THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF EARLY EARTH
by Isabel Greenberg
Little, Brown; Oct, 3, 2013
Hardcover; 176 pages
I’m declaring 2014 the Year of Reading Widely. As I wrote in my Reading Resolutions post, I’m making an effort to read more diversely — reading genres outside my comfort zone, translated works, and books by authors who aren’t white. I’ve been doing pretty well so far! I’ve read a few books by authors of color, and I got three more from the library this week. I also read my first romance novel, and I just finished my first graphic novel!
I bought a copy of The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg after reading River City Reading’s review. I’ve never been interested in graphic novels because I associated them with comic books, so I was really interested to read Shannon’s review of this book. The Bookrageous Podcast has also made me interested in the form recently. To top it off, this month is Graphic Novels/Comics February! It seemed like the perfect opportunity to try reading something outside of my comfort zone.
Millions of years ago, in a time known as Early Earth, a Nord man and a South Pole woman meet. They fall in love and are married, but a mysterious magnetic force prevents them from touching. The man, a storyteller, tells the story of how they came to meet, weaving in tales of the gods who played a part in both their meeting and their separation. Many of these stories are familiar, clearly drawn from mythology and religious traditions. Greenberg deftly blends these myths into a cohesive folklore, tossing in a dash of humor. My boyfriend was in the same room as me when I was reading this book, and I couldn’t stop myself from reading funny lines to him every few minutes.
I love mythology, so I was immediately smitten with the concept of this book. However, it was the art that made me fall hardcore in love with The Encyclopedia of Early Earth. The book is gorgeous. It’s the size of a coffee table book, and the cover has beautiful effects; those grey line drawings you see in the cover image above? On the actual book, they are glossy black, standing out from the matte cover as it catches the light. The inside is just as beautiful; the illustrations are done in a great style that fits really well with the Nordic/Inuit setting. I loved the heavy black lines and painterly touches of color.
I am really happy I chose this as my first graphic novel! I loved this book; I accidentally read the whole thing in one evening! I’ve been crushing hard on the art, and the writing made me laugh out loud dozens of times. I was also pleased by this novel’s literary qualities! I’m glad to have found another genre of books that I enjoy, and I’m looking forward to reading more! Maus and Persepolis are next on my graphic novel list.
Readers, what graphic novels would you recommend to someone new to the genre?