The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

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5stars

“Of all organs,” said Nehemiah Trot, “the tongue is the most remarkable. For we use it both to taste our sweet wine and bitter poison, thus also do we utter words both sweet and sour with same tongue.”

Title: The Graveyard Book
Author: Neil Gaiman
Number of pages: 327 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: It’s magical.
Bad things about this book: The mystery that wasn’t really explained.
Do I recommend it? Yes, of course.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

A couple years ago I bought the audiobook and started listening to it but as it always happens to me with books I haven’t read before listening to them, I got distracted and kept losing parts of the narration. I loved listening to Neil Gaiman tell the story but his voice wasn’t enough to get me focus on the book. I gave up until I decided to buy the physical book and now I could read a story that really deserved all my attention.

Nobody Owens is quite an interesting boy; we read about him growing up in the graveyard after a mysterious man called Jack murders his parents and sister. As a toddler he was inquisitive and curious. As a pre-teen he was obnoxious and unnecessarily rebellious. As a teenager he made questionable decisions but was overall a nice kid. I came to like him and I cheered for him to have a happy life surrounded by people who cared for him. It was going to be hard and I knew that.

“You’re always you, and that don’t change, and you’re always changing, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

I forgot about the mystery about Bod and why Jack wanted him dead after that first part and every time someone mentioned it I asked myself why it was so important to kill Bod. Why was Bod’s dead essential? I was curious. A lot, but then, in my opinion, the reason was not explained and the ending left me with too many questions. More than I’m used to have after finishing a book without sequels. That’s the only bad thing (if we can call it bad) about his book. The rest was exquisite and it gave me a newly found trust about Gaiman’s books with younger protagonists. I had a bad experience but I wasn’t going to let that ruin this marvellous author for me!

“You’re alive, Bod. That means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything. If you can change the world, the world will change. Potential. Once you’re dead, it’s gone. Over. You’ve made what you’ve made, dreamed your dream, written your name. You may be buried here, you may even walk. But that potential is finished.”

Now I have a couple Gaiman’s books on my bookshelves that require my attention and I need to finish reading his comic book Sandman that I’m reading so slowly I’ve been in stand-by mode for months. I can do it!

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American Gods by Neil Gaiman

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5stars

“Believe,” said the rumbling voice. “If you are to survive, you must believe.”

Title: American Gods
Author: Neil Gaiman
Good things about this book: Everything (Shadow!).
Bad things about this book: I can say it was very long but then you finish it and you think that maybe it wasn’t long enough.
Do I recommend it? Yes, of course.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Shame! I am ashamed! So ashamed! It took me almost a month to finish this book and it took me years to take it from my bookshelf and open it. SHAME! The TV show made me finally read it and I’m so thankful because it’s a beautiful book, something very different to what I’m used to read.

A story so detailed you believe it’s real. You start believing alongside Shadow that these Gods, old and new, are part of our everyday reality. These characters are interesting and each one of them is put there to capture your attention, some sort of misdirection from the big picture happening in the background: the big storm. It may not seem important at first but just you wait and you’ll be surprised by how much is going on that you are not really seeing.

This book is really long and everything I want to write about it is part of something bigger and it’s hard to tell you a detail without spoiling you what all of that means for the developing of the story so I’m going to analyze a little bit the two main characters of the book.

Shadow is a marvelous man, all abs and inner (and so much outer) strength. He is enjoyable from the very beginning. The choices he make, the words he says, his inner monologues, everything appears to be well thought and in character. I was surprised I never got angry with him, not even once; I liked him from the first page to the very end.

Wednesday is a flawed character, one that you like not really understanding why; a very old God afraid of being forgotten and to disappear from the world. He is very peculiar and you understand after a little while that he is not entirely honest with anything so you start questioning everything he said. There are so many layers to Wednesday and even after finishing the book I’m still wondering so much about him.

There are so many Gods introduced throughout the story, many well known to me, others only heard a few times and a lot completely unknown but that I wish to learn more about. I can’t start mentioning the gods or I’ll be here writing until august; each one of them is particular, has depth and importance to the story. The new gods has names that are a bit ridiculous and are made fun of in the book so it’s fun to laugh with Shadow and co. I am fond of mythology and I am also very fond of books that know how to mix reality and myth into a well-developed urban fantasy.

People believe, thought Shadow. It’s what people do. They believe.

