Graphic Novels Can Be Novels That Are Graphic Rather Than Graphic Novels!

I’ve written about literature for more than six years (including three-plus years at my own blog here), so it can sometimes be difficult to come up with new themes to discuss.

Case in point: I read The Fault in Our Stars late last month and, after shedding many tears, tried hard to think of how to fit John Green’s page-turningly impressive book into a theme I hadn’t specifically written about before. Death in literature? Been there. Young-adult (YA) novels? Done that. Etc. Also, I almost never focus on just one fictional work — this is not a book-review blog.

Then it occurred to me: Write about novels that don’t shy away from showing how painful and gruesome illness and death can be. Books — especially those written decades or centuries ago — often sanitize or sentimentalize those sorts of things, which can spare readers some emotional upheaval but make some of us feel we’re not getting enough realism.

The Fault in Our Stars, while extraordinarily inspiring and funny in many ways, does not go that latter route. What its two ill protagonists face (I won’t give specific details to avoid spoilers) is often depicted graphically and disgustingly. And a secondary character suffering from eye cancer? There’s a heartbreaking scene that will leave you totally shaken.

In So Much For That, Lionel Shriver also gets down and dirty with the details of three of her characters’ major physical ailments. But, as with John Green, Shriver offers enough upbeat moments to keep us reading. After all, most literature lovers don’t want to be depressed on every page. It also helps that Shriver, Green, and certain other authors offer tons of high-quality writing.

Things can also get pretty graphic when some novels depict (sexual or non-sexual) assaults, as is the case with Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things, Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, Abigail Tarttelin’s Golden Boy, Stephen King’s Misery, Richard Matheson’s Hunted Past Reason, Frank Bill’s Donnybrook, and James Patterson’s Kiss the Girls, among many other books. (Of course, sexual assault is really about violence rather than sex.) There’s a high blood quotient in many of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels, too.

And some novels show the grievous physical and psychic toll of war more graphically than others. Among the books that don’t pull many punches in that area are Geraldine Brooks’ March, Louis de Bernieres’ Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, and Dalton Trumbo’s Johnny Got His Gun.

In the usually more sanitized pre-1900 era of literature, one of the most stomach-turning depictions of death comes near the end of Emile Zola’s 1880 novel Nana.

What are some of the memorable novels you’ve read that mostly tell it like it is when it comes to things like illness and death?

My next blog post will appear Monday, October 16, rather than Sunday, October 15. I have something to do that Sunday…what is it…what is it…oh…my older daughter Maggie is getting married! (Monday, October 16, note: I’m now shooting for a new blog posting on Tuesday, October 17.)

My 2017 literary-trivia book is described and can be purchased here: Fascinating Facts About Famous Fiction Authors and the Greatest Novels of All Time.

In addition to this weekly blog, I write the award-winning “Montclairvoyant” topical-humor column for Baristanet.com. The latest weekly piece, which includes advice to dress like a developer for Halloween, is here.

61 thoughts on “Graphic Novels Can Be Novels That Are Graphic Rather Than Graphic Novels!

  1. The best description I’ve ever read in novel of a man dying (with pie from Meals on Wheels in his mouth) is found in “George Mills” by Stanley Elkins. Absolutely gorgeous writing and stunning scene. Elkins knew death.

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  2. From the first sighting of the animals to the rendering of their blubber into whale oil, every minute of the process of chasing and killing and butchering whales is most meticulously and graphically detailed in Melville”s “Moby Dick”, leaving out no stench or slop or gout of blood in his labors. First, the author exhaustively exhausts the reader with everything then known or believed about whales, then he lets fall with the tonnage of everything known about their reduction to product, crushingly.

    Incidentally, there’s prose in the book about a pegleg and a gold coin and whiteness, but I think the main points I covered above.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Excellent observation, jhNY — “Moby-Dick” had some quite graphic moments. An example of how non-human forms of life can be the subject of all kinds of violence — in fiction and in real life.

      And, yes, there seems to have been some chapters about various other things in that novel… 🙂

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  3. Hi Dave,

    I’m so glad to hear that John Green took you on an emotional roller-coaster. As you know, I’ve only seen the film, but I think it’s pretty safe to assume that the movie was so good because of the wonderful writing behind it. I only watched it because I hadn’t gotten around to turning the telly off, and was expecting nothing more than a YA love story, but I also needed the Kleenex, pretty much from the opening credits!

