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text 2018-02-07 03:16
Reading progress update: I've read 202 out of 502 pages.
The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction - Neil Gaiman

He is a SF writer and proud of this.


SF is an interesting, scenario extending novel. What if? What if this go on to the extreme? 


I like his take on SF. And it should be a genre to be celebrated. 


The favorite and worst quote from SF writers is interesting too.


Enjoying this. 

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review 2018-02-06 03:00
It Occurs to Me that I Am America - various authors
It Occurs to Me That I Am America: New Stories - Lee Child,Neil Gaiman,Jonathan Santlofer,Mary Higgins Clark,Richard Russo,Joyce Carol Oates

This book is a direct result of the current President of the United States and the sheer terror that many of us felt/still feel right after the election of 2016. The general idea seems to have been: gather up nearly every writer in the US, ask them to write short fiction, put it all in a big Coffee Table Pretty anthology, add to it with visual art and cartoons from American artists, and do it all for a good cause. In this case the cause is the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU.) 


So, it's a fundraiser for what turns out to be an urgent cause, populated by amazing authors -- all of whom have won prizes, have best-sellers, etc. This should have been great. Everyone seems to have at least been invited. I have no idea if any editing was done, but if pressed to guess, I'd say, "no."


I'm glad I already donate to the ACLU, or I'd have had to buy this. I feel no guilt at all that I grabbed a copy from the library the other day as I walked past it on the "brand new" shelf.


An anthology will never be consistently awesome. It just doesn't work that way. But the overall feeling of "meh" here is a bit worrisome. None of them were horrid or unthinkable. Lots of them felt like they were being phoned in. Some people copped out and didn't write fiction. Some great fiction writers (looking at YOU, Neil Gaiman) wrote very short poems, and the best pieces were not the fiction but the Forward by Viet Thanh Nguyen and a really lovely essay from Louise Erdrich about her bookstore and the love of books (and how books and literature become more important as our freedoms are threatened.)


I think the best piece is another piece of nonfiction. An essay by Ha Jin, who writes "Finally I am an American at Heart" about how, now that he's seen the courts and many others fight back against the Administration, he "gets" the ideal of America – so much so that he's ready to go into combat to defend it if necessary, which is kind of amazing, and once again shows us that the best Americans are always the newest ones.


One thing that may have helped would have been to allow nonfiction writers to write nonfiction rather than asking them all to write fiction, having most – but not all – of them try, and some fail rather miserably. It's just a missed opportunity. Then again, they pulled this together fast, and it's a nice pretty table book, so at least the ACLU will get lots of money. Even the publishers/printers/everyone donated their fees/royalties and time.


I won't pick lowlights, but here are a few highlights:


The Forward by Viet Thanh Nguyen starts the whole thing off with the most patriotic and beautiful achy feelings. He talks about American Identity, the importance of storytelling, taking refuge in the libraries of Harrisburg PA as a child, and the subtext of “Make America Great Again.” He quotes another of my recent favorites – Colson Whitehead's award speech: "Be kind to everybody, Make Art and Fight the Power." He makes lovely sentences with words like "Shared humanity and Inhumanity... We are all storytellers of our own lives." and the best line, "Rather than making America 'great' again, we should make America love again."


Also, forgive me, but I just love this man – he named his son Ellison, who was named after Emerson! And he talks about the American literary family, and how that is connected to liberty.


Things don't get worse in Julia Alvarez's,“Speak, Speak” which is a play on a taunt heard in school by a young, new English speaker, “Spick, Spick." Her story is a lovely reminder that expanding the world of American Literature means young children will not know a time when there were no Latin or Black or Chinese or Native-American voices in their world. If it wasn't for one poem by Langston Hughes ("I Too") in a school book, she never would have imagined that she could be a writer.


That little poem gave her “a lot of gasoline” and we've seen the results.


Bliss Broyard's story is actually quite nice, but I'm not really sure how it fits into the theme. She mentions the Obamas, and she has a great metaphor for the way liberals dropped the ball during the Obama years, so maybe that's enough. I'll come back and add the quote in because it's just perfect.


Mark Dilonno's "Intersections" is probably the very best of the bunch in terms of fiction that meets the challenge of speaking truth to power. He chooses a tough and nuanced topic (undocumented immigrant who has technically committed a crime and will be deported without question.) He does a fabulous job giving all sorts of shades to everyone affected, and manages to make something that seems like "just plain common sense" far from it. I wanted him to have a whole book, but it ended. 


His story is worth the price of admission. And oddly, it was another reminder of how President Obama was pushed into some ugly policies because liberal America just stopped having his back in any meaningful way.



Ha Jin's essay “Finally I am an American at Heart” made me cry real tears – and he's also one of my favorite novelists.


Joyce Carol Oates story “Good News” about a young girl's valedictory speech sometime in the very dystopian American future is freakishly scary and was another one where I just wanted that story to go on and on.


Oates is immediately followed by the one other good dystopian story, this time by Sarah Paretsky ("Safety First") and she manages to give V.I. Warshawski an off-stage role.


Lee Child, Mary Higgins Clark, Angela Turner, Richard Russo, Lilly King and Alice Walker all do a respectable job, but note those names: respectable should be fairly easy for them.


There are many, many more stories by many more writers not mentioned here. Some simply aren't my taste. Some were just boring beyond belief, and some were nearly embarrassing. Others may find that they love other stories, but I really doubt anyone will be pleased cover to cover. Perhaps the best way to enjoy this is one story at a time, slowly, over the entire course of the next three years. Who knows, there may be cause to celebrate even mediocrity by then.


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text 2018-01-31 05:59
Reading progress update: I've read 138 out of 502 pages.
The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction - Neil Gaiman

I switched to this edition. I got this book for over a year and has not complete it yet. 


