The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman

16065736Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.
Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what. (from Goodreads)

In a very recent group swap, in which we talked about podcasts and audiobooks, I publically declared my undying love for Neil Gaiman’s voice. So Cindi asked, “Hey, have you read this?” and no, I hadn’t, so I dived right into it because I have no selfcontrol.
Thank you, Cindi, for the recommendation.
I really liked this book! The supernatural characters nonchalantly living in our terrenal realm reminded me of American Gods, although the overall tone of he story is quite different. I spent a very cozy couple of afternoons listening to it, and I do highly recommend it 🙂

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman


The world will end on Saturday. Next Saturday. Just before dinner, according to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, the world’s only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655. The armies of Good and Evil are amassing and everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except that a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture. And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist. (from Goodreads)

This one took me such a long time to finish. After I listened to the audiobooks of Neverwhere and The Graveyard book, I tried to find an audio version of this read by Neil Gaiman himself, but without success. Probably because of this disappointment, I couldn’t bond with this narrator’s voice (I know, the whole “problem” sounds too wtf to me too), so the only way I could follow the narration was reading the book at the same time, which was far from my original reason of using an audiobook. So I left it there for several months. Considering that the end of the year was near and I was far from completing my reading challenge, and that I was constantly spammed by Neil Gaiman sharing pictures from the filming of the tv adaptation on his instagram, I said to myself: “get to work and finish this darn thing”.

I’m glad I did. Don’t let this whole rant make you think that I didn’t enjoy the book. The book is great, and I loved every little piece of it. The narrator did a very good job, making great voices and all, but had a very different pace to what I was accustomed, which was probably the reason why it felt a bit awkward at first.

I’m looking forward to the tv adaptation, and to read this again, but on a physical book next time.

The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman

17616491Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead.

There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack – who has already killed Bod’s family. (from Goodreads)

I “read” this as an audiobook. I started this one last year, but at some point I abandoned it, mostly because the audio chapters were too long and I wasn’t able to pay attention during an entire hour at the time. So I seize the sitting hours doing drawing and editing work for college to re-hear everything and finally finish it, in just a couple of days.

It was ok. The story is told in a series of episodes in Bod’s life, from the night of his family’s murders up to his teenage years. These episodes appear as random adventures, in and out of the graveyard, but they all come together in the last chapters and Bod’s final encounter with the man Jack, when he puts to work all what he learned through the years.

I didn’t like much how things turned in the end: what happened with Scarlett (Bod’s childhood friend), and the entire last chapter, but I can live with that.

Probably, what I liked the most, was listening to Neil Gaiman’s reading. He’s great at it. I want him to read me ALL THE BOOKS.

Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman

24866319Under the streets of London there’s a world most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, and pale girls in black velvet. Richard Mayhew is a young businessman who is about to find out more than he bargained for about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his safe and predictable life and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and yet utterly bizarre. There’s a girl named Door, an Angel called Islington, an Earl who holds Court on the carriage of a Tube train, a Beast in a labyrinth, and dangers and delights beyond imagining … And Richard, who only wants to go home, is to find a strange destiny waiting for him below the streets of his native city. (from Goodreads)

A while ago I was part of a reading challenge in which we had to read someone else’s favorite book, from a given list. I chose this book because I’ve wanted to read something from Gaiman for awhile, so this was a great excuse for a start. It was also my first time “reading” an audio book, because I couldn’t fetch a physical copy and I didn’t have time to read it from my computer. It took me some time to get used to this format, but by the end I was enjoying it as much as traditional reading. Besides, it was read by Gaiman himself, so what could be better than that? He gave a different voice to each character and it was practically unnecessary to hear the narrator saying who was talking.

I really liked the story. I imagine that, if I were more familiar with the city of London, the place wouldn’t be the same after reading this book. There are so many landmarks named that really made the story feel more real. The plot reminded me a little of Alice in Wonderland, a little of the Wizard of Oz (and they’re plenty of references to those stories, and probably to a lot of other books) and the style, the characters, the places, and the sense of humour reminded me of Terry Pratchett (well, they wrote a book together after all, right?).
I knew I was going to like it, and it didn’t disappoint.