I’ve always loved reading. I became a book addict at a very young age, and my love of reading has continued through primary school, high school and uni (where I am now). Discovering anime, and by extension manga in late 2010 has given me even more reading material. However, my manga revelation unfortunately coincided with an increased workload, which sadly continues to this day. This meant I needed to figure out a way to balance my book and manga reading.
Like anime fans who watch multiple series simultaneously, I read multiple books/manga simultaneously. Um, am I weird for doing this? Currently, the books I’m reading are Steven Erikson’s The Bonehunters and The Black Company by Glen Cook (this one’s kinda on hold). On the manga front, I’m doing my School Rumble re-read plus have about five other random series on the go. How do I decide which one to read? Mostly, it depends on two, somewhat related factors: how much free time I have, and what my mood is.
When I have more free time, I like to get into something more complex. Many of the books I read are big, fat fantasy novels (exotic war books as my sister is wont to say), overflowing with pages and often with tangled plots and large casts, and requiring a decent amount of effort be invested to keep up with the story. If I’m busy with uni, frankly I can’t be stuffed reading them – they require energy that’s already been leached away by towers of homework (although I have found a workaround: read before classes start when I’m still fresh). This means during term time, I have a tendency to read more manga than novels. However, on weekends and semester breaks (like now, hooray!) I have more time, and the Book-Reading Express is free to speed away.
I also mentioned mood was a factor, and that it was related to free time. Uni is a bit stressful, due to the busy schedule (hence lack of time). Wah! While many of the books I read have darker content, the manga that I follow is often lighter. I find that reading light-hearted manga brightens my mood, and is a bit of a stress-reliever. I’ve got an e-reader, and I enjoy reading manga on the bus home to relax. Alternatively, if my mood is happier, I’m more likely to be cool with diving into a gloomy book.
A few other things affect whether I choose books or manga. I get books from the library, which is conveniently close. Because I can borrow multiple thick books, I only have to go now and then, which is rather nice. On the other hand, I often acquire my manga through *cough cough* less than legal means, like Mangatraders (although recently all the libraries in our state have joined together under one system, which I can pillage for manga). I prefer reading the manga I download on my e-reader (as opposed to the computer) because it’s better on the eyes, but downloading is slow, and I only end up doing it occasionally. Also, reading manga is fast, meaning I run out quickly too. One point for books.
However, manga does have things going in its favour. Some manga, especially my cheery comedy favourites such as School Rumble or GTO manage to suck me in with their strangely addictive charm, leaving me thirsting for more and searching for the next volume. While I have experienced this with books, it’s less common, mostly because the type I read are rather heavy, and as I said above, require a good deal of effort to read. This doesn’t happen with all manga, though.
For me, whether I choose to read books or manga mainly depends on my mood and how much free time I have. Do those of you who read both favour one or the other? And if you read Visual Novels, how do they fit in?
-After writing this, I realised it was rather similar to one of Yumeka’s posts. Oh poo.
–School Rumble is awesome. If you haven’t read it, do so ASAP.