Stephen King and Neil Gaiman. 


Interesting that he first know Stephen King as a fan, and then get to know him as a man. He also a friend of his son Joe King. 



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review 2018-01-28 07:41
Die Nordische ist einfach die beste Mythologie
Nordische Mythen und Sagen - Lübbe Audio,Neil Gaiman,Stefan Kaminski


Warum bebt die Erde? Wie entstanden Ebbe und Flut? Wie kam die Poesie in unsere Welt? 

Neil Gaiman erzählt die nordischen Sagen und Mythen neu, mit Witz und Sinnlichkeit, voller Zuneigung und Neugierde. Wir machen Bekanntschaft mit dem mächtigen Odin, reisen mit Thor und seinem Hammer durch die neun nordischen Welten, sind bezaubert von den Göttern und entsetzt von mancher Skrupellosigkeit. Machen Sie sich die Sagen zu eigen, erzählen Sie sie weiter, an den langen kalten Winterabenden, in den lauen Sommernächten. 

Nach der Lektüre werden Sie selbst die Wolken mit anderen Augen betrachten. 


Meine Meinung

Bei einem Hörbuch spielt für mich zu Beginn immer der Sprecher eine große Rolle.

Stefan Kaminski macht seinen Job hier sehr gut und passt meiner Meinung nach super zu der Thematik. Er kann in seiner Stimme sowohl harte und schroffe Parts, als auch lustige und weibliche Szenen vereinen.


Der Einstieg ins Hörbuch bestand aus den wohl drei bekanntesten Gottheiten der nordischen Mythologie: der Göttervater Odin, sein Sohn Thor und Loki.

Für viele, die bisher wenig mit dem Thema zu tun hatten, wird im ersten Kapitel ein super, auf den Punkt gebrachter, Überblick geschaffen.


Ich habe schon einiges über diesen Teil des großen Themas Mythologie gelesen, denn ich liebe den alten Götterglauben und war sehr gespannt nun auch endlich dieses Buch von Neil Gaiman kennen zu lernen.


In meiner Rezension möchte ich nun nicht jedes Kapitel im Detail zerpflücken, sondern kurz auf die Dinge eingehen, die für mich neu und interessant waren.


Immer wieder begeistern können mich Geschichten über Yggdrasill, den Weltenbaum. Auch hier findet er und die neun Welten einen Abschnitt.

Weiter unheimlich spannend finde ich den Gott Loki.

Zum ersten Mal habe ich in diesem Hörbuch einen richtigen Überblick über seine familiären Verflechtungen bekommen. Einige Kapitel bieten tiefere Einblicke zu seinen beiden Ehefrauen Angrboda und Sigyn. Vielen Interessierten werden allerdings Loki’s Kinder mit der Riesin Angrboda eher etwas sagen. Diese Kinder sind: die Midgardschlange, die Göttin der Unterwelt Hel und der Fenriswolf.

Auch ihre Geschichten fand ich sehr spannend.


Sehr gefreut habe ich mich über die Geschichte zur Liebesgöttin Freyja.

Ihre Geschichte um eine Hochzeit fand ich sehr amüsant und mit dieser konnte mich der Sprecher wirklich zum Schmunzeln bringen. Ebenfalls belächeln musste ich die Geschichte um den Met der Dichter.


Neu und umso spannender war für mich die Geschichte um die Göttin Idun und ihren Äpfeln der Unsterblichkeit. Nur diese konnten den Göttern ihre Jugend und ihre Stärke zurückgeben. Wirklich interessant dieses Kapitel des Hörbuches.


Nicht neu für mich, aber ebenso interessant ist immer wieder die Geschichte um den hübschen Gott Baldur/Balder, welcher von seiner Mutter Frigg beschützt werden sollte. Nur dass diese einen entscheidenden Feind vergaß.


Kurz vor dem Finale erfährt man noch, wie es mit Loki sein Ende nahm.

Er, seine Frau Sigyn und das Gift der Midgardschlange.

Eine schreckliche, aber bedeutende Geschichte der nordischen Mythologie.


Das Finale. Die Ragnarök.

Die Geschichte zum Untergang der Götterwelt ist zugleich auch mein Lieblingswort der nordischen Mythologie. Kann es sowas geben? Ein Lieblingswort?

Bei mir schon.



Allen kann ich dieses Hörbuch auf jeden Fall empfehlen.

Eher noch denjenigen, die bereits ein wenig Vorkenntnisse haben.

Schwer wird es denen fallen, die mit diesem Hörbuch ihren Einstieg in dieses Thema nehmen möchten. Denn es treten einfach so viele Gottheiten und Namen auf, dass man schnell den Überblick verliert.

All denen rate ich eher zum Buch zu greifen.


Einen weiteren Punkt, den lediglich das Buch mit sich bringt, ist ein tolles Glossar am Ende des Buches. Dieses mag für manche beim Lesen unheimlich hilfreich sein.


Mein Fazit

Die nordische Mythologie kann mich einfach immer packen, egal in welchem Buch.

Allerdings werde ich mir auch noch das Buch kaufen, um es in ein paar Jahren zu lesen. Von der Aufnahmequalität und den Extras wird das Buch hier mehr hergeben.

Ich denke, dass jeder Hörer oder Leser aus diesen Geschichten etwas Neues mitnehmen wird, aber auch auf bereits Bekannte Inhalte trifft.

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text 2018-01-03 21:03
Not sure if I should laugh, cry or throw myself into the river
Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch - Terry Pratchett,Neil Gaiman

Amazon is making a series out of Good Omens by Terry Pratchet and David Tennant is Crowley.



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