Monday, May 4, 2009

Neil Gaiman: Fragile Things

I've decided I need to read as much of Neil Gaiman's work as possible so I picked up a couple of his books at the library last month. This is a compilation of short stories and poems that he's written over the years. I was looking forward to a some short snippets of enjoyment but as I got into it more I realized that I was more in the mood for in depth characters and extended plots that kept me involved. So I set it aside for a few days while I read a full-length novel that satisfied that hunger. When I came back to it, I was able to enjoy the short stories more.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm more of a conservative reader - I don't like a lot of sex, violence, or language in my reading. So, I have to admit that I didn't read every single piece in this compilation. If I got to a point where it was a bit much I moved on to the next one. I tried to give each one a fair chance because I respect Mr. Gaiman and his writing. After following his blog and his tweets on Twitter, I have to say that I think he would totally understand my choices and if he didn't, he would at least respect them. And that is one of the things I really love about him; he put his work out there and then lets his readers think what they will. He's very easy-going and slow to take offense.

So back to the reading. For every one I skipped there were two more that I completely enjoyed. His poems are fantastic! He has an amazing way of portraying so much magic and joy so quickly and in just a few lines. I just had to smile. Several of the stories really stuck with me, too. There's one he wrote Matrix-style that was just awesome and another that was the basis for his most recent Graveyard Book that I loved reading.

The other really great part about this book is that Gaiman includes a sort of preface for each piece that explains why he wrote it and some of the thinking that created the work. I like having that little behind-the-scenes view.

I recommend you pick this one up at the library and don't feel bad if you feel the need to skip one or two. No one can please everyone all the time.

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