At the beginning of the year I wrote about my “discovery” of manga because I found a book titled Emma, which I wrongly thought was a version of Jane Austen’s story.
The Emma I had found is a delightful historical fiction series set in Britain around 1900, created by Kaoru Mori. I read book one in the series, where the title character is a maid who loves a man above her station in life.
But, guess what? I recently discovered there is a manga version of Jane Austen’s Emma! This is an adaption illustrated by Po Tse and published in Udon Entertainment’s Manga Classics series.
I think manga is a wonderful way to introduce well-loved stories to readers who wouldn’t normally read classics.
Have you read any classics or old favorites in an unusual format?
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.
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.
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:
Do you read different categories or genres to stretch yourself? What was your most recent read outside of your comfort zone?