Neil Gaiman Collage 3

The Amazing Neil Gaiman

May and June turned into a Neil Gaiman feast for my bookish appetite. I listened to five audio books (four of which were read by the author himself) and read one on my Kindle. Here’s what I thought:

  • Neverwhere – My first Neil Gaiman book. I listened to the audio version read by the author himself, and I was swept away to this world below London called Neverwhere. The main character is a Londoner by the name of Richard who finds himself sucked into an adventure in Neverwhere with the mysterious Lady Door, the wily Marquis de Carabas and an intense female bodyguard named Hunter. They seek the angel named Islington and encounter the Great Beast of London while trying to avoid the assassins on their tail. The story was creative, intriguing, an epic journey with surprises and interesting characters. The author’s voice was AMAZING. He’s a genuine storyteller. This whetted my appetite for more.
  • Stardust – Again, I listened to the audiobook because I was quite immediately addicted to Neil Gaiman’s voice after Neverwhere. Stardust was such a fun story. A young man named Tristan who lives in an English country village wishes to impress the village beauty and promises her he’ll bring back a falling star they saw in the night sky. His quest leads him to an enchanted land with witches, magic and a beautiful young star. And once the story ended, I watched the movie (starring Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeifer, and Robert De Niro), which was also creative and fun and remained pretty close to the book version.
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Different from the first two but still good. Again, read by the author himself. I love how his mind works, the creatures he invents, the characters he introduces. And his voice. Did I mention how much I love his voice? This story was about a boy with magical neighbors and an awful creature who in unleashed. I really can’t say more without giving away the story. It was a good read!
  • Fragile Things – This is a collection of short stories, including a pretty long one featuring the main character from his novel American Gods. I don’t usually buy short stories on audiobook but I was so enchanted by Neil Gaiman’s voice that I couldn’t stop buying things he narrated. I liked most of the stories but the one that stuck with me the most was The Monarch in the Glen, the story about Shadow from American Dogs. But there were several gems in this group.
  • Smoke and Mirrors – Again, another short story collection because I love Neil Gaiman’s voice. So many entertaining stories, an old lady who purchases the Holy Grail at a thrift store, a boy who has to negotiate with a troll under the bridge and a man who hires assassins from the yellow pages. I love the way Mr. Gaiman’s mind works.
  • Good Omens – This was another audiobook but unlike the others, it was NOT narrated by Nail Gaiman. And that was a darn shame. I enjoyed this novel, which he wrote with Terry Pratchett. It was funny and so incredibly creative, which I’ve come to expect from all of Neil Gaiman’s writing. Basically, the end of the world is approaching, and an angel and demon need to work together to find the child antichrist who has no idea who he is to thwart the battle between good and evil that will wipe out the world’s population. Sounds intense but it’s really just pretty hilarious. Great characters, funny situations. The only downside was no author narration.
  • American Gods – This is the one title that I bought for my Kindle. It’s a long book and a heck of a story.  A man gets out of prison, excited to finally return home to his wife, who dies in the final days before his release. He ends up accepting a job with the mysterious Mr. Wednesday, who approached him and seems to know a lot about him. Their journey and adventures make up the novel with a dose of mystery, horror, humor and sex. I heard it has been made into a TV series that I haven’t watched yet. I liked the book a lot, but I think Neverwhere was my favorite.

I can’t believe I never read this amazing author before now. If you like fantasy, he’s a master. He knows how to spin a tale and tell a story. I have plenty more to read by him too. Did you know he writes children’s stories too? Coraline! AND I JUST FOUND OUT HE’S GOING TO BE TALKING IN DALLAS THIS MONTH! Excuse me while I run out to go buy tickets!

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Jodi Picoult Tweeted Me!

Last week I sent out Tweets to about 15 best-selling authors asking them the same three questions, and the only one who responded was Jodie Picoult. But … Jodi Picoult! I had a total fan girl moment.

 

 

This was really exciting for many reasons. One of those being that the book she’s currently reading is one I’ve read, All The Light We Cannot See, and it’s a beautifully written book. It has a rather unique story line, following a young, blind French girl and an orphaned German boy during WW II.

 

Jodi Picoult though … she’s an amazing author. A MASTER storyteller! And I happened to have read her most recent book, Leaving Time, which was one of those books I devoured. It intertwined the study of elephants with a young girl’s search for her missing mother. I learned so much about elephants. They are fascinating, intelligent and empathetic mammals. I’ve always been impressed by elephants, but I learned so much more about them in this book.

 

One of the central characters helping the girl look for her mom was a psychic, and the plot line ventured into the unknown a bit, which I also found fascinating. The subject matter (elephants!), the excellent writing, the character development and the mystery … all of it worked for me. Jodi Picoult has dabbled in the paranormal before in her book Second Glance, which I also read and enjoyed.

I may try to Tweet more authors, to find out what they are reading or see what they have to say. One of my favorite parts of using social media is how much more accessible it has made some authors. Do you follow any of your favorite authors in social media?

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