So there’s a new book club in town, and no, I’m not leading it. But I am excited about it! It’s called the Alberta Reads Book Club, and it’s a government initiative highlighting the wonderful breadth of books that our province publishes. The inaugural book pick is Pass Me By, Gone Fishin’ by Kyle Simmer and Ryan Danny Owen, a graphic novel featuring a queer man struggling with dementia. Is a graphic novel a strange choice for a province-wide book club? Yes. Should you read this book anyway? Yes! It’s a compelling story with a fantastic color scheme to match.
This book is a slow burn, and from what I understand, the beginning of a series, which explains why not much happens in Gone Fishin’. Regardless, I was completely invested in the protagonist Ed, his old hippie friend Rory, and the tough women looking out for Ed as he slowly slips further into the reaches of dementia. In some ways, he furthers the old rural white man stereotype, but he’ll no doubt break through those same stereotypes the more we get to know him in future novels. There’s lots to enjoy in these slim volumes, so I’ll be keeping my eye out for the coming installments!
A graphic novel does seem like an odd choice, especially for the inaugural meeting. I know they’re kind of fashionable right now, but I imagine that the majority of readers don’t really read them. But maybe I’m wrong!
I think you’re right FF, I love them too, but it’s not something I would ever choose for my own book club.
I love province-wide book clubs. We used to have one called One Book Nova Scotia – it lasted seven seasons before it ended. Not sure why it ended. 🙁
Ah yes, well our library system has a ‘one book one calgary’ initiative each year (although, come to think of it, not this year) but this is like a government thing? Who knows, we will see if it takes hold!
What a neat idea! We have Coast Reads locally but I’ve never heard of anything on the provincial level.
Yes, we have a great organization here called The Book Publishers Association of Alberta who spearheaded this thing. It’s all about supporting our local businesses which is nice.
We have a similar association in B.C. but I’ve never heard of them forming a book club. It seems like a great ways to support local business.
it definitely is! I hope it gets some good pick-up
Graphic novels have been around for decades and aren’t viewed as a trend by people who have been reading them for a long time, as some readers might feel (especially after the Booker had a graphic novel on their list of picks), so I’m glad more book clubs and prizes are acknowledging literature that has a different form than traditional books. That green color scheme is actually weirdly common, though I’m not sure why. Mimi Pond uses it in both Over Easy and The Customer is Always Wrong. The Tamakis use it in This One Summer. I’m not sure why that green in particular is chosen, but I love that the green and pink are used to show time.
Hmm from what I recall, the Tamakis used blue, no? That’s the only other book that I’ve read in the list you mentioned haha Clearly I am by no means an expert!
Ah, it does lean a bit more toward blue, but it’s that same strange muted single color scheme.
This appeals to me and I’m adding it to my TBR. Another advantage to the graphic narrative is that it could invite a broader demographic to participate, maybe? I’ve been steadily trying to improve my French language skills for years (partly because both step-kids were in immersion programs) and I’m still more comfortable reading graphic narratives in French than full-text narratives. The visual cues are really helpful and the sense of moving through the story at a decent pace, even if you have to stop to look up definitions/translations is very encouraging.
Absolutely! I think this is why my daugther loves reading comics like Calvin and Hobbes. She’s on the cusp of reading, so the pictures help her along