Anansi Boys

Thoughts abbynga Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, Harper Audio 2005, 10’8″

Narrated by the FABULOUS Lenny Henry – awesome job.

For RIP X.

Blurb from

Fat Charlie Nancy is not actually fat. He was fat once but he is definitely not fat now. No, right now Fat Charlie Nancy is angry, confused and more than a little scared — right now his life is spinning out of control, and it is all his dad’s fault.

If his rotter of an estranged father hadn’t dropped dead at a karaoke night, Charlie would still be blissfully unaware that his dad was Anansi the Spider God. He would have no idea that he has a brother called Spider, who is also a god. And there would be no chance that said brother would be trying to take over his life, flat and fiancé, or, to make matters worse, be doing a much better job of it than him. Desperate to reclaim his life, Charlie enlists the help of four more-than-slightly eccentric old ladies and their unique brand of voodoo and between them they unleash a bitter and twisted force to get rid of Spider. But as darkness descends and badness begins is Fat Charlie Nancy going to get his life back in one piece or is he about to enter a whole netherworld of pain?

Such fun and thrilling and yes, safe, to be plunged into the joy and humor of a Gaiman story. He is just delightful. I love his perspectives on people and ordinary things and his creativity to go way beyond ordinary. His writing is delightful.

Rating: Four solid slices of pie. (No noted mention of pie within the book.)


Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Neverwhere Audio Experience

Thoughts   Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, Harper Audio Unabridged 2007 (orig pub’d 1996), 12 1/2 hours on 10 CDs

Genre:   Fantasy
Challenge:  RIP v
Setting:   London, above and below

“Gaiman is, simply put, a treasure-house of story, and we are lucky to have him.”    – Stephen King

I’m going to stray from my typical review template and just ramble.

I bought the audio because I had that 33% coupon from Borders AND a 10% off above and beyond coupon and thought an audio would be the best deal since I’m usually a bit hesitant to spend the higher prices for audios even though I understand that the costs to produce might be more (plus supply and demand and other such economic considerations?) and this was the only choice in the store that I wanted to ‘read’.

Neverwhere is well-loved so I had already had it on my to-be-read list.  The fact that the author was the voice AND was highly recommended as a terrific voice, I knew that would not be disappointing.

I was not disappointed.   I loved it.

I do think the time to load all the disks onto my Mac and then transferring all to my iPad was a bit disappointing.    I was also disappointed that when one disk concluded and sometimes within chapters on the same disk, it would jump to who-knows-where.   Yes, I was very disappointed by this and wonder if it is something I do wrong in setting it up but I haven’t figured that out yet.    Seriously?   Often I would be listening and not even aware what chapter I was on when it would jump to disk 10 and then I would have to HUNT which chapter was supposed to be next.

But the experience of listening – when in the correct order – was wonderful!   Gaiman is an excellent reader/voice for audio!   He does accents well.   It was very easy to know which character was talking.

I carried my iPad around everywhere.   Everywhere.   Upstairs, downstairs, out to get the mail…    and when I found earpieces to listen privately so it wouldn’t bug my husband, I was able to listen in the car when hub drove!    Yippee!

However, before earpieces (they have a name but my brain won’t retrieve it;   earBUDS?) I was sad that the volume on the iPad was not sufficiently loud enough to listen while driving.   Big bummer.   I realize I could spend another $50+ to get some kind of device that will plug into my car and allow the car’s stereo system to blast it, but I hate to spend money on such stuff.

The story of Neverwhere is fun and enthralling.    I was rooting for Richard Mayhew from the get-go.    Of course, I realized he was going to be just fine.  I’m pretty sure it was the standard story of ‘regular nice guy gets himself thrust into an adventure of magic and other worlds and REAL DANGER and only wants his boring life back and when he gets it, wishes for the exciting crazy life of adventure again’ etc and then some, but it was still very fun.

Someone somewhere said that a good book is enhanced by a terrific narrator and I agree.    Now that I’m days away from listening, I can’t recall all that much of why I liked it so much – thus the 4 pie slice rating – but I would definitely sign up to listen to Gaiman read me another book any day.

I  just need to get better at the technology of listening to an audio book so the experience wasn’t so disruptive.

MORE AUDIO REVIEWS:   OK, I just typed that and went to Fyrefly’s book blog search, entered ‘Neverwhere Audio’ and didn’t get any specific reviews of this particular book.  I found a lot of Graveyard Book and one for Neverwhere and Beyond – which is news to me that there is a sequel, so I’ll just invite anyone to comment with links if they reviewed it.     For a terrific review of the actual book, click this link to Nymeth’s from 2007 which I’m sure was the catalyst for me to figure out who and what this Neil Gaiman dude was all about…

And then when I found out that this is a mini-series?     AND available on Netflix instant-play!?!   Just might watch it tonight…  🙂


Copyright © 2010. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

American Gods

Thoughts   American Gods by Neil Gaiman, HarperTorch 2002/orig pub’d 2001, 588 pages.

