Thursday, March 11, 2010

Booking Through Thursday--Illustrious

Today's Booking Through Thursday question is:

How do you feel about illustrations in your books? Graphs? Photos? Sketches?

I don't have a strong opinion about illustrations in my books. I guess it really depends on the book.

As a child, I loved the illustrations in my copies of Alice in Wonderland (the originals by Sir John Tenniel), and in The Borrowers (illustrations done by Beth and Joe Krush), because they were really beautiful drawings, and I looked forward to coming across them while reading. It was like getting a wonderful little surprise every few pages. So I remember the magic of illustrations very well.

I just finished Patti Smith's memoir Just Kids, about her life in New York with Robert Mapplethorpe, which had photos sprinkled throughout. It reminded me of those reading experiences I had had as a child, enchanted by the illustrations I would come across. That's because the pictures were so great in this book--allowing a glimpse into a life, and perfectly illustrating the text. They also felt necessary, because they were often mentioned in the text, and were part of the story itself.

But generally speaking, I don't want or need illustrations for a novel. The language paints enough of a picture for me.


litlove said...

I love photos in a biography - the more the better. But like you, illustrations aren't the first thing I look for in books. I'm interested in the Patti Smith memoir - hopefully you will review that soon? :)

Anonymous said...

I've always considered photos and illustrations as bonuses. I don't need them, but I find them wonderful when they do appear.

Gentle Reader said...

litlove--I really enjoyed the Patti Smith memoir, but there was some dissent in my book group, which I will report on to you soon!

Jill--I agree, photos and illustrations can be looked at as a bonus--and a lovely surprise!

Bybee said...

I like a lot of photographs when I'm reading a biography or memoir. I flip to that section often. Otherwise, I don't really need pictures.

Grad said...

My favorite book as a child was The Tall Book Of Make-Believe. I still have my original copy, and a copy my brother gave me around my 40th birthday. Sadly, it is out of print, I believe. The enchanting illustrations of Garth Williams truly make the book the beautiful thing it is (although the poems and stories are fabulous as well). The illustrations really transported me to another world as a child. To be honest, when I look at the book today, they still do. When I read a biography or other work of non-fiction, I definintely want photos!

Gentle Reader said...

Bybee--me, too. Amazing how important the photos are to me in biography or memoir, and how little I care about pictures in fiction.

Grad--Didn't Garth Williams also do the illustrations in the Little House on the Prairie books? I loved those pictures, too!