Updates from Nicole Hill Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Nicole Hill 4:00 pm on 2019/04/26 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , love medicine series, , , , thank you mom, , the house of the spirits, , , the rules of magic   

    The 10 Best Moms in Fiction 


    Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 7 in /homepages/23/d339537987/htdocs/do/wp-content/themes/p2/inc/mentions.php on line 77

    There are lots of lists out there about literature’s worst mothers. The Mrs. Bennets of the world seem to suck up all the oxygen. (Something with which Elizabeth Bennet likely would agree.) But what of fiction’s fine motherly figures? What of those who try their best to do right by their children—whether they gave birth to them or not? The following ten characters, while never perfect, prove the virtues of motherhood in all its messy, complicated, astounding glory.

    Molly Weasley
    Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling

    Where else to start but with the harried matriarch of the unruly Weasley brood? A mother of seven and the wife of a moony Muggle enthusiast, Molly keeps her household running and her children awash in fine knitwear—and she still takes time to lavish the same maternal affection (and sometimes consternation) on her children’s wayward friends. She’s the unsung hero of the Order of the Phoenix whose bravery caused me (and all of you) to cheer aloud when she faced off with Bellatrix Lestrange.

    Mrs. Murry
    A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle

    Mr. Murry often gets the credit for being brilliant, but Katherine Murry is an accomplished microbiologist whose professional accomplishments do not get her sucked through the space-time continuum. With her husband gone missing for years, Mrs. Murry keeps her family together, even the strange genius who is her youngest son. Meg leaves her mother behind as she goes on her tesseract adventures, but my secret hope always has been there’s an unwritten epilogue out there where Kate Murry gets to go on a vacation.

    Lulu Nanapush
    Love Medicine series, by Louise Erdrich

    Lulu is not a perfect woman or mother, but life hasn’t exactly treated her, or the Ojibwe reservation she calls home, with the utmost kindness. She encapsulates the challenges of both mother- and womanhood. We’re introduced to her in Love Medicine, in which she’s entangled in a decades-long love triangle with the man she’s always loved and the woman he married. In a story, and series, that spans generations, we see Lulu move on to other relationships and amass a family of nine children in the process. All the while, she’s remarkably unabashed in her strength and independence.

    Lisa Carter
    The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas

    The Carters are a modern fictional family, and Lisa is the glue that holds them together. Lisa got pregnant as a teenager and dealt with her mother’s rejection. A nurse, she raised her children, Starr and Sekani, to be strong and well-aware of the racial injustice of their neighborhood and the world they live in. She’s forged a strong marriage despite her husband’s incarceration and affair, and she treats Seven, the product of that affair, with love. The Hate U Give is a story of strength in the face of adversity, and Lisa is one of the strongest characters in Garden Heights.

    Margaret March
    Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott

    Raising four daughters on your own in the middle of the Civil War and your own dire financial situation would be enough to crumple anybody’s spirits. But Marmee not only carries on, she does so with aplomb. The anti-Mrs. Bennet, Marmee puts her focus on treating her daughters with love and kindness and providing an example of how they should apply those same qualities to their own interactions with others. She’s no shallow perfect character either; her charity and compassion ring true, even 150 years later.

    Miss Honey
    Matilda, by Roald Dahl

    Look, mothers come in all packages, and Jennifer Honey proves to be more of a mom to whiz-kid Matilda than her biological mother ever was. As Matilda’s teacher, she’s the first person truly to recognize the unbelievable talents of a small, neglected girl. Not only does she encourage her, Miss Honey fights for her, too. (And Matilda returns the favor in spades thanks to her telekinesis, the oldest trick in the book.) Their shared happy ending makes them an adoptive family, but Miss Honey was a mother to Matilda way before those final pages.

    Suyuan Woo, An-Mei Hsu, Lindo Jong, and Ying-Ying St. Clair
    The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan

    The relationships between mothers and daughters are never simple and rarely conflict-free. The beauty is in the way those bonds, when strong, are able to mend any tear. The four Chinese immigrants who get together each week to play mahjong in this novel, and the four daughters they raise, are perfect examples of this simultaneous tenderness and turbulence. In a story spanning 40 years, we see it all: the good, the bad, and the ugly. And still there is mahjong, and gossip, and storytelling, and the stitching together of generations.