This a very well written book, there’s not doubt, but often well written doesn’t mean it’s also fast paced and enjoyable. It can lose track of the story and become boring. This is not the case. American Gods has everything and everything is in its rightful place. It’s worth your time and it’s worth to be read at least once in your life before it’s too late. So, come on, go get the book and start believing!

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Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

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4stars

“The Norse myths are the myths of a chilly place, with long, long winter nights and endless summer days, myths of a people who did not entirely trust or even like their gods, although they respected and feared them.”

Title: Norse Mythology
Author: Neil Gaiman
Good things about this book: Really well written and interesting stories.
Bad things about this book: Maybe too short, if I really need to find something bad in it.
Do I recommend it? Yes, who doesn’t love mythology?
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

There are storytellers and then there is Neil Gaiman. The way he retells these norse mythology stories is sublime and I had so much fun reading and learning. I already knew a few things thanks to my own curiosity, watching Vikings, and reading Rick Riordan’s Magnus Chase books. Norse gods have always got my interest and of course I was going to read a book about them and if it’s a book by Neil Gaiman, even better!

Gaiman writes the stories of the gods from their birth until Ragnarok, the apocalypse that is also the beginning of new things. The stories are all interesting and, needless to say, extraordinarily well written. The modern feeling of how the gods are introduced doesn’t bore you and it keeps you glued to the pages. Even knowing about how gross some of the gods were is interesting if written the way Gaiman does it. They drank the spit and blood of some god to become wise. Gross! And that story with Odin having sexy times with a giant was a surprise: who would’ve thought that old fox had that in him?

I knew Thor wasn’t the smart one among the gods but knowing also how much he could eat, drink and how much he knew how every single bad thing happening was always Loki’s fault, made me like him even more than I already liked him and his Marvel version. Thor of the long blonde hair is dreamy. Thor of the red beard maybe isn’t as dreamy but he has a special place in my heart nonetheless.

Tyr, Thor’s brother, is also one my favorites now. I didn’t know him at all and it surprised me how much involved he was in everything. The part between him and Fenrir wolf made me emotional. As much as I knew how dangerous the wolf was and was going to be, I didn’t like what the gods did to him.

“Because,” said Thor, “when something goes wrong, the first thing I always think is, it is Loki’s fault. It saves a lot of time.”

Loki, well, is just like I imagined him. Not the Hiddleston Loki I was used to and neither Riordan’s version, but just like I pictured the mischief blood brother of Odin. Something bad happened? Loki’s fault and, guess what? It indeed was his fault. It was like he wasn’t even trying to hide his guilt; it showed all over his glowing with pride face! You’ve got to love Loki, his monstrous children and his shape shifting abilities.

The book is short and it’s easy to read and that’s always a plus. I finished it and I wanted to know more and I think that’s beautiful. I admire Gaiman and I curse myself because I haven’t read many books by him. That’s something I promise to do!

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Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

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“You have your milk,” he said. “Where there is milk, there is hope.”

Fortunately, the Milk...

Title: Fortunately, the Milk
Author: Neil Gaiman
Why you should read this book: If you are a book lover then this is for you

Summary taken directly from Goodreads because it explains the book so perfectly and I didn’t want to ruin it:

You know what it’s like when your mum goes away on a business trip and Dad’s in charge. She leaves a really, really long list of what he’s got to do. And the most important thing is DON’T FORGET TO GET THE MILK. Unfortunately, Dad forgets. So the next morning, before breakfast, he has to go to the corner shop, and this is the story of why it takes him a very, very long time to get back.

“If the same object from two different times touches itself, one of two things will happen. Either the Universe will cease to exist. Or three remarkable dwarfs will dance through the streets with flowerpots on their heads.”

I really like this book. The illustrations were on point, perfect!! The Edward Cullen look alike wumpire?? Hilarious! Misunderstood wumpires were really needed in this story. The plot twist about the stegosaurus? Who saw that coming? I didn’t!

Neil Gaiman can take you to so many worlds, imagine many realities even in only a few pages.
It’s amazing how many things can happen when you go out to buy the milk! The next time I go out to buy something and are a little late I will tell a crazy story, too. Maybe if aliens really do abduct me, it’ll be so much easier!

“But it’s not later yet,” said Professor Steg. “It’s still now. It won’t be later until later.”

