Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Reading List for September

My reading list for September is late. I am currently working my way through a large history book, but I don't mind taking long breaks from it in order to absorb & ponder the information & interpretation of the writer. I know it's going to take me months to finish this book, but that's okay. I wouldn't enjoy it any other way.

In the meantime, I tried reading other smaller novels in July, but I lost interest. Time is short. So I moved on. August was completely taken up by the Rio Olympics, my guilty pleasure, where I drop everything & focus (waste) my time & energy cheering on the various athletes & marvel at the wonders of the human body & spirit.

The weekend after the Olympics was over, I spent reorganizing & lining my kitchen cabinets. I need to sort through & organize the stuff I tend to accumulate. Otherwise, it just piles up & starts taking up space. I'm a packrat by nature, always trying to store extra things, afraid to toss junk away for fear of needing them some time later down the line.

But the truth is, a lot of it is stuff I don't use or need, so every couple of months, I sort through the accumulation to recycle & sort out the materials. It keeps me from becoming a hoarder, & it keeps the place clean & open. I like open spaces. And I like the feeling of accomplishment & lightness that comes from thinning out the piles of stuff that start to collect & take up space ever few months.

I barely had enough time to start reading last week, but it was worth it. I indulged myself & went for something fun. I like SciFi & Fantasy stories, especially when they are creative & entertaining. And one of my fave writers of the genre is Neil Gaiman.

The very first work of Neil Gaiman that I read was the amazing & magnificent comic book The Sandman. I had never read a comic book (or any other book) like that before. It was totally creative, original, & highly imaginative & thoroughly entertaining. The artwork was fantastic & absolutely stunning. I was flabbergasted & pleasantly surprised that a comic book could be so rich, engaging, & sophisticated. It was art, pure & simple & so spectacular.

As I was pondering what book I ought to read to pass the time, for some reason, Neil Gaiman popped into my mind. And seeing as I remembered how much I enjoyed his previous work, I sought out more of his creations. I found one, but I was so impressed & intrigued with his marvelous tale that I went on a binge these past few days & ended up reading three of his works. And I thoroughly enjoyed them all.

American Gods (American Gods #1)

The first book that read at the end of August was American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I was so hooked on the story that I read half of it long into the night, passed out on the chair, woke up a few hours later & read several more chapters til obligations forced me to put the book down & do what needed to be done. Even when I was away, the story stayed in my mind, & as soon as I got home, I sat down & read the rest of the book to the end.

It's been a while since a book has grabbed my attention this way, making me eager to read all the way through to the end without stopping. But this story of a man caught up in this surreal world of gods & intrigue & conflict in middle America was so fascinating. The characters & situations were so unique & exotic & familiar at the same time. It seemed so natural to believe that there were/are gods in America, & our lives are intertwined with theirs, for better or for worse.

There were some surprising & shocking scenes in this book, but it made sense in this fascinating world the book portrayed. The ending left me wanting more. And that's a good thing, because it makes it seem like the characters go on to do other things & live their lives, while the reader/audience must depart. I highly recommend this book. Check it out in your local library or do an online search for a digital option for your electronic device. It's a great entertaining read.

Anansi Boys (American Gods #2)

I was so entertained by Neil Gaiman's American Gods that I immediately sought out this book. It's not a sequel to the first, but could definitely fit into the world of the first book or stand on its own. It starts off kind of slow in the first chapters, but it's important because those chapters set out the themes of family ties & troubles, trust issues, & the dynamic relationship between families & the ties we share with other people through our history, interactions, & changing perspectives.

The story kept getting more interesting & exciting as the chapters went on. Mysteries & adventures made for a thoroughly entertaining read. What started out as a story about a beaten down man with a complex & conflicted relationship to his father developed into this riveting tale of action, intrigue, & revelations. The ending was totally satisfying & left me smiling, because the whole story surprised me & engaged me & left me identifying with the characters, cheering them on. I highly recommend this book, too.

The Graveyard Book

Of all the Neil Gaiman works I've read so far, The Graveyard Book is by far the most heartfelt for me. Yes, there is action & adventure & that touch of magic & mystery. But for me, this book had a lot of heart, & I honestly felt so much sympathy & hope for the characters & their lives. The ending left me feeling bereft, because although there was a sense of inevitability & some hope, I honestly didn't want the story to end. I felt that the main character needed to remain, even though the best thing (& most natural) was for him to go.

