Top 5 Reasons to Read Neil Gaiman

5.  He recently got his own 14 Things You Don’t Know About Neil Gaiman article on Buzzfeed.  I’m not saying everybody who has a top number-of-things list devoted to them is awesome, but it doesn’t hurt in this case.  Neil Gaiman’s a fascinating person.

4.  He can sum up his entire graphic novel series, The Sandman, in a single sentence.  Many of us struggle to sum up one short story/novella/novel/trilogy in three paragraphs.  He’s a writer who obviously knows his characters and stories intimately well.

3.  He’s a British transplant to the US, and his imagination is as vast as England’s history is long.  Neil Gaiman brings immense creativity, knowledge, and realism to any subject he touches.  His familiarity with England and the US bring great detail to his books, wherever they’re set.
2.  Neil Gaiman once proclaimed his favorite work of his own was Mr. Punch.  When I read that statement, I went out and bought Mr. Punch.  I’ve read it at least three times, and every time, I discover something new to the story.  It’s touching in that sad but nostalgic way thinking about the past often makes you feel.  So if you’re not sure where to start with Neil Gaiman’s numerous works, you might start with Mr. Punch.  (I started with The Sandman #5, A Game of You, because it was assigned in my graphic novels class.  Then I moved on to the novel American Gods.)

1.  Neil Gaiman is the perfect writer for fans of graphic novels, all-text novels, or both.  With the sheer number of works he’s put out - short, long, for children, for adults, realistic, fantastical - he’s gotta have something for everybody.  And if you're not a reader, several of his works you can enjoy as films.
If you’ve never heard of Neil Gaiman, do you think you’d read his work?  If you’re already a fan, what are your reasons for liking him?


Happy Birthday, Franz Kafka

It's always a good day when you open your Internet browser to the Google search and recognize the picture of the day.

If author Franz Kafka hadn't died in 1924, it would be his 130th birthday.  (Although I'm confident he would've gone at some point along the way.)

The Time online news feed has a great, short article on the meaning of the picture itself, a classic sepia drawing of the man who becomes a cockroach in the widely-known novella The Metamorphosis.  It's at this moment I must confess I've never actually read it despite spending 6 1/2 years in college.  But it's so well known on college campuses, I know most of the story instinctively.  And the Google tribute image only makes me want to read it more.  There's probably a copy of it somewhere around the house.

Amazon's author page for Franz Kafka has even more information about this morose yet fascinating man.  Like most authors who are serious about writing, although he died at 40, he has quite an impressive number of works under his belt.

So whether you're unfamiliar with Franz Kafka or a long-time fan or about to become a fan, take a moment and learn your something new for the day.