The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

This was pretty excellent. It was also an extremely easy read as I read it hodged-podged in the middle of a busy day but it was still easy to pick up and leave off whenever. Well, good books has vampires. Not lots of good looking ones- to get the appropriate eerie faerie spooky mood you need one. And you must call him Silas. This book does well on that score; it also includes a graveyard of ghosts and a small boy who must be brought up in the graveyard by the spooks.

There’s a quaint closed off feel to Gaiman’s Coraline and this book is the same. It could have happened in nearly any time after the 18th or 19th centuries. It resembles Diana Wynne Jones like that and is totally different from J.K.R’s Harry Potters which live squarely in the 20th-21st centuries. That delicate, cut off quality enhances the creepiness and the ghostliness of the mild horror in Coraline and flavours the fantasy in this book.

Other than this and the main plot line I have to say the book reminded me of the Jungle Books. Bod’s child hood adventures are funnily similar to Mowgli’s. He has to learn all the secret calls and pass words to ask for assistance (just like Mowgli), he meets the ghouls who sound like the bandar log (he runs away because of too many rules and meets the ghouls who keep telling him, “We are so great so clever, there’s nobody as smart as we. Join us and you can do whatever you like.” He finds a great hidden treasure that leads to the death of the first humans who see it because it inflames avarice. Which makes me think that Gaiman didn’t have to look too far for inspiration.

But characters like Silas all in velvety black ,”Silas only consumed one food and it was not bananas.”, Nobody Owens dressed in a winding sheet, the ghosts’ histories from dead Roman rulers to burned witches, and the graveyard’s atmosphere a small, close place covered in a green gloom, not an inch to spare with folk history and tombs thick on the ground make this book a gem of a ghost story.

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Jane Austen-Northanger Abbey Revisited OR The Reader is Prejudiced, don’t Blame the Reader

Jane Austen! *hugs* I hugs you Jane Austen because I love you. Sorry for the mawkishness, but years ago when I read Northanger Abbey I actually didn’t like the book. This was not Pride and Prejudice not Emma not Sense and Sensibility not Persuasion or even Mansfield Park. This was… I know not what but at  twelve or thirteen or whenever- I decided that Northanger Abbey was in fact not nothing. But now! Northanger Abbey is Northanger Abbey! It is a story! It creates a world! It has a voice! It is a standard of comparison!It is filed away into my mental library of Books I Can Read. From now I shall look at other light society comedies and sniff “It’s no Northanger Abbey, let me tell you.”

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