Thursday, January 29, 2009

Neil Gaiman won the Newbery Award and you should read his book

even if you aren't a kid. Or give it to a kid you like. The Graveyard Book is a delightful homage to Kipling's The Jungle Book, but in this case the orphan is raised by a graveyard of ghosts and undead. I was lucky enough to hear him read the first chapter live and then hear the rest, for free, from his website. The videos are still up there. Still free.

Gaiman has this ability to tap the yearning and essential goodness in his heroes while not shirking on their emotional growing pains. He is exceptionally good at creating fantasy worlds that bring alive the bitter-sweet of real life. His scary bits are scary, but not too. Unlike some horror writers who do go on too much with gore and depraved laughter, Gaiman's worst nightmares are sometimes only spooky watchdogs that have been ignored too long. Or people who think they are doing you a favor or saving the world... Add to that his humor and pacing and delight in words and you have, well, a classic.

The Newbery prize means the book will never ever go out of print as long as books are inked on paper. He deserves it.

No comments: