Tuesday, March 14, 2006

2 from Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is one of those writers -- either you've never heard of him, or you love him and have read every single thing that he's ever written. I'm in the second camp.

I found Gaiman years ago when I was first starting the graphic novel collection at Main. The trade paperback collections of the Vertigo series Sandman is on every recommended graphic novel list ever. They are great, but I soon discovered that Gaiman is not just a "comic book writer". Oh no.

He writes books for adults, books for children, comic books, short stories, reads his own audio books and blogs. He writes movies, both based on other people's work and original screenplays.

I could take a really long time and talk about all of these things. Because I've read, or listened to or seen them all, but I think I'll just highlight two of my favorites.

Stardust is not the kind of book I would normally pick up. The cover
looks sort of romance-ish and the plot outline "A young man travels to the land of Faerie to retrieve a fallen star for his lady love" seems so very girly. But, in fact, this is a wonderful adventure, full of danger and darkness, with witches, zombies, goblins and other beasties. There's been a lot of web chatter about the recently announced movie adaptation of Stardust. While I don't agree with all of the casting decisions (Claire Danes -- really?) I am excited to see the film and hope that it gets more people to read this wonderful book.

Next up is Anansi Boys, a very funny fantasy book for people who don't like fantasy. Anansi Boys is the story of two brothers. One is Fat Charlie, who discovers at his father's funeral that in addition to being embarrassing and ancient, Dad was also the trickster god Anansi. Fat Charlie also finds out that he has a brother, Spider, who he's never known. When Spider comes to visit, Charlie winds up fired, loses his fiance, arrested for embezzlement and suspected of murder. Then things really start to go wrong. Creepy, scary and funny all at the same time, Anansi Boys is a great blend of myth, fantasy and family. I also highly recommend the Anansi Boys audiobook, which is read by British comedian Lenny Henry, who nails all of the different voices and dialects used.

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