    Lilith Iyapo
    Dawn, by Octavia Butler

    Lilith did have a biological son before the start of this novel, but her place on this list is because of a slightly different role she’s tasked with playing: mother to a new species. You see, Lilith is one of the few survivors of an Earth apocalypse, one human saved from extinction by an alien species. For centuries, Lilith and the other remaining humans have been asleep and their rescuers have worked to rehab Earth. Now, the Oankali, a, let’s say, tentacle-forward race, are ready to repopulate the planet … together … with humans. (You know.)

    Clara del Valle Trueba
    The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende

    In a sweeping story of family history, Clara is an otherworldly focal point. Her innate clairvoyance blossoms into broader abilities as she matures, abilities intimately tied to the fate of her family through the decades. In a story aswirl with chaos and trauma, Clara is a calming center, protective of her children, particularly when it comes to her volatile husband. Her presence imbues every aspect of the life of the Truebas, even after her death. Sometimes her powers make her dreamy and distanced, but her heart’s in the right place and she grows into her starring role.

    The Aunts
    Practical Magic and The Rules of Magic, by Alice Hoffman

    Again, circumstances beyond biology can forge some of the greatest mothers. The Owens family is decidedly non-traditional: two aunts raising two nieces, all witches. Also, there’s that whole family curse that spells doom for the unfortunate man who might fall in love with any Owens woman. While the hijinks that occur in Practical Magic may make you wonder about supervision Sally and Gillian’s aunts provide, their enduring encouragement to embrace the weird and witchy—and to give zero flips about what anyone else thinks—is an inspiration.

    The post The 10 Best Moms in Fiction appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Nicole Hill 4:00 pm on 2019/02/26 Permalink
    Tags: anuradha bhagwati, , brittney cooper, , eloquent rage: a black feminist discovers her superpower, gloria steinem, good and mad: the revolutionary power of women's anger, mallory farrugia, , outrageous acts and everyday rebellions: third edition, , ruth bader ginsberg, , the future is feminist: radical funny and inspiring writing by women, unbecoming: a memoir of disobedience,   

    Change the World: 11 Must-Reads for International Women’s Day 


    Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 7 in /homepages/23/d339537987/htdocs/do/wp-content/themes/p2/inc/mentions.php on line 77

    March 8 is International Women’s Day, a time to shine a light on the unique (and consistently undervalued) contributions of half of the world’s population. It’s a time to learn—and a time to be loud.

    In honor of the occasion—and to celebrate this Women’s History Month as a whole—we’re highlighting 11 feminist-forward nonfiction reads that elevate forgotten voices of the past or shout modern truths from the rooftops.

    Educated, by Tara Westover
    Shortlisted for the B&N 2018 Discover Awards and an occupant on just about every best-of list last year, Westover’s memoir of resilience details her extreme upbringing in rural Idaho. Raised by survivalist parents, Westover didn’t step foot inside a classroom until she was 17. The story of how she taught herself enough to get into college—and then onto Cambridge—is fascinating, affecting, and relatable to even those without such an unusual childhood.

    My Own Words, by Ruth Bader Ginsburg
    Maybe you’ve read her legendary dissents or seen one of the recent throng of films about her life. Now, take some time to hear from RBG herself on the topics dearest to her legacy. In carefully curated writings, Ginsburg discusses gender equality, life on the Supreme Court, interpreting law, and her own Jewish identity. It’s a must-read from one of America’s most influential women.

    Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger, by Rebecca Traister
    Traister explores the current atmosphere of female rage, putting the #MeToo movement, the Women’s March, and other manifestations of this anger into historical context. Woven in with histories of suffragette, abolitionist, and other women-led rights movements are reflections on the current mood and the nature of emotions long-considered “unfeminine.”

    Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower, by Brittney Cooper
    A bold collection of intersectional essays, Eloquent Rage has been recommended by just about everyone (Roxane Gay! Emma Watson! America Ferrera!). In a wide-ranging look at her own feminist evolution, Cooper critiques the traditional “whiteness” of mainstream women’s rights movements and underscores the remarkable results of channeling black women’s anger.

    Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions: Third Edition, by Gloria Steinem
    Timeless since they were first released in 1983, Steinem’s personal essays start a new chapter with a third edition featuring new writing from the author and a foreword by Emma Watson. Clear, witty, and classic, the works here run the gamut of women’s experiences, including Steinem’s infamous exposé, “I Was a Playboy Bunny.”

    Unbecoming: A Memoir of Disobedience, by Anuradha Bhagwati
    Remarkable and radical in all the best senses, Bhagwati’s life is presented unfiltered. The daughter of Indian immigrants, Bhagwati graduated from Yale and took an unconventional next step: the U.S. Marine Corps. Here, she chronicles the abuses and indignities of a bisexual woman of color in the military, as well as her subsequent equal-rights advocacy and efforts to hold those in power accountable for sexual assault of service members.

    The Future Is Feminist: Radical, Funny, and Inspiring Writing by Women, edited by Mallory Farrugia
    This anthology is stuffed to the gills with leading writers, activists, actors, and thinkers, including Roxane Gay, Salma Hayek, Audre Lorde, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Naomi Alderman, and many more. The previously published works collected here are united in sentiments but take divergent looks at feminism’s past, present, and future.

    Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China, by Jung Chang
    This engrossing bestseller reveals one woman’s role in shaping world history. In 1852, a 16-year-old girl named Cixi became a concubine to China’s Emperor Xianfeng. When he died nine years later, Cixi’s young son took the throne, and she quickly took action to do away with the court officials who would seek to manipulate the child, instead positioning herself as China’s ruler in all but name. Though she has often been vilified by history, Jung Chang draws on new sources to offer a different perspective, arguing that Cixi’s reign—and her embrace of industry, railways, electricity, and a strong military—ushered China into the modern world.

    Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History, by Sam Maggs
    As engaging and informative as it is fun, Maggs’ collection profiles a diverse group of unsung heroines from around the world, from a chemist who developed a treatment for leprosy, to a rocket scientist who helped send the first U.S. satellite into orbit. Readers of all ages will enjoy learning about these barrier-busting women’s contributions to fields ranging from medicine to espionage; young readers in particular may be inspired to pick up the torch and make their own contributions.

    We Should All Be Feminists, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    Based on an essay by the same name, this book tackles the issue of feminism head on. Exploring everything from race and gender to sex and power dynamics, this incredible book is perfect for those just starting to break down the definition of feminism and how it applies to their lives.

    We Are Displaced, by Malala Yousafzai
    The Nobel Peace Prize winner and Pakistani author, herself a displaced person, shares what it felt like to be forced from her home in Swat Valley. Malala also pulls together heart-wrenching yet hopeful oral histories from other young women and girls who’ve been relocated because of regional and global conflicts. Each refugee has an important story to tell, and the distinct viewpoints and brave, personal revelations will move and educate you on a wealth of underrepresented news stories.

    The post Change the World: 11 Must-Reads for International Women’s Day appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Nicole Hill 1:00 pm on 2019/02/26 Permalink
    Tags: , , book haul fall 2019   

    10 Ways to Get the Most Out of the B&N Book Haul 


    Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 7 in /homepages/23/d339537987/htdocs/do/wp-content/themes/p2/inc/mentions.php on line 77

    Grabby hands at the ready, folks: the time has come for another earth-shattering, shelf-quaking #BNBookHaul! Saturday, August 24 through Monday, September 2, select titles—including new releases, bestsellers, paperbacks, kids’ favorites and more—are available for 50 percent off at Barnes & Noble, both in stores and online.

    (Even better: B&N members get the VIP treatment, with exclusive access to this book bonanza beginning tomorrow, August 22.)

    The whole book, half the price. Finally, math works for us all. You can find #bookhaul deals in your local store and online at bn.com/bookhaul.

