Everybody loves Neil

I’m bursting with excitement at the upcoming release of the movie version of one of my most favouritest books ever.  I’d like to say that it’s a philosophical tome of great worthiness, but that would be a lie (and possibly make quite a boring movie …).  Instead I will confess that it’s a children’s book, Coraline, written by one of my most favouritest authors ever – Neil Gaiman.

It’s not as bad as it sounds, though, because my Mr Gaiman is one of those writers. 

Most writers write books, and readers read them, and like them (or not).  Neil writes books (and comics, and blogs, and picture books, and screenplays, and short stories, and poems), and other writers read them, and write about them, and adapt them, and adore them.  His dustjackets read like a Who’s Who of literary greats, and there are even books written by other people about Neil and his writing. 

Oh, and did I mention?  he recently won the prestigious Newbery Medal for his most recent children’s novel – The Graveyard Book

And so as well as rereading Coraline for the 77th time, I’m also loving a couple of recent Gaiman additions to the library here – the first is a gorgeous new set of Absolute Sandman graphic novels.  Along with Alan Moore’s Watchmen, the Sandman series is widely credited with shaping the modern comic book, leading to its current huge popularity as a format, as well as its recognition as a valid literary genre, as attested to by such literary greats as Norman Mailer, who described the series as “a comic book for intellectuals”.  It’s full of dreams and mythology, interwoven with modern-day dark urban horror, and has a huge and passionately loyal following.

The second Gaiman treat I’m reading is one of those aforementioned books about Neil.  Called Prince of Stories: the many worlds of Neil Gaiman, it is a collaboration between several of today’s top writers, including Christopher Golden.  It is a collection of mini-essays and interviews with and about everyone Neil has worked with or influenced, in the format of a guide to each of his works, and also includes snippets of musings from Neil himself, covering everything from artistic temperament to leather jackets (importance of).  Being one of those people who insist on reading every foreword, afterword, preface, epilogue and book blurb, I am loving the extra wee details I’m discovering about many of my favourite books, as well as the insight into the creative process and the relationships between many of today’s major fantasy and art talents.

If all this is sounding a bit too worthy, however, or you’re just not into graphic novels, do make sure you check out Coraline, one of the spookiest and sweetest kids’ books ever,  and don’t forget to explore the amazing movie website, with its fascinating look behind the scenes at stop-motion film-making and passionately committed artists.

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