It's that feeling you get when the little ones you raised are suddenly poised to take those first steps into independence & make their way into the world. You've prepared them as best you can, you know that they are smart enough to survive, but still, you aren't ready to let go, you still want to hold them close & protect them forever. And this story made me feel very protective of the characters, whose stories & actions raised my sympathies & concern for their well being. Their world was so believable & fascinating, & I found myself wanting more. That's what makes this story so good & amazing. I highly recommend this book.

And there you have it, my reading list for September. It's late, & it's all the work of one author. But these three books captivated me with their stories & made me connect & identify with the characters. I highly recommend checking these out at your local library or searching online for digital versions/access. I have enjoyed reading Neil Gaiman's works so much that I'm actually continuing to search for & read the rest of his works.

Whatever you decide to read, I hope it's something that you enjoy. Good stories are like good people--they provide great company, good fun, & make for a great time. Good stories & good people should be shared, because they make the world & life a much happier, more wonderful, & more enjoyable experience.


  1. When I find an author I like I tend to plough through their entire back catalogue, so I understand.
    Meanwhile, could you pop over and help me to throw things away?!

    1. Scarlet, I would gladly help you reorganize & sort through your stuff! Any excuse to try delicious scones in your region!

      It helps when you can sort stuff into 3 piles: Keep (Things you use frequently), Recycle/Regift (Things you haven't used in 6 months or more, but could be donated or recycled), & Discard (Things you haven't used in over a year, can't be reused nor donated nor recyclable, & is taking up space).

      The hardest part is getting started, but within the first fifteen minutes of sorting, you find a rhythm, & when it's over, you'll feel so much better & liberated. The key is to dispose the Discard pile the same day, & have the Recycle/Regift pile removed from the premises the same day or by the weekend at the latest. Don't let the Recycle/Regift pile take up any more space--reallocate it immediately!

      And I've started reading more Neil Gaiman.

  2. If it's any consolation, you did the equivalent of writing a book with your excellent Olympics posts! So, time and energy not wasted!

    1. LX, Thanks! Writing about the Olympics is very enjoyable & cathartic for me. I like discussing the athletes & the whole environment of the Games--what works, what doesn't, & what's great.

  3. I adore Neil Gaiman. American Gods is one of my favourites. That and Stardust.

    I'm like Ms Scarlet in reading the new authors back catalogue, trying to take the books in order.

    That's a point, I've got a new book waiting in my kindle....

    1. Roses, I just started reading Stardust--I saw the film, & I was intrigued. The film seemed short, as if there was more to this world that was being left out. Here's to hoping the book is better than the movie!

      Thank goodness for mobile devices, because they provide access to a wealth of books & information without the need to log heavy books around :)

    2. After having moved twice in quick succession, I've decided that I will stick to buying titles on my kindle and only have my favourite authors in hard copy. Also, at the end of the day, when my eyes are tired I can make the text bigger! It's this getting old business.

    3. Rose, Online/electronic access has made it possible to read & have so many amazing books for our enjoyment at the speed of light. And it's really light--no heavy books to lug around! Like you, I am aiming to only have my faves as hard copies & the rest as electronic. And it is very nice to be able to resize text & be able to read at more locations & times thanks to the convenience of electronic/mobile access.

  4. I have a basket of books that I want to read (since I can't but anymore until I've read these!), but it seems I can't find (or won't make the time) to just stop and sit and read. I need to fix that. xoxoxo

    1. Savannah, I totally get ya. I usually read during laundry time. And it's surprising how much free reading time I have once I turn off the tv. It's all reruns & boring shows now, so it totally frees up more time for me to read. I also find an hour or more to read when I'm waiting for a meal to reduce, braise, or bake for some time. I just make sure to set my alarm & timer, lest I forget & burn the meal.

      I follow the 20 page rule: If it's not interesting after 20 pages, then move on. Life is too short to be wasted on awful books. Read what you love or whatever catches your fancy!

  5. Miss Scarlet said, "when I find an author I like I tend to plough through their entire back catalogue, so I understand." Me too.

    I've been tempted to reread The Graveyard Book but first I have to get started on some of his works that I've missed such as "Neverwhere."

