Tag Archives: neil gaiman

3 degrees from Neil Gaiman

So on Christmas Day my brother’s housemate, Josh, mentioned that he knew Charles Vess. (I think I’d said something about Neil Gaiman — perhaps I suggested that my niece might like his books?). It seems that Josh grew up in Lynchburg, VA and his father and Charles Vess were friends. Josh remembers going to Vess’ house as a kid.

Of course Vess illustrated Gaiman’s Stardust.

So — Dona Patrick knows Josh Holland who knows Charles Vess who knows Neil Gaiman. That’s three degrees right? (come to think of it, I met Josh’s father once but that doesn’t up my degrees to Neil Gaiman.)

But being 2 degrees from Charles Vess is pretty cool as well.

Coraline the Movie

I’ve mentioned Coraline before in this blog — I’m sure of it. That’s the book that got me hooked on Neil Gaiman? Anyway — Coraline is going to be released as a movie in February and a website (actually 2 websites but they seem to be identical) dedicated to it has been online for a while. It keeps on getting better and better. It began with a tease — and a puzzle. Now it has a lot more content.

And a workshop so you can get your own button eyes…

Clare and Andrew's Other Fathercoraline3

I’m looking forward to the movie. Gaiman saw it recently and said it was lovely and “really creepy”.

The Graveyard Book

Neil Gaiman has done it again. I was first captivated by his Coraline (soon to be a Major Motion Picture), then drawn in by the campy Neverwhere miniseries, then entranced by his collection of short stories, Smoke and Mirrors. This time it is another book for younger readers — a sort of re-telling of Kipling’s The Jungle Book. This book is absolutely charming.

The Graveyard Book begins with a gruesome murder by a man only identified as “the man Jack”. The only survivor is a toddler who escapes to a nearby cemetery and, after some discussion, is taken in by the occupants. The rest of the story contains elements of romance, mystery, horror and adventure.

If you’d like to hear the first chapter (read by Gaiman himself), click the play button on the widget below.

Hurry. Read American Gods. For free.

A few years ago my daughter said she wanted to read a book called Coraline because she saw it in the book tent at the National Book Festival. I didn’t buy it there, but asked about it the next time we were in a bookstore. The book was not available for purchase at the store, but the sales person wrote down the name of the author: Neil Gaiman.

I found an audio version of Coraline at the library and picked it up so we could listen to it on our long drive from Maryland to Illinois for either Christmas or a summer vacation, I don’t recall which. We all loved the story as well as the voice of the narrator, none other than the author himself. There was even some fun-creepy music on the CDs by the Gothic Archies.

As soon as I had internet access again I looked up Neil Gaiman and found that he had an online journal. I subscribed to the blog feed and Mr Gaiman became a part of my daily routine. I bought several of his books, saw him speak twice (once at the National Book Festival and once at a bookstore in Northern Virginia) and marveled at his accessibility.

He’s done it again. In honor of the anniversary of his online journal he asked readers of the blog to vote on what book he would put online for free for a month. He cautioned readers to not vote for their favorite book of his, but for the one they would recommend for a first time Gaiman reader. I voted for Smoke and Mirrors. It is a collection of several short stories and covers the spectrum of his talent. It also is a testament to his accessibility and candor – he explains where each of the the stories came from, where he got the idea.

While you’re going to have to either buy Smoke and Mirrors or borrow it from the library, Neil Gaiman did put a book online for free: American Gods. But only for the month of March. So hurry and read it if you want to.

But don’t read it in the bathtub. You may get electrocuted.