Time traveling is so confusing!!

Do I recommend it? Yes, you don’t need to be a kid to enjoy this story.
Rate: 4/5
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The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

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“I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.”

Title: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Author: Neil Gaiman
Why you should read this book: If you like when things are not as they seem, this book may be for you

A man in his forties returns to his childhood home and finds himself at the pond at the end of the lane where he lived. He starts remembering events that happened when he was just a little boy of 7 years old, things beyond the world as he knew it. Forty years earlier an opal miner committed suicide and this fact started a chain of events and the boy founds himself involved in them. He is aided by 11-year-old Lettie Hempstock, her mother and grandmother, because an evil being is loose in the world and it must be stopped.

“I wondered, as I wondered so often when I was that age, who I was, and what exactly was looking at the face in the mirror. If the face I was looking at wasn’t me, and I knew it wasn’t, because I would still be me whatever happened to my face, then what was me? And what was watching?”

It took me so long to finish this book. I just wasn’t that interested in the story, I felt there was something missing for me. I just can’t explain what that was and I think I will never know it. There were a lot of interesting quotes and elements. A lot of things I could relate to but it wasn’t enough. The book is written wonderfully, it takes you to other realities, back to your childhood fears and thoughts. The frustration of adults that don’t listen, don’t try to believe what their kids say.
There was a part where the kid says that adults don’t take pleasure in small things because they are busy walking the same path every single day, the adult path, the boring path. I think that is a sad true and I’m happy to say that it doesn’t involve me, at least not 100%. I like to be the exception, the one that is wide awake without coffee, the one that sees the happy side of the ugliest day, that keeps getting amazed by the sky and the stars, that looks at the Moon and smiles because it’s so beautiful no matter what and it shines so bright reminding you that she is there. I want to be that kind of adult, the kind that believes in children’s stories, that takes pleasure in small things, that believes in every single mythological character and creature.

“I liked myths. They weren’t adult stories and they weren’t children’s stories. They were better than that. They just were.”

I started and finish this book without feeling any different and I really wanted to feel magic in me. I only felt mad at the adults, the father, the mother and of course Ursula! But that’s it, I didn’t want to feel mad, I want to be involved in the struggle, the adventure, I wanted to swim in that ocean.
I’m so sad I didn’t enjoy this book as much as it deserved to be enjoyed. It needs to be read not matter what I felt, it feels and is a great story.

Do I recommend it? Yes, even if it wasn’t my kind of book I know that you have to give it a chance.
Rate: 3-/5

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1° Review: The Sage of Theare by Diana Wynne Jones [short story]

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Unnatural Creatures: Stories Selected by Neil Gaiman

This is my first review and since it’s a new thing for me I chose to write a review of a short story.

This story is from the book “Unnatural Creatures” containing stories selected by Neil Gaiman. I have to say that I bought this book because of the cover. It has a beautiful and detailed cover. Then, of course, I bought it because of Neil Gaiman. That man can write marvelous things. I still have to read a lot of books by him but what I’ve read until now is making me love him a lot as a writer.

Let’s start the review.

Title: The Sage of Theare
Author: Diane Wynne Jones
Why you should read this story: Invisible dragons (they only make a cameo appearance but it’s worth it; I love dragons)

Gods have fun in an orderly way. Even if it’s an orderly way they still go down to Earth and procreate with humans. Gods are different in this story but they make the same mistakes as the more famous Greek Gods. In this Heaven, Gods want everything in order: humans makes prayers, they live because they are believed in and everything goes smoothly. Well, everything until the prophecy of the Sage of Dissolution becomes a reality. The Sage will ask questions, he will question everything and by questioning everything he will destroy everything they’ve built.

Asking questions, big problem. Humans are curious, we like questioning everything we have in front of us. We want answers. Why does the water flow? How does a baby grow inside a human belly? Why bugs are so ugly? Why am I afraid of things?
There are still places where asking questions is not allowed and that is extremely wrong.

That’s what this book is about! The ones controlling the world are worried that someone might tell the population that they don’t have to accept everything they’re told but they can question their leadership and if they want, still follow them, but if they don’t agree it’s still ok. The world will be divided but it will be free.

Do I recommend it? Yes, of course.
Rate: 4/5

I hope this first review is ok. I still have to learn how to write properly. I will try my best for this blog to grow and bloom!

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