It’s Halloween week here at Machina Memorialis—okay, it’s Halloween week everywhere—and today I’m offering my support for Neil Gaiman’s modest proposal:
I propose that, on Hallowe’en or during the week of Hallowe’en, we give each other scary books. Give children scary books they’ll like and can handle. Give adults scary books they’ll enjoy.
Give a scary book this week. Unsure what to give? Monica Edinger offers some suggestions. And, of course, The Graveyard Book wouldn’t be a bad choice, either.
Edit: The event has been named All Hallow’s Read.
The third hour-long 1 Book, 1 Twitter with Neil Gaiman in which they discussed American Gods took place earlier today. I didn’t participate or read it live, but enjoyed reading the conversation. All three sessions are available and worth reading.
A few favorite question/response exchanges from today’s session include:
@neilhimself I would love to read the version of AG in Dream’s library, how long a book do you think that would be?
@poodlemaster I think it would either fill a dozen shelves, or be twice as good and half as long.
@neilhimself Do you consider American Odin to be less powerful / derivative of Norse Odin, or just different but equal?
@meaganoff He’s more fun to write, because he’s more screwed up. He’d like to be as powerful as Norse Odin was in his glory days.
@neilhimself Are there any AG characters you plan to revisit in a different context as in Anansi Boys?
@T_Lawson I want to do more MONARCH OF THE GLEN stories about Shadow in the UK. Then send him home.
Do you ever see yourself in Mr. Wednesday?
@Asche_zu_Ash if you’re doing your job as a writer you had better see yourself in all the characters
American Gods was the first book chosen for the 1 Book, 1 Twitter discussion, which was the brainchild of Jeff Howe of Wired.
CBS ran a good introductory piece on Neil Gaiman this past Sunday and have put the clip online. Quite enjoyable. I’ve seen lots of pictures of locations and objects in his house from his blog, but seeing them in video added a new perspective. And I’ve long wanted a writing room like his gazebo, set off from the house with electricity. This is the first time I’ve seen inside it. Mine would need a small kitchen so I could make tea rather than walk back to the house. His might, actually, but maybe not. Unlike me, Gaiman can afford an assistant, the Fabulous Lorraine, who, among other things, makes tea for him.
Neil Gaiman’s metacommentary about the post in which he notes the 8th anniversary of his blog:
And I thought, eight years ago, when I began carefully charting the progress of American Gods, nervously dipping my toes into the waters of blogging, would I have imagined a future in which, instead of recording the vicissitudes of bringing a book into the world, I would be writing about not-even-interestingly missing cups of cold camomile tea?
And I thought, yup. Sounds about right. Happy Eighth birthday, blog.
I’ve never been one for Literature. Oh, I mean, there’s plenty of Literature that I like, but I’m afraid that those beholden to the Arnold-Leavis-Elliot tradition would tell me that I’m not discerning enough. Never have been, really. Story is what I’m about, and I’ll forgive lack of style if the story is good. Hell, I’ll even forgive story if it makes me think.
Turns out, over semester break, I was guilty of reading some Literature. Or, at least, a Newbery Medal winner, only it wasn’t a Newbery Award winner at the time. Monday, the ALA announced that Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book had been awarded the Newbery. The Graveyard Book is children’s literature in the way The Hobbit or Terry Pratchett’s The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents or Tiffany Aching books are children’s literature, meaning that I don’t feel like I’m reading something for children when I read them.
It’s a great book. Worth reading. But then, I could say that about pretty much anything Gaiman’s written.
You can hear him on yesterday’s NPR’s Talk of the Nation, read a Guardian article about the ALA selecting something people actually read, read Gaiman’s announcement on his blog, or read his Twitter announcement in which he says the things he did not say to the Newbery committee when they called him Monday morning. Better yet, read the book.