Reviews – Two By Neil Gaiman

First let’s talk about “The Ocean at the End of the Lane“.

Ocean at the End of the LaneLet’s just come out with it to start, I love this book. Yes, it is true that I am a huge Neil Gaiman fan anyway, but The Ocean at the End of the Lane made me even more of one. It is a short book and an easy read for most people, but it is a bit hard to classify. By length an narrator, an eleven year old boy, you might be tempted to classify it as a juvenile book, but it is not. By the subject matters dealt with, such as suicide and desire, it is at least Young Adult, if not totally an adult work.

It is interesting to me that Gaiman started writing this work as a short story for his wife, Amanda Palmer. He started writing it as a way to, perhaps, explain who he is and why he is the way he is. It is a very personal story to him, one that is anchored around the edges to his own childhood. But it goes beyond that simple story to become a larger tale of people, the universe, and the way things operate. These subjects could come across as heavy handed except for they are approached from the innocence of this little boy, who is a bit lost and more than a bit brave at the same time.

If you are looking for a book of light and delight and happy endings, this is not what you need to be reading. But if you are want to explore some of life’s larger questions, delve into some of our more hidden emotions, and do so through the un-jaded mind of what might as well be an modern representation of the slightly nerdy, slightly outcast everyman, then this is it.

Fortunately The MilkAnd now “Fortunately The Milk“.

This is a a thoroughly delightful little book. Not at all deep or dark like the previous title. It is aimed probably at ages 6 to 10? Sorry, I am not good at gauging kids books. But, this would make a great book to read out loud to kids. There are lots of fun places to do interesting voices and inflections on odd words. It maybe a bit long to read to them all the way through in one sitting, but there is a great breaking point exactly in the middle. And the illustrations, though all black and white, are fun to look at. You can find lots of tons of little hidden details.

If you have a young kid, or can find one to read to, this book is highly recommended. Or just read it for yourself. You are never too old for a good story book.

Story Circles and Lines – Courtesy of Cameron

The Story CircleFirst I have to publically thank Cameron Garriepy for letting my insanity infiltrate her website.  She kindly let me kick off her June Story Circle. This is a series where one person, in this case me, writes the first part, a second person writes the next part, and so on. The fourth part of the series, to be published on the fourth Monday of June, will bring this piece of short fiction to a close. The interesting thing is that while I wrote the first part I have no idea how it will end or even who will write the ending. So stay tuned, I am in for as much as a ride as you!

Cameron is a delightful person and author of some excellent books and stories. You owe it to yourself to check out her work and her postings on sites such as Google+. She is also managing editor at Write on Edge. One of the great things about having friends like Andra Watkins is that they introduce you to other great people like Cameron. People who will put up with wackos like me.

And for those of you still reading here instead of jumping over to Cameron's site, the story begins….

There is a line runs round the world. Place to place, nation to nation, never crossing, never doubling back on itself. No, this isn’t the Equator you are thinking of, or the Tropic of Cancer, or any of those other man-made lines, this is more of a path. A path that has existed for longer than man remembers and grows and changes as each new city emerges or village fades from the map. It connects them all and leads one to another. Some say the beginning lies in Heaven and the end lies in Hell.

But tune in to Cameron's site for the rest of the story.


Empty Sidewalk In The City

Content Note: I am trying to work on my fiction writing again, so you may see some unusual posts coming up. This is one of them. Basically for this I started with the image and then just kept on going.

He stepped out the front door pulling it closed firmly behind him. He even gave the knob a test to make sure it was locked, while patting the outline of his keys in his pocket. He looked down the street for a moment – the Rainy Sidewalksidewalk was plastered with the flat leaves from the recent rain. He turned for a second and looked back at the door, but no, no need to go back in. Jamming his hands down into his pockets he stepped away from the house and began walking.

He wasn’t quite sure where he was headed this morning, but he knew he couldn’t stay in the house. Things sure weren’t going to get any better for him in there. He had been cooped up far too long staring at the walls, the bookshelves, the ceiling, or at nothing at all. Nope, the television wasn’t one of his options. He refused to have one. The only shows and movies he watched were on his laptop, and he hadn’t turned that on. He hadn’t brought it out with him this morning either. His shoulder felt light without the weight of the bag with laptop and power supply and notebooks in it.

Hadn’t brought it with him. If asked he would have said that he didn’t bring it because he wanted to enjoy his excursion. To see what was going on in the city right now and not lose himself in the machine and have his world view filtered through news agencies and social media. Social media. Crap. About all he knew of his friends these days is what he would stumble across on Facebook. And if those postings were to be believed they were all drunk, sunburned, and shacking up. Actually, with a lot of the folks he knew that might actually be the case.

Continue reading “Empty Sidewalk In The City”