Thursday, 23 July 2015

The goodness of Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is something of a treasure to libraries, and not just because of the incredible books he writes. He is a strong advocate for fiction and reading which is very evident in his recent lecture 'Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming' 
It is no wonder with quotes like "Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one" that Mr Gaiman is beloved by librarians the world over :)  

The following are my top 5 Neil Gaiman recommendations. This was a pretty difficult list to narrow down, but these are my personal favourites - I'd love to hear which are yours!

Number 5
I'm going to cheat a little and link both The Sandman comic series and the various Death comic mini-series together, as they are after all connected. The Sandman comics were amongst the first I read when I was getting back into the whole comic scene in the mid 90's, and it is easy to see why they are considered classics in the genre.
The series centres around Morpheus, also known as Dream from The Endless, and he and his siblings Death, Destiny, Destruction, Desire, Delirum and Despair take us on a series of unbelievable exploits. The series has a very mythological feel to it, as do many of Mr Gaiman's works. I'll always have a soft spot for Death, who is always so much fun to cosplay, and the deluxe edition of her tales are well worth checking out.

Number 4
Mr Gaiman is a very diverse author and writes for ALL ages. He has many titles for kids under his belt, from the super cute Chu series of picture books to the rather spooky Coraline (I still look at buttons and shudder). But my favourite of these is the wonderful Fortunately, the milk.
Mum is away and Dad is in charge, and he's forgotten the milk for breakfast! Luckily he has some rather marvellous adventures getting it. Such a fun story to share with the littles (or not so littlies) in your life.

Number 3
From the very creepy beginning of The graveyard book where a small toddler manages to survive his entire family being murdered by a mysterious assassin, I was hooked. Bod (Nobody) Owens ends up being raised by the spooks at the nearby graveyard, a crazy assortment of characters. This was one book that stayed with me long after I finished it, in the very best way possible. I'm not sure how you can be creepy but heart-warming at the same time, but this book somehow manages it.

Number 2
Unbeknownst to me, I already owned a Neil Gaiman book long before I was even a fan. Another of my all time favourite authors is Terry Pratchett, and I own many of his books, including Good Omens: the nice and accurate prophecies of Agnes Nutter, a witch, which a little later down the track I realised was a collaboration with that same comic guy I really liked :)
In this fantasy comedy about the impending end of the world, Aziraphale the angel, and Crowley the demon are on a mission to find the (rather nice) 11 year old Antichrist and avert Armageddon.

And in my top spot - Number 1
Stardust is probably the only book I own in any format I can get it. I have the exact hard copy as pictured above. I have the stunning 4 part graphic novel set, beautifully illustrated by Charles Vess. I have the DVD of the movie adaptation (the book is better, lets face it, it usually is - but the movie is pretty lovely). To me this has the same magical timeless quality of The Princess Bride.
Tristran Thorn sees a falling star, and sets out to retrieve it in order to win the heart of his supposed one true love. He is not the only one questing to retrieve the star, and a fantastical adventure ensues. This book makes it not only on my top five Gaiman list, but also on my overall top five book list!

So those are my personal favourites, and I have missed so many wonderful titles I also loved off this list - the novels American gods (hopefully soon to be a TV series) The ocean at the end of the lane and Neverwhere, the stunningly beautiful The sleeper and the spindle (he retells the classics like no one else), his recent short story collection Trigger warning: short fictions and disturbances....I could seriously go on! Thanks Mr Gaiman for letting us share in your daydreams, they are indeed a magical (and sometimes very spooky) place :)

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