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Title: The Senses
Author(s): Dr. Matteo Farinella
Publisher: Nobrow (2017)
Age Rating: 13+
I have not reviewed a good number of STEM books over the year, so when I get an opportunity, I get excited. Science was one of my favorite subjects in high school and in college, and as an ex-art major with a love for science, I feel that science is the perfect subject matter for the graphic novel; I don’t know why more publishers and academics don’t take advantage of the medium more often.
Today’s book, The Senses, by Dr. Matteo Farinella, is about…well…the senses. The book starts out with a woman, passing out during an experiment with augmented reality and VR, only to find herself in a strange world where scientists tell her about the human senses; I’m guessing that’s why we start with some VR/AR exposition. There is some explaining later as to why VR/AR will never truly capture the essence of a real experience, but right now, that’s neither here nor there.
The art is done in a simple black and white with large panels and slightly larger than normal pages, and it compliments the subject matter very well. But even with an interesting subject matter and appropriate art, I have a couple of issues with the book. I don’t know who is the target audience of the book, and it’s a bit dense with information.
I feel that to truly understand everything that’s happening in this graphic novel, you’re going to have to do a bit of research. And yes, there are references and suggested readings at the back of the book, but I wanted more clarification in the process. There are a lot of processes and scientific terms explained in the book, and a good number of them are only brushed upon. Maybe a more in-depth, shorter book on each sense? Or go all in, and make this 163 pages 250 instead. Also, who the target audience? The book seems dense for a normal “Hey, let’s learn about the senses!” casual reader so maybe a college/high school Anatomy and Physiology class as a supplemental material? I did learn quite a bit from the book, for sure, but when I was done, I didn’t know to whom I should suggest it.
Check it out, and let me know what you think. You will learn something! And maybe you know someone that teaches a class in which this graphic novel would fit. I’m curious. Let a me know…
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