On the Shelf: Neil Gaiman

Do you remember the book that made you fall in love with reading?

Can you remember when you stopped struggling to understand the words and started caring about the story?

Neil Gaiman will always hold a special place in my heart, because his book Odd and the Frost Giants was that book for Brett’s  son. A ten-year-old boy thought reading was boring until he discovered Odd. 

I’m forever grateful.

The funny thing is, Odd was on my shelf because Neil is on my shelf.

How I Found Him

Though I didn’t know it at the time, the first thing I’ve ever read of Gaiman’s was a short story about a Troll in Fantasy Magazine back in high school or college.

The first book I read of Gaiman’s as an adult was Good Omens, the book he co-authored with Terry Pratchett. Brett and I read it together, howling with laughter.  By the time we were done reading Good Omens, I had a copy of American Gods on my shelf from a neighbor. By the time I finished American Gods, I was hooked.

Neil Gaiman gets an “on the shelf” post because I’ve since devoured everything and anything I can find. Currently, I’m delighting in the Sandman series, and trying to get the kiddo to read The Graveyard Book.

Why I Love Reading His Work

The little twists of the macabre, the shivers up the spine, the wry humor. I love his stories. I love the breadth and depth of his imagination.

Gaiman’s work is always a complete escape. I feel transported into another world entirely. Isn’t that the whole goal of most reading?

What I Learn About Writing From Him

Gaiman is one of those writers that never limits himself. If his imagination runs in an unexpected direction, so be it. He writes award-winning television episodes. He writes creepy kids’ tales. He writes epic fantasy with cross-dressing pirates. He writes a dreamy graphic novel series.  I love that he doesn’t feel like he has to stick to one storytelling medium or another.

The limits I perceive – to my imagination, to my work – those are mine to dismantle.  Just as the kidlet learned that he can explore new worlds through reading, Gaiman teaches me to explore a little further than I would have otherwise dared go.

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11 thoughts on “On the Shelf: Neil Gaiman

  1. I also love that he is so diverse in what he writes. I’ve loved some of his books (Neverwhere) and didn’t care for others (Stardust), but at the end of the day I still get excited about new books he writes.

    • I agree! Sometimes books meet us where we are, and we aren’t always in the same mood or same place. I think this is fantastic as a reader AND as a writer. It makes me feel less guilty when I feel compelled to go write brain-candy.

      • Hey, don’t feel guilty about writin ‘brain-candy’. My love of literature (and also science) started with comic books way back in the 1960’s. ANYTHING you write may be somebody’s ‘Odd and the Frost Giants’.

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