Saturday, June 13, 2009

Audiobooks? Neil Gaiman?

Being a kid is so fun. Isn't being a kid so fun? Being a kid is really, really, altogether, too much fun. And in that vein there's Neil Gaiman.

His books, which come in so many sizes and fit for so many palates, always seem to remind me of my child. Me as a child. A little baby-thing, reckless, feckless and food covered. It's not that Neil Gaiman's books are pedantic or so superficially adventurous that they dull one's senses into something resembling a child (as, say, David Baldacci's novels). It's just that time and time again they prove to be so hiliarious, so smart, and so enduringly forged out of the language of myth, that I can't help but read (or as I'll get to: listen to) them as a child would: hanging on every word like it will save my life, smiling so much I think I may have taken my dog's antidepressants instead of my own allergy medication that day, and learning about who we are as a human people and how we got here with enough verve to make you think that the subject was the coolest, most radically hilarious episode of Spongebob Squarepants.

As it goes: I often get the feeling that Gaiman's books are made from the same stardust they ruminate about.

My favorite way to digest these gems is through the medium of the audiobook. If you've never tried listening to one, your life isn't quite complete yet (now is it?). Just yesterday I was ready to sue Liberty Bay Books for emotional damages after the climax of The Anansi Boys was disrupted by scratches on the disk. Alas, the problem was quickly fixed. Again: I cannot stress the joy that listening to a good book read by a good reader can induce. (Note: Gaiman reads a few of his own books for the their audiobook edition rather brilliantly. Those read be Lenny Henry are also extraordinarily good.)

My favorite Neil Gaiman books have been all those I've read: The Anansi Boys, Fragile Things, and this year's Newbery Medal winner, The Graveyard Book. I recommend all of them.


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