Great read! I particularly appreciated the non-fiction graphic novel conundrum.
On the other hand (sorry – this is going to be a bit long), as a long time comic fan I have to respectfully disagree with what ultmately you settle upon for the definition of graphic novels: “A graphic novel is a complete work of fiction in the comics form which, if printed, is long enough to be bound as a trade volume, so with a glued or sewn spine.” You yourself identify that nowadays “graphic novel” is really more of a marketing term. A collection of previously released, single issues of comic books bundled into a larger grouping is a “trade paperback,” really. To qualify as an actual graphic novel, the work in question needs to have aways been always intended as a single, standalone piece of work. The Watchmen for instance has been consumed in its trade paperback format so exclusively that most of its readers are unaware it initially existed as a limited, monthly comic book series. I’d even object when people described it as a graphic novel.
It does seem like the “comics” description you outline could have considerable utility in this area.
Thanks for a great article!
There’s one more thing: I think the desire to live a meaningful life is universal. To some people, it’s working toward a goal. To others, it’s enjoying every minute of every day. So what does it really mean to live life to the fullest? Maybe striving to win a Nobel Prize and going skydiving are just two sides of the same coin. To me, it’s not about achievement or self-gratification. It’s about knowing that you’ve pushed yourself, body and mind, to the limits of your own potential. You feel it when you’re sprinting, and when the piano piece you’ve practiced for hours finally comes to life beneath your fingertips. You feel it when you encounter a life-changing idea, and when you do something on your own that you never thought you could. If I died tomorrow, I would die feeling I’ve lived my whole life at 110 percent.