MOTIVATION for READING:    Maree suggested on Twitter that we have a July read-along for this book.   I’ve been meaning to read some of Gaiman’s adult fiction since I discovered that he is one of the true “author-rock-stars” – I had no idea such a concept existed (John Green is another;  perhaps Jane Austen is in that category, too?)    Challenge:  Personal Year of Reading Deliberately.   Disclosure:   I purchased this paperback from the closest big box bookstore, Borders.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:     A man just getting out of prison finds that the world he hopes to return to has been altered by tragedy.   He quickly and unavoidably meets some extremely interesting characters and ends up getting involved with their troubles since he has nothing else to do.

WHAT’s GOOD/NOT so good:    I was reading this during my 4th of July Holiday trip and when my cousin asked if it was good, I answered, “It’s so gripping!”    She took the book to read the blurbs and sure enough – the  USA Today quote on the cover says, “Powerful and gripping.”   I concur.

I found Shadow, the protagonist, charming and rooted for him from the very beginning to the climatic end.    His wife, however, I never trusted, which is OK.  Actually, this only added to my respect for Gaiman and his story-telling character-developing skills.   And yes, I guessed a few plot points and chuckled at a few contrived coincidences;  I thought it all worked beautifully.   VERY entertaining morality tale.


“Fiction allows us to slide into these other heads, these other places, and look out through their eyes.  And then in the tale we stop before we die, or we die vicariously and unharmed, and in the world beyond the tale we turn the page or close the book, and we resume our lives.” p.323

RATING:   Four pie slices and an extra big bite.


Copyright © 2010. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Geek 12 Review: Stardust

Stardust   by Neil Gaiman

How did you like Stardust? How do you think it compares to the movie, if you’ve seen it?

Okay, so I haven’t read or seen the movie Stardust by Neil Gaiman. So, I was wondering if the book sticks to the movie – have you seen it?

I liked Stardust very much.    I didn’t love it, however.   It was nice.   What I am excited to do here is to answer your NEXT question…

I read this book for a number of reasons.   1.  Nymeth recommended as the best book for introduction to Gaiman.  [and I had just received Stardust in the mail via Netflix – quite timely!!]   As a relatively unaware book lover, I really don’t have any concept in my head of the fantasy genre.    I loved LOTR.  (I only read because they were making the movies)  I love The Chronicles of Narnia.  (read 30+ years ago.)   I just don’t seek out books just because of who wrote them and I don’t stick to genres.   Heck, I don’t even KNOW all the genres or pay much attention.   I’m very much a person who reads a book that falls into my lap and I can rarely tell you how or by which channel it fell there.   Sometimes I wonder how I ever decided what to read before…  until…

book blogging.    I’m learning about book classifications, and authors, and genres and words, etc, that totally escaped my notice.    Ya don’t know what you don’t know, right?    [also, keep in mind, I can’t recall taking ANY  English/Lit classes in college which was more years ago than I care to share;  all this academic stuff is FUN to me but I’m extremely rusty on what is what.]

I had never heard of Neil Gaiman until quite recently.   I kept seeing his name bouncing around.    Then I watched Stardust – it featured a few of my favorite actors so I added it to my Netflix queue.   

(I have a feeling this post is going to be long.    Please feel free to search for your name if you only want to read the answer you proposed…   My hub is out of town and I’ve been sitting at my PC all…   day..    long…   My poor dog is giving me that look:  “Come ON mum, let’s DO something.”)

As for Stardust, I’m a Gaiman fan so I hope you had a grand time reading that one and would soon read his other books.

I’m going to address Lightheaded’s comment before jumping headfirst into shallow water with my book vs. movie dissertation.     I did enjoy Stardust and I will probably return to Gaiman someday.    I am curious about those graphic Sandman books.   And am willing to consider any sugs, as well.

OOPS!  As I began to write this, I feel I must acknowledge that I read a paperback print version with only illustrations at the beginning of each chapter.   I was not aware until 3 seconds ago when I did a google search for ‘Claire Danes Stardust’ and these words popped up:   Based on the best-selling graphic novel by Neil Gaiman In a countryside town bordering on a magical land, a young man makes a promise…    I did not read a graphic novel.  

