On the Implications of Stitches

stitchesSeveral months ago I met with a representative from the Norton group who strongly encouraged me to pick up a copy of Stitches: A Memoir by David Small.  I had kind of forgotten about the book until it arrived and I put it on the shelf. It is a remarkable book.  Written and illustrated by David Small, a childrens author and illustrator, it is an autobiographical graphic novel: a comic book.  The implications of such a title didn’t hit me.  Recently we have made a movement in our store to give better real estate and advertising to our Graphic Novel section, under the belief that the old stigma of the “comic book geek” has died, that more and more known literary figures are delving into the genre, that hollywood has begun to take an intensive and serious interest, and that it has truly hit the mainstream–but not just the mainstream, it has hit the intellectual.  Over the years, people who might have scoffed at someone reading a comic book have found their favorite authors immersed in the genre:  Michael Chabon, Neil Gaiman, Joyce Carol Oates, Paul Auster. More and more people are discovering the depth that and brilliance that comic books can give to narrative tale.  There is no longer a reason to banish them to the basement, hide them under the bed, or fear the comic book guy.  People display them proudly on their home book shelves next to copies of Ulysses or A Remembrance of Things Past, as we display them proudly next to our literature section.  But this is still the bookshelf of the younger generation.  With the introduction of Stitches, as well as Logicomix (a graphic novel about Bertrand Russell, mathematics, and the intellectual demons), this genre is quickly bursting open to new groups of people: older intellectuals, librarians, teachers.  These books are making waves throughout the literary scene, shocking the New York Times, and exposing a skeptical group of people to the depth and intensity that a graphic novel can embody. Talking with a fella from Diamond Distribution last week, he told me “I don’t think Norton understands the importance of putting out a book like this”. What he further explained, is that  Stitches is starting to reach educators, radically changing their ideas about the potential of graphic novels to help children understand complex themes, as well as beginning readings.  The fact that it is published by Norton gives it instant literary credibility; and once readers see that a graphic novel is not the same as “the funny pages”, an entire new world opens up before them.  This book is beautifully illustrated, eloquently narrated, intense, dark, and playful.  It is groundbreaking.

So, without further ado… For this week’s books in motion we bring you 5 scenes from David Small’s new book: Stitches: A Memoir

Available Now at Logos
Stiches: A Memoir
By David Small


Janina Larenas is the book buyer for the New Book Department. She is a printmaker and book artist who works with a variety of mediums to create narrative imagery. Her pieces range from stickers and posters to science illustration, embroidery to zines, often merging technical crafts with fine art presentation.