How do you feel about illustrations in your books? Graphs? Photos? Sketches?
I think illustrations are essential in some books and not in others. Non-fiction cries out for them. They enhance biographies for example. Cookery books without photos are just not as explanatory, they demonstrate how the cooked dish should look. Imagine travel books without photos or drawings – each reader would ‘see’ different places in their mind’s eye; or gardening books without examples. And art books – impossible without illustrations.
I’m not so good at interpreting graphs and diagrams, though. I need words as well. I’m not so keen on the tips in boxes that are dotted about such books as the Complete Idiot’s Guide series. I find them irritating and distracting. Maps are better – I love maps and plans in fiction as well as non-fiction.
As for fiction. I like it plain. Although, just this week I’ve been tempted to read The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana by Umberto Eco. This has a generous helping of illustrations – photos, drawings, extracts from newspapers and magazines sprinkled thoughout. And it looks as though they are essential to the plot.
(Click on the photo to see a larger and clearer picture.)
All of which brings me to graphic novels. I haven’t read any. Each time I look at the selection in a library or bookshop I can’t find any that appeal and yet other bloggers have written reams in praise of graphic novels. I loved comics as a child and liked reading the comic strips such as The Gambols and Shultz’s Peanuts with Charlie Brown. Those of you who love graphic novels – please recommend a good one to get me going, bearing in mind that I’ve looked at and discarded graphic novels of Jane Austen and other classics.