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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A great freebie - Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book

Here's another cool thing I found. As you know, I am a Neil Gaiman appreciator, having first read Neverwhere, then Stardust, and his young adult book Coraline (now coming out in theatres). I am also working through his graphic novel series, Sandman (but only when I can find the books at the library; my fellow nerds tend to beat me to them) Anyway, last year Gaiman conducted a 9-city tour to promote his other children's book The Graveyard Book, where he read a different chapter each stop. He uploaded the vids at, effectively creating an audiobook for potential readers. I respect this marketing ploy; although it may seem that Gaiman gave away his whole book during his tour, he basically whetted the audience's appetite to know what preceded or came after the read chapter, prompting his audience to make a beeline to the nearest Border or Barnes and Nobles to purchase the full text.

Gaiman likens The Graveyard Book (which was recently awarded The Newbery Award) as a sepulchral version of The Jungle Tale where a human orphan is raised by non-humans. In the case of The Jungle Book, the adopters were animals. In Gaiman's tale, the adoptive guardians are the ghostly and other-humanly denizens of a graveyard, who come to the rescue of a toddler who literally toddled to the cemetery from his nearby home. Warning: for parents of small children, you should know that the episodic story is premised by the brutal murders of the young child's family. It is at the behest of his newly ghosted mother that the young boy, who will later be re-christened Nobody Owens (Bod for short), is adopted by the graveyard citzenry, and by one couple, the Owens, in particular who gift him with their surname. They as well as an assortment of nearly 300 ghosts, ghouls and a character who may or may not be a vampire, will watch after Bod from toddler to teen as well as protect him from the murderer, who will continue his quest to do in the last member of the unfortunate family.

What might have been a fully disturbing, horrific tale is actually one of adventure, love and affirmation. It is also a tale of self-discovery, as Bod grows to learn not only his history but his destiny - and why his family was targeted in the first place. Gaiman is a deft storyteller, injecting horror, suspense, adventure and even humor at all the right places. Writers from every genre can definitely take cues from Gaiman's work to hone and craft their own writing style. I know I will - when I get back to writing.

Click the pic further up for an excerpt from the first chapter.

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Sharon Cullars Coffee Talk at 2/17/2009 04:21:00 PM Permanent Link     | | Home


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