    I’m yet to read “So Much for That”, but your mention of it made me think of “We Need to Talk About Kevin” which I read a little while ago, but is definitely still with me. It doesn’t cover physical illness, but there is definitely mental…. unrest? I’m reluctant to say mental illness because that sounds so pigeon-holed, and easy to diagnose. Whereas Ms. Shriver’s characters aren’t so black and white, and she doesn’t pull any punches (to borrow your phrasing) when describing what those characters do to each other.

    Talking about YA novels, my absolute favourites would be Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials”. The first novel “Northern Lights” was adapted into the film “The Golden Compass”. Pullman isn’t quite as heartrending as Green, but you certainly can’t dismiss his writing as ‘just for kids’. And while there are some fun things happening in the trilogy, there is also a lot of sadness. I might tear up just thinking about it!

    Lastly, congrats on your new family member. I also wish Maggie and her husband lots of happiness in their new lives together ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Sue! Thanks for the excellent comment!

      Yes, unless the filmmakers really screw up, a great novel usually leads to at least a good movie. And “The Fault in Our Stars” film sounds better than good, from what you say. Tissue manufacturers were certainly pleased.

      Lionel Shriver IS a terrific author. “So Much for That” is one of the best novels by a living writer I’ve read, and her “Big Brother” was also really good — albeit not as good as “That.” If my local library doesn’t have “We Need to Talk About Kevin” soon, I’ll…I’ll…keep waiting.

      Will also try to give Philip Pullman a read. I really enjoy YA novels that transcend that category.

      Lastly, thank you very much for the congratulations and happiness wishes for Maggie and Tim! Greatly appreciated!

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      • Dave, I forgot to mention in my original comment that if you did turn this into a book review blog, we’d still follow you. I’m sure I speak for everyone here when I say if you turned this into a cereal box review – we’d still follow you 🙂

        I must respectfully disagree that great novels usually lead to good movies. I think there are many instances where they get it horribly wrong. However when they do get it right, it’s probably safe to say that they had terrific source material to work from.

        You’re a very patient man, Dave. I went looking for a book at my local library which was apparently on the shelf, however nobody could find it. The staff were apologetic and said they’d transfer a copy from another library but that was just all too hard for me, so I went home and downloaded it instead. For you to not even request a hold is pretty impressive. But you must be so excited when something that you’ve been wanting to read is finally on the shelf!

        Can I go completely off topic and talk about that book that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on? Over the last couple of months I’ve read Raymond Feist’s “Magician” and Frank Herbert’s “Dune”. Two sci-fi/fantasy novels that I was greatly looking forward to; sadly, two novels that were big disappointments. And both pretty chunky novels. After 1400 pages of disappointment, I wondered if maybe that genre just doesn’t work for me anymore, if maybe I should even skip the next fantasy novel on my list. But I gave it one more go, and downloaded Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods” and WOW! It is unputdownable. Such great characters and a wonderful story and if it was 1400 pages long, I still don’t think it would be long enough. I just love being swept up in a good book!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you, Sue, for that very kind first paragraph! (With its funny last line. 🙂 ) There are many book-review blogs out there; the thematic approach I take is a little different, I guess, and I like it that way.

          You’re right that many excellent novels get turned into movie misfires. I’m now forgetting what I wrote before — maybe it’s harder for a filmmaker to ruin a excellent novel than to ruin a not-so-good novel, but it can still be rather easily done. Such different mediums, and movies need to shorten, to often dumb down, they have more pressure to make money, etc.

          I’m a bit retro with books — not requesting holds, not using Kindle. Meanwhile, I’m relatively up-to-date in other ways — writing a blog, active on Facebook and Twitter, blah, blah, blah. I have so many novels on my to-read list that if one isn’t at the library on a particular day, I just move on to another novel. Still, it’s kind of weird that I don’t do holds — you have a better approach with that!

          Sorry about your time-consuming “Magician” and “Dune” disappointments, but GREAT that you love “American Gods”! I read “AG” a couple years ago, and was very impressed with its originality and some other aspects. Can’t say I totally loved it, but I liked it a LOT.

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          • Dave, I agree with both you and Sue about books being made into movies. I learned this lesson long ago when I watched (on VHS!) “Pride & Prejudice,” from 1940 with Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier, and “Little Women,” from 1933 with Katherine Hepburn. Both were so disappointing to me as they were two of my favorite novels, and I don’t think Hollywood has ever done well with novels like these with so many plots, subplots and characters. Although the modern-day “Little Women” with Winona Ryder as Jo was quite well done, Jane Austen’s novels were served much better by the BBC and A&E, which could spend much more time to being true to the plot and characters than a 2 hour movie could ever be.

            Sue, I loved “Dune” but the movie was pretty bad, and I’m glad for your and Dave’s recommendation of “American Gods,” which is happily sitting on my shelf behind me just waiting to be read.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Hollywood seems to do better with action novels than more literary/psychological/complex/many-charactered/etc. novels — though of course numerous action novels have also been butchered when turned into films. Yes, the miniseries format can definitely be better for certain kinds of literature.

              Kat Lib, although Sue likes “American Gods” better than I did, it’s well worth reading. Nothing quite like it.

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            • Kat Lib, I wish I’d liked “Dune” more than I did. It was something that I was greatly looking forward to, and is obviously a much respected sci-fi novel. But it just didn’t do it for me. I must admit, I had trouble following it in places, and I suspect that’s because I wasn’t paying as much attention as I should have been. I’m intrigued by the idea of the movie though. jhNY makes it sound like a lot of fun!

              I hope you enjoy “American Gods” as much as I am 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

          • Sometimes not-so-good books can be made into fascinating, though not necessarily fascinatingly good, movies. In my opinion, “Dune”, which I used to call Obsession in Space, after the significantly vapid perfume advertisements that used to waft around the airwaves around Christmastime in the 1980’s, is one of these. There are plotlines to nowhere abounding, incomprehensible voice-overs, sudden appearances, disappearances and reappearances of characters throughout, flashbacks and recountings, and, because it’s David Lynch (or Alan Smithee, depending on which edit you’re watching), oddly arresting, even haunting visuals in the form of costume, character, technology, scene and architecture.

            It’s sort of like one of those movies from the 1960’s that supposedly improve with the ingestion of psychedelics, only this time, the movie took the dope so the viewer doesn’t have to.

            It’s a guilty pleasure, and it’s all over the map wild. I am grateful to Herbert for the original misconception and to Lynch for realizing, if incompletely, his own misunderstanding of a flawed property.

            Liked by 1 person

              • I also suspect that Kubrick’s “The Shining” is better than its source, because when I saw the later, King-approved model, I realized that what was off-putting to me about the Kubrick movie had mostly to do with elements and backstories that King insisted should receive more emphasis in the remake. But I’m no veteran of the novel, so…

                Liked by 1 person

                  • I agree with Dave on this one. I love the novel, and I thought the Kubrick movie fell short in more ways than one. It was a kind of interesting movie to look at, but missed the claustrophobic and tension building feel of the novel. I guess it’s hard to make a hotel look evil though. Jack Nicholson was as great as I would have expected, but the character was all wrong compared to the book. And the less said about his wife, the better

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • As I haven’t read the book, I can’t compare book to movie. But I did like the way Kubrick let you almost conclude that everything really wrong was cabin fever and personal problems– almost. The backstory and haints didn’t grow on me once I got a chance to see way more of them in the King-approved teevee movie, but I may like my horror more open-ended than most do…

                      Liked by 1 person

            • jhNY, I must admit that I think I need to re-watch the movie, because your comments make it sound like so much more fun than I had the first time through. And reading through the cast of the movie, I had remembered Sting was in it (somewhat bizarre, I thought), but I didn’t realize Patrick Stewart was as well (who by the way is the best captain of the Star Trek Enterprise ever!).

              Liked by 1 person

              • Both Sting and Patrick Stewart were likely to have had larger roles originally than the snippets of roles they were left with on-screen once budget and editing process were complete. Let its non sequitur references and unrelentingly weird lingo go by without a thought, and enjoy the arresting wackadoodle visuals!

                Liked by 1 person

              • I agree, Kat Lib, that Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard was the best “Star Trek” captain. All the others have been excellent, but Stewart was magnificent in “The Next Generation” series.

