As we're both Neil Gaiman fans and his birthday is on November 10th, we decided it was only right to honour him today.
I first came across Neil Gaiman when I was 12. I read Coraline, and it scared the pants off of me (the Other Mother is one of the most haunting villains in children’s literature, and I haven't been able to look at stray buttons without shivering in over twelve years).
Then I mostly forgot about him until a few years ago when I watched (then read) Stardust, and then again last year when I decided I need to read his novels and instantly feel in love (shout out to The Ocean at the End of the Lane for solidifying my decision to look up his backlist). I spend much of last year griping "Why didn't I pick up his books sooner??" and, while I haven't read all of his works yet (though I did read American Gods this summer, and have finished most of his children's books at some point), I've already placed him on my list of Favourite Authors Whose Words Changed Me AKA Inspirations (it's a long title, but it gets my point across).
My sister once described him as the "Tim Burton of books" and, honestly, that helps to explain why I love him the way I do. His words are magical, creating fantastical worlds and exciting characters with beautiful prose. He's the type of author who both inspires you and depresses you because you don't think your works will ever be on the same level as his. And, it seems like people either love him or hate him - there's very little in between (not unlike Tim Burton and his movies!).
The following quotation is one of my very favourites in the world, and I would like it tattooed somewhere on my person, please.
Also, here's my favourite clip of Neil Gaiman because I flippin' love Arthur.
I definitely think I heard about Neil Gaiman a lot later than Sam, my first introduction was probably first year of university when a friend suggested I read American Gods. I picked it up from the library and gave it a whirl and could not for the life of me get into and promptly abandoned it. This was what people thought was good?
What really got me invested in Gaiman's work were his Sandman graphic novels. Inherently detailed and over-the-top brilliant, Sandman is an incredible piece of art and a definite must read for anyone interested in comic books.
After that, I devoured Gaiman's work from Neverwhere (which I listened to as an audiobook, narrated by Gaiman himself), The Ocean at the End of the Lane (another brilliant piece of fiction) and I finally tackled my Waterloo and went back to American Gods. And I loved it. I understood what he was doing with it this time around, my brain had expanded to be able to let his prose in and I finally understood the brilliance.
Neil Gaiman's way with words is a privilege for readers and we can only hope that he keeps giving us his gifts.