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Thursday, September 8, 2016
Book Review: THE VIEW FROM THE CHEAP SEATS Neil Gaiman
from the Goodreads summary . . . . .
An enthralling collection of nonfiction essays on a myriad of topics—from art and artists to dreams, myths, and memories—observed in Neil Gaiman’s probing, amusing, and distinctive style.
An inquisitive observer, thoughtful commentator, and assiduous craftsman, Neil Gaiman has long been celebrated for the sharp intellect and startling imagination that informs his bestselling fiction. Now, The View from the Cheap Seats brings together for the first time ever more than sixty pieces of his outstanding nonfiction. Analytical yet playful, erudite yet accessible, this cornucopia explores a broad range of interests and topics, including (but not limited to): authors past and present; music; storytelling; comics; bookshops; travel; fairy tales; America; inspiration; libraries; ghosts; and the title piece, at turns touching and self-deprecating, which recounts the author’s experiences at the 2010 Academy Awards in Hollywood.
Insightful, incisive, witty, and wise, The View from the Cheap Seatsexplores the issues and subjects that matter most to Neil Gaiman—offering a glimpse into the head and heart of one of the most acclaimed, beloved, and influential artists of our time.(less)
Hardcover, 522 pages
Published May 31st 2016 by William Morrow
The View from the Cheap Seats
0062262262 (ISBN13: 9780062262264)
our review of THE VIEW FROM THE CHEAP SEATS . . . . .
The best recommendation I can make to fans of Neil Gaiman (and I am a fan) is to read this in small doses for best appreciation. Do not attempt to marathon read it or even read it every day. The awe becomes dulled if you do.
There is a lot to appreciate here among Gaiman's previously published articles, opinion pieces, essays, reviews, book endorsements/forwards, and speeches/presentations. Gaiman has a lot to say, and he says it well, about writing, books, movies, comics, and especially the importance of writing and reading.
The best recommendation I can make to curious readers who have heard good things about Gaiman and want to pick something up - - is to start with his fiction. That is where he truly excels. Gaiman has a rich imagination and a wonderful way of putting words together. His fiction is great.
THE VIEW FROM THE CHEAP SEATS is perhaps too much of a good, but not great, thing.
At over 500 pages, there is so much of Gaiman's interesting observations and comments that it lessens the impact. You can only absorb so much before it starts to seem the same and become routine. After reading 200 pages, I ended up cherry-picking the articles I wanted to read from that point forward, and then not even finishing some of them because I became bored.
Bored! I never thought the day would come when I would feel that way about something done by Gaiman. I think everything that he has ever written that is not fiction appears in this collection. I'm reminded of his last collection of stories, which was also jam-packed like this volume. Some of those stories were not his best and, just like this collection of non-fiction, lessened the impact.
Make no mistake. Gaiman still remains in the top percentage of writers to admire, but he's come down a notch. I used to think him infallible, a god of words. His last two collections show some chinks in the armor. Now he's just a demigod.