Friday, May 29, 2009

Neil Gaiman, my hero

Newbery Medal winner Neil Gaiman surprised his audience, and apparently his publisher, when he announced a competition for independent bookstores. Speaking at the Book Expo Day in New York, Gaiman said there will be a competition for best Halloween theme around The Graveyard Book. The winner will get Gaiman for a booksigning. At a time when independent stores are being crushed under the weight of the big boys, this would be a coup to have a man whose epic career spans the Sandman novels and two books-to-film Stardust and Coraline.
I love that while he is riding high on success, he remembers the roots. To learn more about the contest, visit his journal where he will flesh-out the announcement soon. Tell every indie you know about it. Make it count.
P.S. This is so cool -- He just won Best AudioBook of the Year and he put up a link to a free reading of his first chapter. I'm positive he was the kind of dad who read to his kids. He is one of the best audio readers I've ever heard. I can't wipe the smile from my face when I hear his The Wolves in the Walls, and I love his reading of Stardust, too. He is able to be funny and terrifying (scared the bejeebers out of me with some stories in Fragile Things), as well as deliver subtle character voices.


Laura Canon said...

I have just begun to discover Gaiman in the past six months or so. I don't know quite what effect it's going to have on me, but I think it's going to be big. I hunted down The Sandman books in the library a couple of months ago and I can safely say it was like nothing else I've been through. I hated the comic-bookiness of it and was at least once in every volume highly disturbed by some picture or incident and yet I knew that I was reading something great and I really couldn't put it down. I have nothing but praise for his novels. I thought the Graveyard Book was great and really deserved the Newbery.
It's cool to see that he's a nice guy, too. I got into his work because of a book called Neil Gaiman: Prince of Stories which is a great companion/introduction. Are you familiar with it?

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

No, I haven't read Prince of Stories, but I should since I really am crazy about his storytelling. I know some people have said they find his writing hard to warm up to, but not me. I am drawn by his originality. So many times I have been astounded by the concept and twists of his tales. He is as good with short stories and children's books as he is with adult novels.
I agree with you about graphic novels. I'd rather have the words and lose myself with visions in my own head. But they are popular with lots of people that's for sure.

Barrie said...

Thanks for blogging about this. I'm forwarding the link to my local indie children's book store. And I love to listen to Neil Gaiman read too.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Barrie: Thanks for notifying your local store and for dropping by here. It's a pleasure. Maybe we'll get lucky and he will come to a store near us.
Laura: I was just thinking about the graphic/comic topic and remembered a time when I loved it. As a kid, someone gave me comic books that were adaptations of classic stories like Ivanhoe. I would not have read those tales in books at that age, but I was totally absorbed in them as comics. It was a way to bring me into storytelling, I think, so I value that.

Lynnette Labelle said...

That's so nice! I'll have to check him out. Thanks.

Lynnette Labelle

Donna said...

"American Gods" is still my favorite Gaiman novel--so complex and intense. I haven't seen "Prince of Stories," but I'll look for it now. Thanks, Laura.

I wish my beloved Riverside children's bookstore, Imagine That!, was still with us. It would have been a contender for the indie contest. A big hurrah to Gaiman for his boundless energy.