BTT: Illustrations

March 11, 2010

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme.

How do you feel about illustrations in your books? Graphs? Photos? Sketches?

I think that this largely depends on the type of book that I’m reading.

For non-fiction books, I generally like illustrations if they clarify something that the author wants you to grasp, or help you to visualize something that might be more profound that way than in simple text. Usually, this is what they’re used for, and they’re very useful. But sometimes, particularly in non-fiction, there seem to be illustrations that are just there to break up the page and aren’t really necessary. Those ones bother me largely because I feel compelled to look at them and try to figure out why the publisher would have included them … often coming up empty-handed or annoyed.

With fiction books, I’m just as picky. I love illustrations in children’s books, early-reader books, graphic novels, etc. Those are all useful and integral parts of the story-telling (and reading) experience. In adult fiction, however, I usually don’t really pay attention to any photos that have been added (usually in an insert) or sketches of things, unless they add value to the story. Examples of this are the maps in the Lord of the Rings trilogy – those actually help with understanding and immersion in the geography of the story!

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