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Fragile Things

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I happen to own more than one Tori album, but she can get haunting and mournful quite fast, and I'd rather not spend the rest of the day depressed. A boy can walk down the street and see a ghost in the lamplight or another can wake up and find himself in hell. Maybe not, though; I'd already read/heard/seen about half the stories anyhow so I'm not sure that I really need to go through it all again. I don't think of Gaiman as a YA author, but even so, I didn't expect the themes and details of the stories in this collection to be so jaded or brutal. For years I’ve heard the name Neil Gaiman passed about, weighted with heavy praise, and have always promised myself to read him.

I think Neil Gaiman's own personal ideology causes him to spite the religious message in the Narnia books and that it was rather apparent in his (I thought it was vulgar) portrayal of the witch and lion. While many of these stories are first rate, this collection does fall into a few pitfalls that comes with the territory of simply rounding up anthologized stories, as there is a sense of unevenness and a fair share of filler. I have loved everything else that I have read of Neil Gaiman's though I did only find Good Omens to be okay/good and have no intention of re-reading it. They are all so random and based upon chance encounters, and that’s what drives them forward: I just didn’t know what to expect from story to story. A re-read of A Study in Emerald proved highly enlightening as I was able to observe and analyse the technique used by Gaiman in creating the story.October in the Chair" has wonderful characterization and keeps the reader on the edge of his/her chair.

Remember: that giants sleep too soundly; that witches are often betrayed by their appetites; dragons have one soft spot, somewhere, always; hearts can be well-hidden, and you can betray them with your tongue. Other People' is a short-short I'm sure I've read before, perhaps in a mythology book; the idea feels like a chance to explore the concept of pain and hell more than anything else. There are some great stories here, but also some really offbeat and quirky ones, and some that I found totally forgettable, as in, I went back and looked at them after I finished this book, a couple of months after I'd read them, and didn't remember much of the plot at all.This brand new, never read, never opened, leather-bound book is still sealed in the Publisher's shrink-wrap. The contents, with a little green ink to the text block fore-edge from Gaiman's signature, are clean throughout.

As the reader reaches the conclusion they will notice, if they are versed in Holmes lore a bit, an alternate reality that goes beyond the sci-fi elements. Unfortunately, this assortment contained more of the Warthog's Spyhillated Rectum or Seal Poop flavours than the Strawberry Champagne or Saffron and Sabayon Ice Cream types. Some of the stories have been published elsewhere, like Sunbirdand October In The Chair, which were included in his M Is For Magic compilation, and some were published in other authors' works, written specially by Neil Gaiman, upon their request. I made it all the way to the last disc and then kind of fast-forwarded to the end, skipping giant parts, leaving huge swaths of un-listened-to prose behind me. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the fantastical stuff with its focus on the magic of youth and mystery of the unknown.I like his ability to effortlessly maneuver his readers right into the position we need to be in for maximum effect, and when we get there, he flips everything, so we're left wondering just what happened and how we got where we are when obviously we were just on our way to somewhere else. I may not like the whole poem or story, but I take some beautiful lines with me, and that's all I seem to need. And so when I read the stories in this book, they give me a little thrill, because I don't expect the vulgar and the so-very-adult-ness of some of these stories. I had my doubts at first on whether I should read it, considering I have yet to read American Gods and might inadvertently run into spoilers, but threw caution into the wind, anyway.

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