Posted in books, Quotes, writing

Neil Gaiman on Reading

And the second thing fiction does is to build empathy. When you watch TV or see a film, you are looking at things happening to other people. Prose fiction is something you build up from 26 letters and a handful of punctuation marks, and you, and you alone, using your imagination, create a world and people it and look out through other eyes. You get to feel things, visit places and worlds you would never otherwise know. You learn that everyone else out there is a me, as well. You’re being someone else, and when you return to your own world, you’re going to be slightly changed.

This is a snippet of a lecture Neil Gaiman gave to the Reading Agency in London, on Monday, October 14, about the importance of reading, libraries, and librarians. Read the rest here in The Guardian. It is a long-ish read, but worth it. Gaiman makes the case for reading, libraries, books and daydreaming better than anyone I’ve ever seen (or read). Pass it on.

Now if only people would put down their smart phones and tablets and turn off the tv long enough to read a book.

book shelf

Posted in horror, writing

Neil Gaiman at the Sydney Opera House

Confused? Gaiman and opera? Fear not. Neil gave a reading from one of his own previously unreleased stories with musical accompaniment. If you’ve got five minutes, it’s definitely worth a look and listen.

I wasn’t able to embed the video, they apparently don’t allow that (guess they want you to go to their site and read all the ads). Click on the picture to go to the site.

Posted in books


So yesterday I treated myself to a trip to the bookstore. With all the hype about vampires from the new movie “Twilight” right now, it got me interested in finding out how many other literary portrayals of vampires there are.

Wow. Quite a few.

I haven’t read the “Twilight” series, since I’m not a ‘tween (not by a long shot). But I think when the movie comes out on DVD I’ll probably rent it, mostly because it was shot in and around where I live. Apparently the setting, according to the books, is somewhere up in Washington, but almost all the filming locations were here in Oregon. What a hoot. I can identify places in the trailer even. (Anyone want a postcard from the area?)

So as I said, I took myself off to the bookstores yesterday (I say ‘bookstores’, plural, because the first one so traumatized me I had to drive to Shangri-la, aka, Powells, down the road to calm myself). I wanted to look at the new hardcover annotated “Dracula”, Leslie S. Klinger contributor, and an introduction by Neil Gaiman. It’s quite the book, I’d say worth the $39.95 list price but I wasn’t in the mood to pay that much yesterday, and I’m not that much of a Dracula fan. But I had trouble locating it on the shelves. I expected it to be shelved where “Frankenstein” is, either in the sci-fi/fantasy section, or the “Literature” (capital L) section. But no. One of the salespeople(woman) asked if she could help, so she offered to look it up on their computers and see where it might be kept.

Now here’s the sad part. I’m in a bookstore, and I had to tell her, not only WHO the author was, but I had to spell “S-T-O-K-E-R” for her. Twice. I grant you, this was in a Borders, so the staff is not necessarily interested in their own merchandise. I guess I had this fantasy of bookstore clerks actually being readers themselves, knowing something about classic literature. :::::sigh::::: My bubble is burst. I could have understood it if I’d asked for something by Solzhenitsyn, but Stoker? But lo and behold, there it was, in the “Horror” section, with Stephen King. I wandered around for a few more minutes after being unimpressed with the two paperback copies of Dracula they had in addition to the new hardcover, then drove down the road to Powell’s where I was greeted with many editions of Dracula. I picked up a Dover thrift edition for $3.50, and a Terry Prachett, “Witches Abroad”, because I thought a good laugh was in order at this point. I got out of there only $7 poorer.

And shame on me, I missed Bram’s birthday, November 8. Happy Birthday Bram!