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          • I like your thematic approach too 🙂

            I can be so reluctant to embrace technology. Facebook is the only social media that I follow, and that’s more than enough for me. But sometimes, I’ll finally try something new (like my Kindle) and wonder how I could ever live without it. And I’ve always reserved books, either because they were already on loan, or to have transferred from a linked library. I’m not sure that my approach is better, I think it just means that patience isn’t my forte!

            I doubt that “American Gods” will ever be nominated as my favourite novel of all time, but after the disappointing genre books, and having to force myself through a couple of Aussie “classics” it’s nice to have something that I look forward to. I’m finding Gaiman’s style a lot like King’s. He’s never going to win a Nobel, but he has really fun characters that I like spending time with

            Liked by 1 person

            • Thank you, Susan! Glad you like the thematic approach. 🙂

              True about technology — we often don’t know that we can’t live without it until we can’t live without it. 🙂

              Great take on “American Gods”! Yes, not Nobel Prize material, but entertaining with its share of original and profound moments.

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      • I did, then we did once Mandy joined me there, then we returned to an apartment building without gas service– we’ve been drinking instant coffee for a week-plus. No timeline on when we get gas back….

        On the other hand, the Yankees!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Glad you both had a good stay in Nashville, but sorry about what greeted you on your return. A week-plus is much too long; hope things get fixed soon.

          Yes, the Yankees! Didn’t see that coming after they were down 0-2. I’m not a Major League baseball fan anymore (used to follow the Yankees religiously/atheistically), but the comeback did get me a little interested…

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  4. I don’t know if this counts, since technically they’re not novels, but I read a lot of war memoirs from privates and every-day foot soldiers. These guys (and gals) aren’t afraid to tell it like it is on the battelfield, even when it’s horrifying. Civil War and WWI memoirs are exceptionally striking in that regard – the honesty of it. It’s what makes them some of the most heart-breaking reads I’ve encountered, that normal people like you and me are going through this stuff, not imagined heroes.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Word Press, this is a new comment!

    Dave, I’m so glad that you enjoyed “The Fault in Our Stars,” by John Green, a great YA novelist (although I shouldn’t qualify him as a YA author, because I loved all his novels). I’m sure I’ve said before that I’ve read it twice, and both times I went through a half box of tissues from crying so much. Also, thanks for mentioning again “So Much for That,” by Lionel Shriver, which had a very graphic scene, but it was juxtaposed with a very peaceful death of one of the characters. Of course, Shriver’s book “We Need to Talk About Kevin” has a gruesome ending which took me by surprise. Then there is “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” by Stieg Larrson that had one of the most graphic scenes ever, when Lisbeth Salander takes her revenge on another character in the book, that was so difficult for me to read, but he deserved it. Or as put best in the play/movie “Chicago” has the scene in “Cell Block Tango,” (or as better noted as “Murderess’ Row”) which has the lyrics “He had it coming”! Of course, I’m happy to say I’ve never had to go through any abuse whatsoever and am definitely a pacifist.

    I also second elenapedigo comments about “Black Beauty,” which I think the author (Anna Sewell) wrote mainly because of her concern over the poor treatment of horses.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, Kat Lib, some great novelists are just great novelists — not only great YA novelists. I also place L.M. Montgomery in that category. Her “Anne of Green Gables” might be my favorite YA novel, and her “The Blue Castle” is one of my top ten “grown-up” novels.

      Thanks again for recommending “The Fault in Our Stars”! What a powerful, emotional book.

      I still want to read “We Need to Talk About Kevin” — so far, it has stubbornly refused to be at my local library the same day I go there each month.

      And, yes, some really intense violence in the fantastic Millennium Trilogy. Very glad you mentioned Stieg Larsson’s masterpiece! That disgusting male character did indeed deserve everything Lisbeth did to him, and that was not the only graphic scene in those three novels.

      Nice “Chicago” reference — and excellent comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dave, I forgot to add my good wishes to your daughter Maggie and her husband-to-be Tim! Gee, I can’t imagine how you’d rather be at their wedding than working on your blog. 🙂 Maggie is very lucky to have you as a dad!

