March 11, 2010

The Illustrated

This week's Booking Through Thursday question: "How do you feel about illustrations in your books? Graphs? Photos? Sketches?"

I'm not sure I get the question. How could you not love any of those things? Clearly we love them or there wouldn't be so many wonderful examples. Oh sure, some are better than others but we're talking about a whole lot of books here. Walk into any big box bookstore. How many of the books don't have any kind of illustration in them? Most novels (but even many of those have maps, genealogy tables, etc.), and some of the basic nonfiction. That's about it. The great majority of books have drawings, icons, illustrations, photographs, tables, charts, and more.

This is one of the reasons I don't have an e-reader. Can you imagine the work of Allen Say in an e-book? Or pretty much anything from National Geographic? Or the intense magic of Shaun Tan? I can't.

Granted, those are highly illustrated examples. But it's hard not to love books illustrated by the likes of Maira Kalman, Lynda Barry, Marjane Satrapi, Gustave Dore, Arthur Rackham, and Edward Gorey. I mean I could write a whole book on just the work of Barry Moser.

So yes, I love the illustrations and photographs, wood-carvings, watercolors, technical schematics, full-color charts, tables, graphs, comics, maps and doodles in my books.

How can I not?

What are some of your favorites?