    Looking for more reasons to embrace the blowout? Are you excited but also the teensiest-bit overwhelmed by the vast bounty of new reads available to you? Here are 10 ways to ensure get the most bang for your Book Haul buck.

    1. Plan Ahead
    The world has a lot of books and, we’re betting, so does your to-read list. Get started on the right foot by poring over the list of titles featured in the sale broken down by genre. There are books here for all types of readers, including fiction across all genres (from mysteries and thrillers, to history and memoirs!), highly bingeable YA novels, and some of our favorite sci-fi and fantasy books of the year so far. Of course, you’ll still undoubtedly be seduced by a beautiful, unexpected book cover or three, but at least this way, you’ll be aiming to pick up a solid list of essentials while you do it.

    2. Stay Hydrated
    Does this need explanation? Heavy books + moving quickly = sweaty recipe for dehydration. You don’t want to pass out in the aisle. It’s poor Book Haul etiquette to make fellow patrons step over you—prone, legs splayed, hands clutching a hefty biography.

    3. Clear Your Shelves
    If you have not already done so, now is the time to KonMari those bookshelves to make room for new books, all of which will most certainly spark joy.

    4. Don’t Skip Arm Day
    If you’re shopping in store, you’re going to need a bigger basket—and all the upper-body strength you can muster. Unless you’re just buying novellas, in which case, carry on.

    5. Also Don’t Skip Leg Day
    When hoisting your finds onto the counter at checkout, you should always lift with your legs.

    6. Use the Buddy System
    Best way to maximize bargain-hunting efficiency? Divide and conquer. Bring your spouse or significant other, your best friend or a parent. Split the list and split up. Tip for those with children, they’re great assets for hitting the low shelves—and also for carrying overflow books. It’s character-building.

    7. Test Your Wi-Fi Strength
    Online shoppers, we have all been there, waiting for the page to load so you might gaze upon your cart and delight in it. This is not the time to waste any precious seconds. Be somewhere with a stable, free-flowing internet connection. Like, the fancy coffee shop down the street. Or your parents’ house.

    8. Explore a New Genre
    Enough with the logistics. These deals offer the perfect opportunity to pick out reads you might be too nervous to buy otherwise. Curious about breaking into romance for the first time? Never really delved into sci-fi? Now’s your chance to bring home some beauties and broaden your reading horizons at half the cost.

    9. Treat Yourself
    For far too many of us, it’s much easier to buy a gift for someone else than for yourself. Throw that thinking out the window during #BNBookHaul and use the huge savings as an excuse to buy yourself that book (or ten) you’ve been meaning to read for far too long. You deserve it.

    10. Buy. All. The. Books! And Tote Them Away
    While supplies last, buy any 3 eligible books and get an exclusive Book Haul tote bag to, er, haul them home in. Consider it a practical, environmentally conscious badge of honor. (The advice is universal, but this one’s an in-store-only deal.)

    Find all the details on Book Haul here.

    The post 10 Ways to Get the Most Out of the B&N Book Haul appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Nicole Hill 4:00 pm on 2019/02/14 Permalink
    Tags: , hidden bodies, , , ,   

    9 Books to Read After Bingeing Netflix’s You 


    Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 7 in /homepages/23/d339537987/htdocs/do/wp-content/themes/p2/inc/mentions.php on line 77

    There’s only one way to describe You, the once-on-a-Lifetime series now streaming on Netflix: it’s a ride. In turns fascinating and deeply disturbing, You’s first season puts the viewer squarely in the mind of Joe Goldberg, a dangerous “nice guy” who wraps his stalker tendencies in justifications of chivalry. (He’s rather perfectly described in the show as “some sociopath on a white horse.”)

    There’s something morbidly intriguing about watching Joe try to force his picture-perfect rom-com desires onto Guinevere Beck, his unfortunate prey. If you’re looking for readalikes, here’s a starter list.