        Anyway, I’m still recovering from my high school reunion this weekend, and Bill and I are getting ready to drive my girlfriend to the airport for her flight back to Durham. I wish she could stay longer, but she has to get back to her dogs, cats, and the veterans that she counsels as a psychologist.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you, Kat Lib, for the kind words and wedding good wishes — and the humor! (I’m currently “celebrating” by laboriously replying to your comment on my iPhone; my WiFi is down. 😦 )

          I hope your high school reunion went really well — and your friend has excellent reasons to get back!

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  6. I read a Jodi Picoult book called ” My Sister’s Keeper” a few years back. Is about two sisters, one very ill who needs a bone marrow transplant and her healthy sister. Very sad story but well written. “Fault In Our Stars” was one of the best books I have read so completely agree with your assessment. Kleenex also needed on my end.

    Well wishes for good health and happiness to your daughter Maggie and your future son in law on their pending nuptials!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I also read “My Sister’s Keeper,” and it was indeed not for the squeamish. I thought it was an excellent novel, though the ending disappointed me (will not go into details to avoid spoilers for anyone not having read it).

      “The Fault in Our Stars” really is terrific. John Green impressively still thinks like a teenager in the body of a great adult author (him).

      And thank you, Michele, for your kind wishes about Maggie and Tim’s wedding!

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  7. What came to mind as I read this essay, Dave, was the book, The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien. This book provided a profound insight about the horrors of war and the children who fight them. I thought of my then teenaged son and the believability of 18 year old boys throwing lemons when suddenly one of them was killed by an enemy bullet. There was no sugar coating the war time experience and in the midst of play and boredom, all hell broke loose. Still chills me to the bone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Shallow Reflections! Eloquently said.

      I think you mentioned that book before, and I appreciate you mentioning it again. It’s on my to-read list, and it does sound totally unsparing about war — as any book about war should be. It’s not right to sugarcoat the death of children, teens, or any other innocent people.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Howdy, Dave!

    — What are some of the memorable novels you’ve read that mostly tell it like it is when it comes to things like illness and death? —

    If Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple” pulled any punches in its depictions of domestic and other violence, then I missed them, most likely because I had already been knocked out by an unrelenting series of blows to the head . . .

    J.J. (Alias MugRuith1)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well/cleverly said, J.J., and VERY true about how unsparing “The Color Purple” is. I often forget to mention that depressingly terrific novel because I read it more than 30 years ago and don’t remember many of the details. Thank you!

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      • — VERY true about how unsparing “The Color Purple” is. I often forget to mention that depressingly terrific novel because I read it more than 30 years ago and don’t remember many of the details. —

        Lucky you. “Unforgettable” isn’t just an Ol’ Nat King Cole song.

        More happily: Congratulations to the groom, and good luck to the bride!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Nice Nat King Cole reference. 🙂 Yes, maybe there are some positives to not remembering all the details of certain novels filled with violence and injustice.

          And thank you, on behalf of Maggie and Tim, for the congratulations and good-luck wishes!

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  9. So one thing that a lot of books still prefer to gloss over is what happens to animals. Weirdly enough, some of the most famous books about animals are considered to be kids books and are written at a fairly young reading level, but their subject matter can be quite violent and disturbing in a way that more “adult” books tend to shy away from. “Black Beauty” is an incredibly tragic narrative, actually, with some rather graphic scenes of Black Beauty getting his tail docked without anesthetic, seeing his friend Ginger’s dead body being dragged away down the street, and so on. “Black Beauty’s Family” has similar things plus some really heartrending stuff about chimney sweeps. And My Friend Flicka has a very graphic description of all the colts being castrated without anesthetic.

    More recently, the movie Okja, which is not exactly a kids movie but not exactly not, and which is about a little girl and her pet, has some very graphic stuff about the meat industry.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is a GREAT point, elenapedigo, in a GREAT comment. As in real life, animals sadly often get cruel treatment in fiction, too.

      I haven’t read “Black Beauty,” but what you describe doesn’t sound pleasant at all. And VERY unfortunate that such treatment of animals occurs in a number of books aimed at younger readers.

      Some other examples that come to mind are in Emile Zola’s “Germinal” (the horse that numbly works in a mine until tragedy strikes), Charles Portis’ “True Grit” (what happens to the horse near the end of the book), and of course any novel (such as Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle”) that references the horrible fate of animals in slaughterhouses and factory farms.

