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The Graveyard Book, chapter 2

Late this afternoon, I made my way into Philadelphia in order to stand in line in the mizzle outside the Gershman YMCA. Why? Well, to hear Neil Gaiman read Chapter 2 of his latest release, The Graveyard Book, officially released yesterday.

First, you should know that Neil Gaiman reads exceptionally well. Not just because of the British accent or his lovely voice, but also because he reads with voices and bits of attitude as well. The funny bits are funny. The tense bits are tense. I am so going to get some of his audiobooks read by him. But I digress.

Second, you should know that the book is really good. Or at least, chapters one and two are. I haven't heard/read any further. Yet. The book borrows its structure and opening "conceit" from Kipling's The Jungle Book: an orphaned boy raised by a community in the wilds (of the cemetery), told in a sequence of short stories. In the case of The Graveyard Book, the stories are sequenced in order to have a novel's narrative arc, and the last one ties them all in. How do I know all this? Because someone asked a question about the relationship with The Jungle Book, and Gaiman answered it.

Third, Neil Gaiman answered lots of questions (pre-submitted on index cards). And he was totally witty and funny and forthcoming and great. And inspirational. And strangely humble, while being totally confident at all times. And yes, I do have a huge writer-crush. And maybe a little bit of a regular crush, too. (See all of above for the reasons.)

Fourth, we saw the trailer for the Coraline movie, coming out soon. I have no idea who the boy in the trailer (regular and in the "other" world) was, nor do I know why they added him, but hey, whatev.

Fifth, I got me a signed copy of The Graveyard Book. For this event, they were available "pre-signed", a process wherein someone sets up stacks of 8 books, all opened to the correct page, and as Neil signs, someone else whisks them away and restacks them, and puts them into boxes that go onto a trolley and get put out for sales. All Neil Gaiman does is write his name again and again and again. And if he signs one in a particularly crappy way, he makes up for the crap signature with a drawing of a tombstone. How do I know this? Again, it was a question he answered.

Sixth, I really, really want a copy of the children's edition of the UK version of The Graveyard Book, which looks splendid. Don't you agree?

Were I totally ambitious, I could try to get tickets to see him tomorrow night. In Chicago. More on that in the next post. But anyone interested in Neil Gaiman's new book and/or in seeing/hearing him read should check out the schedule for this book tour. To see what I saw (and what you missed, nana nana boo boo), you can watch and listen to the video of him reading each chapter of the book over at MouseCircus. Thus far, chapter one is posted. Chapter two is due to go up overnight (I think).

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( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 2nd, 2008 02:34 am (UTC)
Oh, dude.
I am sooo jealous!!!!
Most excellent!
Can't wait to read this-- we are nowhere near any of the tour spots.
*sigh* I guess I could hear him read it on video-- he does post links.
Glad you got to go!
Oct. 2nd, 2008 03:19 am (UTC)
You can totally hear/see him on video. Although if you were a true fan, you'd have driven the five hours to Philly, only to stand in line in the rain, see/hear Neil read, and then drive the five hours back, plus one more on to Butler. That's what the guy behind me in line did (with his girlfriend).
Oct. 2nd, 2008 12:31 pm (UTC)
Ai, yi yi!
I'll say it again-- I am just not a fangirl.
But I do love his stories...
Oct. 2nd, 2008 02:47 am (UTC)
I am so jealous right now. Please post a pic of the signed copy so that I can finish turning green.

But yay Neil!!! That's so awesome that you got to see him!
Oct. 2nd, 2008 03:20 am (UTC)
I have either misplaced or completely lost my digital camera, so I am unable to comply with your request at this time. I'm pretty stoked to have it.
Oct. 2nd, 2008 03:03 am (UTC)
Apropos of nothing, but since you're the reigning Queen of Poetry, I thought you might enjoy this article:

The Poetry of Sarah Palin
Recent works by the Republican vice presidential candidate.
Oct. 2nd, 2008 03:22 am (UTC)
Oh my. My my.

Oh dear.
Oct. 2nd, 2008 03:11 am (UTC)
I have a writer crush on him, too. But I'm really afraid that if I hear him read, I won't like him anymore. You see, I was traumatized by the British when I worked in the film industry (I'll bet you didn't know that the British actually export all of their criminally insane to Los Angeles, but they do, and now you know) and now I bristle at British accents. Well, "bristle" is an understatement. Writhe is more like it.

Anyhoo, I'm still squee-ing that you got to see him read, and jealous. Thanks for sharing.

My copy of "Graveyard" came in the mail today, and as soon as I get my writing done for today, I'm going to start reading.
Oct. 2nd, 2008 03:17 am (UTC)
I did not know about the importation of insane Brits. But I love me a British accent. Or Scots. Or Irish. Or Welsh. Or French. Or Italian. Or Spanish. Or South African. I guess I could just make that "I love me an accent", usually.
Oct. 2nd, 2008 04:20 am (UTC)
You learn the most useful things from the Internet. Now you know if you are even in Los Angeles and you hear a British accent, you must run. Fast.
Oct. 2nd, 2008 04:21 am (UTC)
I love South African accents, too.

Though where I live, most accents are non-European. Chinese, Indian, and Pakistani, mostly.
Oct. 2nd, 2008 12:20 pm (UTC)
Okay, okay. You have convinced me. I have just put CORALINE on my library list and I will, finally, read some Gaiman. I've been intrigued for a while, since you told me about his bee-ish ways, but, you know, so many books, so little time.

Oct. 3rd, 2008 10:49 pm (UTC)
I'll be waiting to hear if you enjoy it. Graphic novel or regular novel version?

Oh - and at the thing, someone's question was "Why didn't you bring us some of your honey for Rosh Hashanah?" And his answer was that he flew with a carryon, plus we were too many. But his honey won first prize at the county fair.
Oct. 2nd, 2008 01:55 pm (UTC)
Omg I am so envious! I would love to hear NG in person, for all the reasons you mentioned. I did listen to part of the first chapter of The Graveyard Book and now I've got to get a copy soooooon. I love the way he does the accents and the tiny bits of humor here or there (especially for those of us who know some British history/culture).

Ok, putting teenage crush-self away where she belongs.
Oct. 3rd, 2008 10:47 pm (UTC)
My crush-crush isn't really going anyway.
Oct. 2nd, 2008 07:18 pm (UTC)
I get to see him tomorrow, and I just ordered my copies! So excited.

I spent so much time last week looking at the covers, it's crazy. I'm always intrigued when things go differently for kids and adult version of books! And with these two awesome illustrators, they both look SO AWESOME. Yay.
Oct. 3rd, 2008 10:46 pm (UTC)
The McKean is illustrated and is, in fact, the children's edition (and the sole edition) her in the U.S. Weird, but true. The British version will apparently not be available until about Halloween unless you are in Singapore or the Phillippines (per Neil, anyhow).
Oct. 6th, 2008 06:26 pm (UTC)
Yeah, if I have it straight, our McKean is the same as the UK McKean but here it's the only version and there it's the adult version . . . or did they take out the internal illustrations for the UK McKean?

Oct. 6th, 2008 06:27 pm (UTC)
No clue. I rather doubt they removed them, though.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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