I love to read.
Simple, direct, and to the point.
I started reading my mom’s books when I was in 4th grade, and never looked back. There are a number of authors I simply adore, and I can’t believe I haven’t gushed more about them before this!!
One of those top fav’s has to be Neil Gaiman. With American Gods being on ShowTime, it’s as good a time as any!!
So Gaiman’s writing is definitely urban fantasy, but he as a flavor that’s distinct in and to himself. He has tons of books out there, and the majority of them are standalone (where as most of the other authors I read have on-going series). He did write an on-going series sometime ago, one many of you might recognize.
That would be Sandman. If you haven’t had a chance to read this comic, I HIGHLY recommend it. But this was NOT his first work I had been exposed to.
The first book I read of his was Neverwhere. The story takes place in (and beneath… and sideways from) London. A regular man is thrown into a fantastical adventure, and is rather dragged along by his nose. The story struck a cord, and years later, even though I had forgotten the name of the book and even the author, the story stuck with me. I was positively gleeful when I found it again. You better believe this one has a prominent place on my bookshelf.
Many, many years after Neverwhere, I was taking a modern fiction class (it sounded fun), and amongst the required reading was American Gods. I picked it up, but it sat there, collecting dust for a few years before I finally read it. And when I did…
…. WHY DID I WAIT SO BLOODY LONG??
The premise is that all the gods of old are still here with us. They live and breathe, trying simply to survive in a world filled with disbelief, where our – mortal – faith is being diverted away from deities we once worshiped, and instead focus on “new gods” such as money and technology. Ah, but the old gods, they will NOT go quietly into the night, and they chose to stand and fight.
If you have not read this, I strongly, STRONGLY recommend it. Right after you read Neverwhere…
There’s actual a sequel of sorts to American Gods, but more takes place in the same world, and is character adjacent. If you enjoyed the first one, pick up Anansi Boys.
People sure do like turning Mr. Gaiman’s works into screenplays. I can see why. There is so much fantastical imagery to all of his stories, they catch the eye and draw the imagination. I love seeing his works put to moving pictures. Stardust was one I picked up just before the movie came out, and while I enjoyed the movie – and I sincerely did – the movie meant so much more to me after I read the book. Another regular guy who crosses into a place he should not, and his world suddenly gets tipped on its ear.
These are sincerely some of my favorite TYPES of stories. The man (or woman) out of place, out of time, in a situation they are entirely unfamiliar and uncomfortable with… but are forced ever forward just the same. Mr. Gaiman does a spectacular job with this. now that I think about it, about all of his books do this…
I could go on and on (you’ve seen me do it), but I’ll leave you with what has to be my favorite work by Mr. Gaiman.
It’s a little something called the Graveyard Book. Sounds warm and fuzzy, huh?
So we were all raised with the story of the Jungle Book, right? A child is lost in the jungle, and raised by wild animals. They accept him as one of their own, but they know something is different. One of the big bads step up and tries to squash him because he’s different (boo!). In the end, our boy vanquishes all, and realizes there is a whole other world – the world of Man – that he perhaps belongs to, and ventures forth to that world.
Basically, that’s the Graveyard book…. Only said child is raised by ghosts in a cemetery.
Please trust me when I say you must get this book.
These are by no means all of Neil Gaiman’s works, only my favorite. Have you read him? What’re your favorite pieces?