    You, by Caroline Kepnes
    You might as well start with the source material. Part of what makes the show so simultaneously creepy and compelling is the POV from which it’s told: Joe’s. And Joe is also the novel’s unreliable narrator on this journey, which is as much a classic tragedy as it is a cautionary tale about cyberstalking.

    Hidden Bodies, by Caroline Kepnes
    If you already know that You was renewed for a second season, you might have guessed there’s a second novel, too. Joe’s gone to Hollywood, folks. While his life looks normal to outsiders, he can’t quite put those titular hidden East Coast bodies behind him, even as the twisted cycle looks like it’s set to begin again.

    All the Missing Girls, by Megan Miranda
    Need another suspenseful thriller with a real narrative twist? All the Missing Girls is the story of two disappearances, a decade apart—and it’s told in reverse, winding its way backward from two weeks after Annaleise Carter’s disappearance to the first day after. And all the while it unravels a mystery from ten years prior, in the same town, with the same core cast. That’s double the binge-worthy suspense right there.

    My Sister, the Serial Killer, by Oyinkan Braithwaite
    With a similar blend of deadly and deadpan, this debut finds Nigerian sisters Korede and Ayoola in a pickle. Narrator Korede is used to cleaning up crime scenes; her sister, Ayoola, is used to creating them, dispatching boyfriends with a certain kind of finality. But can the sibling bond survive when Ayoola gets her hooks into the handsome doctor Korede cares for?

    Made for Love, by Alissa Nutting
    On the surface, Made for Love is a different kind of story than You, but, they both share a fascination with technology’s perversion of intimacy. Hazel flees her tech mogul husband when he requests she implant a microchip in her brain so that they might “meld.” Plunged into a bizarro world, Hazel starts over even as her husband Byron uses all his resources to find her.

    The Last Mrs. Parrish, by Liv Constantine
    Daphne Parrish has it all, and Amber Patterson wants it. This novel has serious Peach Salinger vibes and delivers on its premise of dark obsession. With a chip on her shoulder, Amber works her way into the life of Daphne, socialite wife to a Connecticut real-estate royalty. She’s a confidante on the hunt for a bigger prize, but you know what happens to the best-laid plans …

    Enduring Love, by Ian McEwan
    Obsession reigns, too, in this novel from the author of Atonement. During a bizarre hot-air balloon accident, Joe Rose comes to the rescue, along with a man named Jed Parry. What might have been adrenaline-fueled camaraderie quickly escalates, as Jed starts stalking Joe, sure that their connection was fated.

    Eileen, by Ottessa Moshfegh
    If your favorite part of You was the unique perspective of being inside Joe’s head, you should take a spin inside the mind of Eileen Dunlop. Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Eileen is a novel that trends toward character study, descending with dark glee into its titular 24-year-old’s dysfunctional, disagreeable life as it spirals out of control with the arrival of a new companion.

    The Grownup, by Gillian Flynn
    Readalikes for a main character who exhibits sociopathic tendencies? We couldn’t very well leave off a title from Gillian Flynn, a master of the psychological stomach punch. It would be easy to recommend Flynn’s novels, but this slim novella is a wonderful case study in deception. Working as a psychic, the unnamed narrator finds herself ensnared in her client’s eerie family dynamics.

    What You readalikes have you been downing while you wait for more You?

    The post 9 Books to Read After Bingeing Netflix’s <i>You</i> appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Nicole Hill 9:00 pm on 2018/03/05 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , pulling rank   

    A Definitive Ranking of the Fiction Books of Neil Gaiman 


    Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 7 in /homepages/23/d339537987/htdocs/do/wp-content/themes/p2/inc/mentions.php on line 77

    There comes a time in every beloved author’s career when a book blogger must attempt to rank that author’s works. Surely, Neil Gaiman will be thrilled to know his day has now arrived. But where do you start with Gaiman, whose works diverge so greatly in style and approach, yet remain so very true to their author’s essence?

    You start by whittling the list down. Below, you’ll find my rankings of Gaiman’s major works of fiction. Missing from this list are his notable cadre of exclusively children’s books (my sincerest regards to Chu!), though I’ve kept books that have more crossover appeal, like Coraline. Similarly, I’ve left out Gaiman’s nonfiction writings, even though you really should take in The View from the Cheap Seats.

