The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains
by Neil Gaiman
2014 • 80 pages • William Morrow
Somewhere along the way, through no fault of his own, I lost Neil Gaiman.
Good Omens was one of the first non-Harry Potter novel I read under my own steam. (I was not a big reader as a kid; I was a repetitive reader. It was one of my first coping mechanisms for my then unfathomable anxiety.) It was a favorite of webcomic creator Stan Stanley, whose Boy Meets Boy I read religiously—and secretively—as a preteen, and therefore the first recommendation I ever came across from a source I trusted. My faith was rewarded: I devoured Good Omens and moved onto American Gods, Coraline, and Anansi Boys in short order. It was all part of what I think of fondly as my brief kindergoth phase. Despite lacking the resources, chutzpah, or basic understanding of how clothes worked to commit to the baby goth, punk, or emo (kids, ask your parents) looks my childhood friends took to, I happily lingered on the periphery, dreaming dark, Romantic thoughts of dying my hair blue and writing urban fantasy.
Make Good Art by Neil Gaiman and Chip Kidd
Every graduation season, amazing people make amazing commencement speeches. And because we’re lucky enough to live in the digital age, their stories, advice, and inspiration is available to everyone, not just the graduates. In 2012, Neil Gaiman joined in the fun with his “Make Good Art” speech delivered to the graduating class of Philadelphia’s the University of the Arts. I remember it absolutely blowing up around this time last year, as I was facing my own graduation from college.
Out of Oz by Gregory Maguire
I feel there’s some personal history we must go over here. I read Wicked in early high school and I loved it. I went on to read Son of a Witch, which, while not as good, I still enjoyed. If you’ve read it, you know it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. So when A Lion Among Men came out in high school, I traipsed down to Books-a-Million and bought myself a copy. I read it, and was promptly so infuriated by the fact it doesn’t address said cliffhanger that I swapped it for something as soon as I had the chance. Considering my poor track record with Maguire’s other novels, I wasn’t holding out too much up for Out of Oz, but I softened up towards it when I saw Maguire at a reading last November. And so here we are.
Mirror Mirror by Gregory Maguire
I love Gregory Maguire’s Wicked. I think it’s absolutely amazing–the subtle structure is fantastic, and I never get tired of rereading it. Every time I see a new (to me) Gregory Maguire novel, I want to read it, trying to capture the same sort of magic that happens when I read Wicked.
I keep getting disappointed.
The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan
I hate zombies. Mostly because I am irrationally afraid of them. The zombie apocalypse is a common feature in my nightmares- so common, in fact, it barely interrupted my dream grocery shopping last time it turned up. (“There are zombies in the parking lot! There’s not a lot… I could make it to my car. Could I? I totally could…”) I’m slowly getting over it, with the judicious application of Left 4 Dead 2 and logic. The Strain offered a halfway point to help me along my way to zombie acceptance- it’s a vampire apocalypse! Vampires barely phased me even before the invasion of the laughable sparklepires. This, I thought, I could deal with.