27 December 2008

The Graveyard Book or the Graveyard Blog

I just finished reading Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book. And I enjoyed it thoroughly. It was quite magical. I wouldn't perhaps rank it quite as high as American Gods, or Neverwhere, or Sandman for that matter, if only because it was a tad simpler and shorter (kind of half way between a young adults' book and an adults' book). But on the other hand, each of Gaiman's works has been so different that making comparisons between them would be rather pointless. In any case, he's still a brilliant writer, and one of my very favourite authors.

The experience was interesting, and a little different than usual, because I've lived with the book, in a manner of speaking, since before it (or most of it) was written, through reading about Gaiman's experiences during the writing process in his blog. I knew something of how the chapters had come about even without knowing (much of) the story, and the artwork, and editing process and different versions of the book. (I was lucky enough to have the British version. I always prefer British English, as that's where my roots are, and it's the language of many of the favourite authors I grew up with. Books get imported here from both the UK and America, so you can never be sure which edition you're likelier to find.)

Did it make the experience more enjoyable? Perhaps, a little. It's hard to express how exactly. Like getting acquainted with an old friend you've never actually met. Obviously you'll rarely get a chance to experience a book in this way (partly because not everyone will write as much about the process, partly because you simply couldn't read about every book even if they did). I'm not sure I would be half as open and friendly as Gaiman is in his blog, if I were a published author. But you never know.

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