27 February 2013

Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman

I don't know when I first became aware of Neil Gaiman and his work. I want to hazard a guess and say it was around the time the film Stardust was released. I loved the film so much I talked to my friend about it. I don't know if I was aware that it was a book then but I know shortly after that I read the book and it is currently sitting on my shelf.
Fast forward to 2009. A trip to England has just been made and I am doing my first bit of big traveling in the states to Minneapolis for my English Honors convention. After blogging for my study abroad trip, I find myself volunteering to blog for convention. I didn't do it well or very often, but I did blog about one guest. That guest, you've guessed it: Neil Gaiman.

I think I was surprised by his celebrity. There were guards at the doors of the hotel, keeping the great unwashed non-convention members at bay so that college and grad students from around the world could sit and listen to him read in that gorgeous British accent of his. I don't even remember what he read, but I fell in love. He also talked about what it is like to be a writer and where he got his ideas. I believe he said that his favorite literary period was "Normally after lunch" and all those ideas? From his daughter's imagination. Which I love. He also said that the most important question a writer could ask is, "What if?" 

What if...you found yourself around a campfire telling stories with the months of the year personified? What would that look like? 
What if...we knew Susan's side of the story? Would our opinion of her change?
What if...hell was worse than anything we could possibly imagine...and then some? 

Fragile Things covers all of these "what if" questions, and how. Some of his stories are incredibly moving, some are thought provoking. Some, I will admit, were scary. All were well crafted and beautiful and I absolutely recommend this book to everyone. You might not like all the stories in the book. I'm not sure I liked all of them. But I did read all of them and can appreciate the immense talent that Neil Gaiman has. 
(As a side note, you should also check out his book Neverwhere. It sits next to my copy of Stardust and I love it dearly. If you read Coraline, do so with the light on. Trust me. That is one creepy kid's book...)

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