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Book Review

‘The View from the Cheap Seats’

8/10/2016

Neil Gaiman is a master of many genres. Comic books, juvenile fiction, young adult, short stories, novels, fantasy, sci-fi, TV, video games… there seems to be no genre he can’t conquer with his signature prose and panache. His newest collection, “The View from the Cheap Seats,” collects a gold mine of Gaiman non-fiction, including speeches, forwards to books, blog posts and seemingly random bits from a long life of writing. It is truly a treasure for any established Gaiman fan. More than that, however, it is a brilliant treatise on writing, words and wisdom. Anyone with a penchant for well-written essays will love this book.book 1

To be clear, this book is not an orderly grouping of musings; it’s very much a hodgepodge of silly, insightful and wickedly funny bits from one of the best writers of this generation. There are liner notes, life stories, letters and observations of various media. Creativity, beauty and what it means to be a person in these weird and wonderful times are themes that pervade nearly every piece. The utter joy and delight Gaiman takes in the written word fairly jumps off the page. Bibliophiles take note — this book will speak right to your heart.

This is truly brain candy of the sweetest sort. Quotable and profound at the same time, these works will sink in deep and take root long before the end. This book was made to boost your faith in yourself, in the world, and in life itself. As the saying goes — faith in humanity restored. In fact, that’s the best descriptor I can think of for this marvelous collection — human.

Julie goes down much easier with a little salt and a slice of lime. She knows she isn’t going to catch them all, but futility has never stopped her before.  Go Team Mystic! ■

Reviewed by Julie Goodrich, courtesy of Beaverdale Books.

HIV

 

By Neil Gaiman

544 pp

William Morrow

$26.99

May 31, 2016

 

 

 

 

‘Homegoing’

 

Yaa Gyasi’s debut novel, “Homegoing,” is not to be missed. It follows the lineage of two sisters separated at birth. Effia becomes the second wife of a slave trader, while Esi becomes a slave. The chapters alternate between the lineage of Effia and Esi. Each chapter descends a generation ending with the final two chapters of Marjorie and Marcus taking place in modern times.

The scope of this novel is astonishing. It span hundreds of years, depicts the slave trade from both the American and African sides and shows how the slave trade affects families. Gyasi’s ability seamlessly change points of view, time periods and continents is breathtaking. This is the type of book where you are looking forward to going home and reading it at the end of the day. If you read one book this summer, it should be “Homegoing.”■

-— Reviewed by Hunter Gillum, courtesy of Beaverdale Books.

By Yaa Gyasi

Knopf

320 pp

May 7, 2016

 

 

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