Tuesday, 22 September 2009

in which i finally share my love for the graveyard book

"You’re alive, Bod. That means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything. If you change the world, the world will change. Potential. Once you’re dead, it’s gone. Over. You’ve made what you’ve made, dreamed your dream, written your name. You may be buried here, you may even walk. But that potential is finished.”

I love Neil Gaiman a little bit. Granted, I've only read three of his novels: Coraline, Stardust and The Graveyard Book and some people might feel this isn't evidence enough to be using the 'L' word but I don't care. I don't. I love him. Coraline, a modern day Alice: amazing if slightly (really) creepy. Stardust: so much better than the film, so pretty and magical and incredible. The Graveyard Book: in the running as my book of the year. Ok, so I'm not the Booker Prize, I'm just some girl who likes to read but still, I loved this book. I loved it more than pretty much everything else I've read this year.

Why?

It's pure brilliance, that's why. How many books have you read that manage to be both sinister yet poignant? Think of The Jungle Book, Kipling's version, not the Disney sing-a-long ( although I admit to maybe loving the Disney version more than the Kipling, so sue me!) and make it darker. Turn the jungle into a graveyard, the animals into ghosts and you've got The Graveyard Book. It's witty and it's clever and it's so beautifully written that it's impossible not to fall in love with this dark tale that manages to be full of warmth.
Sentences like "Nothing was said. Just a silence in reply, that echoed of dust and loneliness" just make me happy! In fact I am going to buy the audiobook, I want somebody to read this book aloud to me, and I want that somebody to be Gaiman!

Nobody Owens grows up in a graveyard after his parents, and sister, are killed by 'the man Jack,' a nasty man who is still after our Bod's blood. Adopted by the long-deceased Mr and Mrs. Owens, Bod is given the run of the graveyard, growing up amongst ghosts and ghouls and protected by the intriguingly mysterious Silas: the only one who can leave the graveyard, a man neither living or dead.
The book feels more like a short story collection than a novel, and this makes me love it that little bit more. Each chapter, whilst linking to the one before is 'complete' and Gaiman has a way with words that I've not seen equalled for a long time. I loved the language, the description, the little touches of humour, such as the way he told us what was written on the headstone of each 'person' we met:
"Thomas R. Stout (1817-1851. Deeply regretted by all who knew him.") His character development is a work of art. Oh, see how I gush! Gaiman effortlesstly creates these characters that you are drawn to, that you care about, that you want to explore further but he never gives to much away. Is Silas a vampire? Is Miss Lupescu a werewolf? Dear reader, make up your own mind.

Also, I've not had a new literary crush for a while - unless you count my little Book Thief crush of course. I do have a soft spot for Rudy. And Max. But,
I love The Graveyrd's Silas just a little bit too much.If you don't read it for any other reason, read it for him, because he could be my new Sirius.
"There were people you could hug, and then there was Silas."

Monday, 14 September 2009

in which i get excited about the OU

It seems I have failed lately with the whole blog thing. Real life has gotten in the way and holidays and work have left me with little time to update. However, I am back on it, and have much to talk about such as Margaret Atwood and the Shopaholic books, and my new found love for Neil Gaiman...til then though, the OU.

The stuff for my creative writing course came through at the end of last week, and it looks very exciting! So much so, that I am tempted to start before the 'official' start date of beginning of October. It won't matter will it, and it's not like this blog is widely read enough for me to get caught ;)

All the course material looks great, and there are some fun looking excercises in the big fat workbook, so, with any luck (mine and not yours) I will soon be posting lots of new stuff on here. I've also taken a sneaky peek at the TMA's - the course is assessed on 5 TMA's and one final assignments. They look awesome. I am excited about them all with exception to the poetry one, and really can't wait to get started on the first one - due October 30th. The poetry I am dreading. Really. I don't write poetry, never have and whilst I know that's the point of the course; to learn, I have to admit to being a little dubious. How can I learn enough in a month to be able to write 40lines of poetry to a standard required to get the marks? *panic*
We'll soon see I guess. But yes, all very exciting!!!

In other news we have mice. I am refusing to leave the office and despatched folk to try and find a humane way of removing them. *shudder*