Some of my favorite authors have only written a few books each. (I’m looking at you, Megan Whalen Turner and Patrick Rothfuss.) Then there are those authors I can’t seem to keep up with, like Brandon Sanderson and today’s favorite author: Neil Gaiman. I’ve enjoyed Neil Gaiman’s works for years now, but I came late enough to the game that I am still hopelessly behind on reading his works. On a personal note, I sometimes get hamstrung by fear and doubt when trying new things. Starting this blog took more courage than I’d care to admit, and it was an old New Year’s wish of his that finally convinced me to take the plunge. It was also Neil Gaiman’s Ocean at the End of the Lane that got me out of a recent reading slump. For this and so many reasons, I love Neil Gaiman.
About the Author
Gaiman was born in the U.K. (though he currently lives in Minnesota) and describes himself as a “feral child who was raised in libraries.” He is a lover of words, a former journalist, and an incredibly prolific writer. He also spends much of his time writing and speaking about things that are important, like why authors should be sure to include intellectual property in their wills, the Comic Book League Defense Fund, and supporting public libraries. If I haven’t convinced you that he’s amazing yet, just check out his library.
About the Books
Rather than list his published works on his website, Gaiman has an entire page for each of the following categories: audio, books, comics, films, television, and theater. (I did mention he is incredibly prolific, didn’t I?) I first discovered him after seeing the movie Stardust, although he might be best known outside the literary world for Coraline, which was nominated for best animated film in 2010. Most of his books have fantastical or subtly dark elements to them. He writes comic books, novels for adults, novels for children (our favorite around here is Fortunately, the Milk), and picture books (like Chu’s Day). I found a copy of his non-fiction collection, The View from the Cheap Seats, this weekend and can’t wait to read it.
Picking a favorite Neil Gaiman book is less like choosing a favorite child and more like choosing a favorite flavor of ice cream. The first problem comes from the sheer number of things his written. The next comes from the fact that everything he does is fascinating. Even the books I only sort of like are perfect for at least half a dozen readers I know. My recent favorites are Odd and the Frost Giants, Blueberry Girl, and The Sleeper and the Spindle (which is a creative take on my favorite fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty). I read the last one in a short story collection, but it has been recently released as a separate book with gorgeous illustrations by Chris Riddell.