Stretching My Reading Habits: Manga


Photos by Deb Watley–Emma by Kaoru Mori

A couple of my sons enjoy reading manga and watching anime. So before Christmas I was in the manga/graphic novel aisle of a local bookstore helping one son find a present for the other.

I also found a book for me.

I’ve read comics and graphic novels before, but never manga. I was under the impression that all manga was Japanese action/adventure stories like ones my sons follow.

I was wrong.

Emma caught my eye. I suppose partly because of the soft colors. Partly because it was a hardback book surrounded by paperbacks. But, it was the name, Emma, that made me pull it off the shelf for a closer look. I think I expected it to be a graphic novel version of Jane Austen’s Emma.

Wrong again.

Emma is an original story by Kaoru Mori, a Japanese mangaka–a manga artist. It’s the story, set in England in the late 1800s, of a maid and a wealthy man who fall in love but are separated by their socio-economic classes.

So, you ask, what is manga? According to my son, manga is a Japanese graphic novel. Although anime includes any animated tv show or movie, it’s generally known as Japanese animation.

Manga, like graphic novels, is a very broad category. It’s written for young kids, teens (young adult/YA), and adults. It consists of all the literary genres: adventure, sci fi/fantasy, mystery, romance, historical fiction, contemporary, etc.

Emma is a YA historical fiction romance.

Something else that separates manga from other graphic novels? It’s read from right to left–the pages, the illustration windows, and even the speech bubbles.


Manga stories are read from right to left, and all page turns come from the left.


A glimpse inside

I requested and received the book for Christmas, and I read it one day last week. In fact, I stayed up late to finish it.

It was fun to read, though sometimes I had to remind myself to read from right to left. What a fun way to read historical fiction, and a good way to stretch my reading habits!

For more info:

About manga and anime

Do you read different categories or genres to stretch yourself? What was your most recent read outside of your comfort zone?


  1. Pingback: Classic Stories and Manga | Deb Watley

Leave a Reply