The movie of Stardust intrigued me and I’m interested in seeing it; however, I haven’t read the book yet. Will I still be able to enjoy the novel if I see the movie first? Will I enjoy the movie if I read the novel first? Did the movie stick pretty closely to the novel or are you given two different stories? If there are two different stories, was the movie version well down or a complete hack job?

BOOK Versus MOVIE.   

I enjoyed both the book AND the movie equally!   No, I take that back.  I think I liked the movie better.    As for the question to watch first then read or read then watch; well, I’ve ruined that opportunity to compare the experience.  Anyone else want to provide the read –> watch perspective?  

Jackie – you may not want to read what I have to say next…  However, I don’t think it will diminish the book if you see the movie first, imo.    The movie was NOT a hack job…

Viewing the movie did not ruin the book for me.   But the movie is fuller and richer.   AND, you gain the benefit (or have your own imagination ruined) by having the images of what the Star looks like (Claire Danes) and seeing the village of Wall, etc, ready made in your mind for you.   

It is interesting that Inkdrinker’s question was phrased ‘does the book stick to the movie’?  and not the other way around.   Am I to assume the movie was created first and then the book was published?    That can’t be right.  

No, the movie does not stick to the book.   The book has a nicely wrapped up ending – all sweet and easy.   The movie needed violence and big drama fighting to realize WHO the final ruler of Stormhold would be.    In fact, as I write this, I don’t even remember if the mean witch (Michele Pfeiffer in the movie) character even dies?    I don’t recall what happened to her, now that I think of it…   uh oh.   

And the movie does a very creative fanciful handling of the lightening pirates!   I loved this part!   It’s totally different in the book.    Again, sweet and easy.

Tell me about your favourite minor character from Stardust.

My favorite minor characters were the dead brothers!    In the movie, these guys were terrific comedy.   I was also impressed at how well they came alive (so to speak) in the book, too, but less comedy in written form.

I loved Yvaine as a character, she was so unexpected as a falling star. What did you think of her?

Since I saw the movie first, I feel I can’t address this question of her being unexpected.   She was adorable and feisty and quite true to character as written.    I loved the speech to her beloved when he’s a dormouse in the little cage.  Which is NOT IN THE BOOK, darn it.

So I saw the movie for Stardust and I hated it. Have you seen it yet and if so how does it do as an adaptation?

I am curious as to what exactly you hated about the movie.    Just not your taste and style in sweet fantasy love stories, perhaps?    What were you expecting?   I personally had few expectations.    I knew it was supposed to be a sweet fantasy love story adventure and that’s exactly what I got.  The book was also a sweet fantasy love store adventure.   The movie was more so – it had MORE.    More story, more comedy, more.

Do you think people who don’t normally read fantasy will like Stardust?

Tough, tough question.   I think it depends on why they don’t normally read fantasy.   If they don’t read it because they’ve just never gotten to it (like me) and not out of some preconceived prejudice, then YES; they might like Stardust.    It’s really not that meaty of a story – just an enjoyable read.   Nothing too deep, just sweet and easy.   (if it was supposed to be deep, I missed it.)
Finally, ALL of these next Qs were asked by
Joy Renee
How was Point-of-View handled? Was there a single POV character or did it alternate among two or more. Was it always clear whose eyes and mind were filtering?

Um, help!   I think it was just third person.   I can’t break it down much more than that – too many years away from school.   I think it was just third person….   I don’t remember even thinking about this while I was reading.   So, at least I can say it wasn’t distracting!   No alternating…

How was language used to set tone and mood?   Was the prose dense or spare? Were sentences generally simple or complex?

Language was light and beautifully descriptive – not too much, always enough.   Not too dense, nor too spare.   I would say it was generally simple.  As for tone and mood, it is an adventure and it never got too dark or menacing even though our heroes do face some menacing characters.    Perhaps, since I had seen the movie and knew how it would play out…

How was metaphor used? Were associations fresh or did they tend toward cliche? Did they add to your understanding of the theme?   What was the central or organizing theme?

Ugh.   I’m skipping this.     (sorry!)

How does the title relate to the story? Was it fitting?   YES!   The title refers to our human understanding of a star and how it can be totally different in other worlds; we need only apply a little magic and imagination and suspend some of that annoying disbelief.   Uh oh – does this answer fit the question I just skipped?  

Re Gaiman: I’ve yet to read even one but I keep seeing his name everywhere online and note he uses themes I gravitate to–mythology for one. Can you say anything that might make my desire to try a Gaiman more urgent.   

Nope.   I have a blank to this one, too.    I suggest you seek out one of the many enthusiastic Gaiman fans.   (I’m not quite there.)

Bart’s Bookshelf has a wonderful ‘what-this-book-is-about’ (which I obviously failed to provide…) post which you can get to by clicking here.

♦ ♦