I explored the worlds created by Neil Gaiman without knowing his name. More than a decade ago I worked at an Environmental Centre. A depot for people to drop off items for recycling and reuse. Our most popular reuse items were contained within a garden shed. It was its only mini free bookstore.
This was a time before Little Libraries popped up in neighbourhood parks. Before there was much commerce for ebooks. Instead, there were new bookstores, used bookstores, and the reuse shed.
As an employee of the Environmental Centre one of our duties was to keep the book shed tidy. Nicely place the books in shelves so people felt welcome to explore genres they had never experienced before. One of my early finds was Stardust.
I explored the town of Wall. A town built on granite, and west of an old stone wall from which the town was named. There is one opening in the wall, not far from the town, and through it the townspeople could see a meadow, a stream, trees, and strange things. No one dare go over there. To ensure the residents and travellers stay on the correct side of the wall, the opening has been guarded for hundreds if not thousands of years.
Every nine years on May Day, there was a Faerie Market. Coloured tents were raised, stalls erected, and the villagers and visitors were welcome to cross the wall into the meadow where the market was held. It was a place oddities and wonders.
Tristan Thorn is a young villager who had lost his heart to a local village girl. He vows to bring her back a fallen star that has fallen on the far side of the wall to prove his love. On that journey he learns there is magic, darkness, and a greater adventure than he could imagine.
I loved the book, but I am partial to dark fairytales. How not everything turns out as you hoped and the evil are truly evil. I also loved the movie. They each are distinct from the other, the movie more Happily Ever After as Hollywood prefers. The book was beautifully written and easy to read. It was after I read the book I started to look for more of Neil Gaiman’s books.
I then found Neverwhere and the Graveyard Book. Each distinct and unworldly in a different way. With the birth of my daughter I then was introduced to Caroline. Also dark and fantastical in different ways. My daughter continues to love the movie today and it is always on her Halloween watch list.
My latest purchase was Neil Gaiman’s retelling of Norse Myths. I am a collector of folktales, fairytales, and mythology, so this book fit right in. I own a copy of the Poetic Edda & Prose Edda, Saemund Sigfusson & Snorri Sturluson’s edition, and wanted to see how Neil Gaiman word smithed the myths.
Unlike his other books I have enjoyed, this one is more inline with my other books of folktales. What I enjoy about it is the world building as he introduces us to the lands of the Norse belief system and then places the characters in it. His writing is clear and engaging, a great way for someone to be introduced to Norse Mythology.
You drank enough to take the ocean level down, to make tides. Because of you, Thor, the seawater will rise and ebb forevermore.Norse Mythology, Neil Gaiman
I implore you, if you have not already, read something Neil Gaiman has written. His writing will take you on a journey into myth and magic. Happy reading!