      A BIG reason why I’m a vegetarian/near-vegan.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Also a near-vegan, after growing up in a farming and hunting community. There have been several books recently specifically about the meat industry, such as “Eating Animals,” but in general I can’t bring myself to read them.

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        • I hear you — I have a hard time reading books on that subject, too. I’ve read enough about the issue in shorter pieces (mostly online) to know that animals suffer terribly.

          Growing up in a farming and hunting community means you’ve probably seen some of this stuff firsthand — though of course some farms are more humane than others and hunting is a bit of a different matter (though also cruel, in my mind).

          Yet I don’t blame people who eat meat (most of my friends and extended family do). The meat industry and societal culture in general prepare people for that, and the suffering of animals is kept as secret as possible — one reason why people who bravely and morally film/expose those conditions are treated like criminals rather than whistleblowers. 😦

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          • Yes, my family raised our own meat–which meant raising animals in our household and then slaughtering them. I accepted it without question when I was a child. And for the most part those animals were raised about as humanely as it was possible to do. But they were still caged and then slaughtered. Actual factory farming is 1000x more horrible.

            And yet you’re absolutely right: most people have no idea what it’s actually like and are carefully protected from the reality. And those who are involved become inured to the suffering and violence they’re inflicting. I think most people genuinely believe that “My Friend Flicka” is a sweet kids’ story about a boy and his horse.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Well said!

              Raising one’s own animals, and treated them humanely before slaughter, is clearly better than those nightmarish factory farms. I wish animals were never used for food, but that day is a long way off, if ever. Heck, I didn’t become a vegetarian until I was an adult for many years — which I regret, but better late than never…

              Nice than some famous authors — including Isaac Bashevis Singer — were or are vegetarians!

              Liked by 1 person

                • Could be! Have to think about that. 🙂 Tolstoy (great mention!) would definitely be a big part of such a post, and I believe Upton Sinclair also became a vegetarian (not surprising after he saw the meat industry firsthand). In addition, given vegetarianism’s increased popularity today, I imagine some well-known contemporary authors don’t eat meat.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • I believe that George Bernard Shaw was a vegetarian, way before there were many other famous writers or artists that one heard about. I’ve been one on and off throughout the years. Since I had most of my major medical problems in the last six years, I’ve been eating more meat, because of all the protein my body needed in order to help heal the surgical/infection wounds I went through. At some point the physician who was in charge of getting a major wound to heal, gave me some protein samples to drink, and I think I gagged the first time I drank one. Even since then, even while eating meat, my doctor was following me because of an extremely low Vitamin D level, as well as Vitamin B12, which is the one supplement vegans need. So I’m thinking about going back to being a vegetarian (but could never eat vegan), because my girlfriend staying with me has been one for 45 years, as well as constantly thinking about how I didn’t want to eat animals! Sorry to talk about all my medical/surgical troubles, but this has been on my mind throughout her visit. At least I mentioned one famous author!

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • I think you’re right about George Bernard Shaw, Kat Lib. Thanks!

                      And I totally understand what you’re saying about what your diet needed to be at times and what you want it to be. The best of luck with possibly return to being vegetarian.

                      I never forget to take a B12 supplement. 🙂 And, yes, vegan is harder than vegetarian because it’s difficult to give up stuff like pizza. But I’ve mostly cut back on cheese, and have grown to like the taste of soy milk a lot more than cow’s milk!

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                    • True! 😦 I wonder if it was for taste reasons, health reasons, or animal-welfare reasons. If the last, maybe the biggest compassion disconnect (between regard for animals and regard for humans) in history.

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  10. Dave, as I recall, you haven’t read a lot of Michener. In all of his novels (that I have read), he describes graphically and horrifically how various people in different historical periods were “done in”. To name a few, “The Source”, “Chesapeake”, “Centennial”, “Texas”, and “Space” have scenes that are seared on my memory. I feel certain that his descriptions were historically accurate, certainly not glossed over to spare the reader.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Mary! Well said!

      You’re right — to date I’ve only read Michener’s “Tales of the South Pacific,” which I liked a lot. I forget if there were many graphic deaths in that book, but, then again, it was an early book of his and he might have included more graphic content in later works as that was more “accepted” later in the 20th century — and as he continued to develop as an author.

      Liked by 1 person

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