Saturday, December 24, 2011

Wishing you all Happy Holidays/ A Quick Video Countdown of Best I've Read in 2011

Just wanted to check in to wish all my followers a very merry Christmas/ happy Hanukkah/ whatever it is that you celebrate around the winter solstice!  I hope you all receive lots of wonderful books and give a few wonderful ones as well.  :)

This is a short Animoto video I made featuring some of the very best books I read this year, but may or may not have had a chance to review on the blog:

The song is "I'm Reading A Book" by Julian Smith, and you can check out the original video on Youtube here.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Review: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Genre: urban fantasy
Pages: 370 (paperback)
Published: 1996 by Avon
Recommended for: fellow Neil Gaiman fans; enthusiasts of a good urban fantasy

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Under the streets of London, there's a world most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armour and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks.

Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more than enough about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his workday existence and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and utterly bizarre. And a strange destiny awaits him down here, beneath his native city: neverwhere.

My Take:

This review comes with a inherent disclaimer, that disclaimer being that I personally consider Neil Gaiman to be something of a god in the world of fantasy literature.  The thing about Gaiman's books which captivated me when I was younger, and which still does now, is that as a writer he has the rare ability to make a reader feel like they've slipped through the cracks of the mundane, every-day world and found the extraordinary in the most unremarkable places along with his characters.  Urban fantasy can be fantastic-- ie American Gods, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, The Magicians, any of Holly Black's books-- , but it can also come across as flat and totally unbelievable.  Neil Gaiman's books have a brand of witty dark humor which makes them really enjoyable to read, every last one of them, and his characters are unique and intriguing, even though I think most of his novels are overall very plot-driven.

Neverwhere isn't my favorite Gaiman book, but I did really enjoy it and found myself thinking back to the storyline and the characters long after I turned the last page.  All in all, the mostly unpredictable plot twists and mad-cap characters-- the inhabitants of London Below, an underground London which is as dangerous as it is fascinating-- are what made reading it such a wonderful experience.  I've always wanted to visit London, but if I do it's now going to be very tempting to chat with a few homeless people or random mice in hopes of their telling me a way into London Below... maybe I'll even try drawing a door on an alley wall.  For anyone who's a fan of urban fantasy, Neil Gaiman, or fantasy in general, I'd definitely recommend Neverwhere

As far as my sparse (to say the least) posting schedule goes, I'm really hoping to have a new home computer and get a few opportunities to post and visit blogs over Christmas break.  Merry Christmas to my readers in advance, if any of you are still visiting occasionally! 

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