paperback, 544 pages
William Morrow Paperbacks, reprint edition
A review copy of this book was provided through TLC Book Tours
Barnes & Noble
Is there any better companion for the cheap seats, or any seats at all, than Neil Gaiman? The answer, my friends, is no.
Neil Gaiman is like that one high school teacher that made students want to come to class, that one teacher who made school bearable and any topic enthralling. Gaiman takes the most ordinary journalistic task and turns it into a friendly conversation that starts out in one place (books and authors) and ends up in quite another (the urgent need for storytelling in our lives). Carried along by Gaiman's voice, the reader finds a companion who restores faith and hope all by talking about libraries. And who else could get away with a book review that is almost entirely about the color of the book cover (gold) and the fact that the book reviewer has quite accidentally misplaced the review copy of said book?
You will not find vitriol, venom, or even bile between in The View from the Cheap Seats. Most of the pieces in this volume are appreciations: of authors (Bradbury, Aldiss, Terry Pratchett, and others); of libraries and bookstores; of comics and comic artists; of science fiction and fantasy. If you are a book lover, if you are a true reader, then you are going to find a kindred spirit in Neil Gaiman, and you are going to love this book.
If you are already a Gaiman fan, then you will find much to please you: the origins and writing of The Graveyard Book and other works, the author's childhood love of books. If you first came to Gaiman through The Sandman, there is much for you in this book. Personally, I discovered Neil Gaiman when my daughter gave me a copy of American Gods. I was and still am gobsmacked. American Gods is unlike anything else I have ever read, and yet it is like every story I ever read that I wanted to keep reading. If you haven't read it yet, go get it. You can thank me later.
If you are a writer, or secretly wish to be a writer (aren't all readers just one step away from wishing to write or actually writing?) then you will love this book. There is guidance and comfort and advice here.
In short, you need this book. Keep it on your nightstand. Leaf through it when you are feeling as if you might lose faith in humans or the future or libraries or bookstores. Read it to remind yourself that this is why you read.