    Well done on reading these books PLUS lining your kitchen cabinets PLUS blogging about the Olympics!

    1. MJ, It's been a real treat catching up on Neil Gaiman's other works. Each surprises me, because they often go in unexpected ways & the stories are creative, & the characters are memorable.

      The books & Olympics were a treat. The relining of the kitchen shelves was necessary, overdue, & a chore but it was surprisingly enjoyable once it was accomplished! After all that work reorganizing & sorting through the piles of stuff, I can honestly say that I definitely earned a reward: Reading more books for fun!

  6. This Mr Gaiman seems to have something to himself - I will look for texts by him ; do not know whether there are translations, and - as always - am not sure if I should ever use one, but I will look for him.

    "I need to sort through & organize the stuff I tend to accumulate. Otherwise, it just piles up & starts taking up space. I'm a packrat by nature, always trying to store extra things, afraid to toss junk away for fear of needing them some time later down the line."
    And experience has it that the damn stuff one throws away all of a sudden could be useful within the following ten days or so ... I envy you for this ability to clear the spaces Eros, it is long overdue around here. And through all these last weeks of summer holiday I was unable to tackle it, oh the dreaded cellar ...
    I can not get away from the "reading is work"-thing, as I learned it and do it all over the years, it is ages since I read a novel. I think the closest were dispatches by Hemingway & Gelhorn, some years ago. Great writing, nevertheless.

    1. Mago, I first discovered Neil Gaiman back in high school, when I read The Sandman, an amazing comic book (way back then, before they called a great comic book a "graphic novel"). I was astonished to discover such an original, creative, fantastic, & captivating story. This was not the usual comic books--this was high art & great literature! And I have since discovered more of his marvelous works.

      To be fair, I don't always like some of the twists & turns & conclusions, but they all make for an engaging, wonderful story that always manages to surprise me & entertain me & move me in some way. I usually end up hungry for more spectacular stories from him.

      Most of the stories I read are from the library or access online. Do an internet search to see if you can find his works freely available online or at your local library. I plan on buying hard copies/books as great gifts for the children & teens in my life. I'm sure they'll love 'em, because I do.

      I need to clear the clutter every couple of months. I am a packrat, & if I had the space, I probably wouldn't mind the extras. But I need open spaces & to keep things organized, otherwise, I'll never find what I need & I could end up like a hoarder! Plus, I like the open spaces & feeling organized & efficient. It always makes me feel relaxed & very free to get rid of the mess & clutter. But the hardest part is getting started. Just start small, pick a corner & start working from there. Doing a little at a time, breaking down the big tasks into smaller, manageable tasks makes the work so much easier to handle. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

  7. Excellent list! I loved American Gods - Did you know that Bryan Fuller is making a TV show based on it? I think it should be good, as he also made shows like Pushing Daisies and Dead Like Me. Plus, Gillian Anderson and Kristin Chenoweth are in it!

    I need to re-read Neil Gaiman's collection of short stories Smoke and Mirros now

    1. IDV, I can't wait to see what Fuller comes up with! Pushing Daisies & Dead Like Me are fantastic & entertaining. I'm kind of curious at how they'll portray certain scenes that shocked & intrigued me, particularly in the beginning, when that one person is, shall we say "consumed by ecstasy". What a way to go!

      I just got done with Stardust, & it's totally different from the film in a lot of significant ways. Both are enjoyable for different reasons, & I can't help but want to read more about the world beyond Wall. Neil Gaiman has an amazing talent for creating unique & fascinating stories.

  8. Like Scarlet and MJ, I tend to be a bit of a binger when I find a good uthor. And Neil Gaiman is right up there.I am off to my library shortly to request a few more titles and will re-read American Gods before the tele-movie comes out.
    And for more fantasy,,,I've just finished David Mitchell's "The Bone Clocks" Very good, I thought;he gives his characters depth.

    1. Dinah, Welcome & thank you for "The Bone Clocks" recommendation!

      I'm currently still binging on Neil Gaiman! Libraries have been a great resource for me, as I no longer have to worry so much about books piling up & taking up valuable space. And since the ongoing construction continues in its third year next door, the library has been a refuge when I need a quiet place to work or to read without all the noise from the construction & landscaping.