthed an actual shoebox full of paperbacks I’d misplaced for a few years. Well, the time has come, the walrus said.

Having so much to read makes this hobby feel like an occupation. Rather than being a pleasure or a chore, it’s simply something I must do to get by in life. As a writer, reading is a guide. As a creative person, it’s an inspiration. As a human being, it keeps my brain from growing mold. It’s something I need to do. When I really think about it, it pays more than a job. It pays in experience. (Put that on your resume!)

Because I think of reading as this necessity, it doesn’t take my time away from other things I should/would/could be doing. It is my time. While I’m working on one of my novels, or stuck with a bad scene in one of the same novels, I can switch to exploring previously published material without falling behind in writing progress because delving into someone else’s work is necessary to my development. When there’s so much to read, all the better.

And so, book challenges to keep me reading are necessary to my life. It makes the occupation more fun, and awards more fulfilment than a simple past time would. Being excited for an upcoming challenge makes an occupation worth the time you give it.

In short, I declare February to be Manga Month. Why?

  • February is short. So is Manga. Makes sense.
  • February is my birth month, which I will enjoy how I like.
  • I need an excuse to read these unread series in my possession.
  • Manga needs a dedicated time on the calendar.

I plan to explore five manga series in this February’s twenty-eight days. That’s five days per series. Assuming there’s an estimate of ten books per series, that’s fifty books total! To make it more of a challenge, I’ll up the number to six series. Ooooo.

Will you join me? Would you rather make such a challenge around manga or Western comic books? Set your own number and go explore!

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