    Keep in mind: in my estimation, Gaiman has only ever written good books, which makes ranking his works all the harder. But here we go, nonetheless.

    InterWorld
    This trilogy, a collaboration with Michael Reaves, skews toward the younger end of YA, but it proves entertaining for readers of any age. It’s a portal story that involves more science fiction elements than typically mark a Gaiman story, no doubt thanks to Reaves and, in the second and third novels, his daughter, Mallory Reaves. High-schooler Joey Harker gets lost one day—so lost, in fact, that he winds up in another dimension in which he must work with other versions of himself to save the multiverse. A fun series, but one that doesn’t give you the best sense of Gaiman’s style as an author.

    Smoke and Mirrors
    Oft-overlooked, Gaiman’s short fiction is where his inventiveness truly shines. Smoke and Mirrors was his first mainstream collection, though it cannibalizes several stories from the earlier, small-press Angels and Visitations. There are some standouts among the stories and poems, including “Troll Bridge, an entertaining retelling of “Three Billy Goats Gruff.” (Unusually lighthearted “Chivalry” is one of my underrated favorites.) But Smoke and Mirrors, as a whole, has more ups and downs than later collections.

    Norse Mythology
    Gaiman has engaged with Norse gods on a number of occasions, notably in both the Sandman series and American Gods. In both of those works, however, he’s using these mighty characters for his own purposes, and intermingling them with other elements of fantasy. His most recent book, Norse Mythology, finds him squarely rooted in the Nordic tradition, retelling the myths of Odin, Thor, and Loki in ways that are true to the original stories but also thoroughly modern. The tales are well-crafted and retold with a unique Gaiman spin, but you get to see less of the author’s mind than in his own original works.

    Anansi Boys
    If it were the work of any other author, Anansi Boys would have been a five-star career standout of a novel. The family tale of Fat Charlie Nancy and his trickster god father is hugely entertaining and carries all the hallmarks of a standard Gaiman story. The only way it falls short is in comparison to other Gaiman stories including American Gods, from which its story spun off. Ultimately, a great read, if slightly less memorable than its sibling novels.

    Trigger Warning
    Gaiman’s latest collection of “short fictions and disturbances” is darkly chaotic—and I mean that as a compliment. “The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains” has lived many lives as a story, popping up in several formats, but this disturbing fable about greed and retribution finds a haunting home in Trigger Warning. There is levity in stories like “ORANGE,” which narrates a rogue tanning cream incident through responses to an investigator’s questionnaire. But by and large, the stories are meant to make you uncomfortable, and they typically succeed.

    The Ocean at the End of the Lane
    A sweet-and-sour meditation on the wonders of childhood, this novella draws upon a motif found in much of Gaiman’s shorter fiction: the melancholy and magic of looking back. Maybe it’s because the protagonist is a middle-aged Brit returning to his childhood home, or maybe it’s because Lettie Hempstock is a charismatic, remarkable, magical girl in an oeuvre filled with charismatic, remarkable, magical girls—either way, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a deeply intimate, personal story that sticks with you, despite its diminutive size.

    Stardust
    A true fairy tale from a master of folklore, Stardust is undeniably wonderful, equal parts sweet and swashbuckling. Wall, England, serves as the perfect foil to the Faerie realm, and both make for the perfect setting for a romantic adventure. Young Tristan Thorn’s quest to find a fallen star in Faerie uncovers far more than he bargained for, including an endlessly comedic family squabble over the Stormhold throne. A delight, if more straightforward than some of Gaiman’s other novels.

    Neverwhere
    Oddly, Neverwhere can be a divisive book among Gaiman’s legions of fans. Some find it weaker than similar efforts like American Gods. For me, it’s a personal favorite, mostly because of my intense affection for poor beleaguered Richard Mayhew, cast down into London Below, the magical and murky city within a city he never knew existed. Given the split, it seems fair to stick this novelization of the British TV series in the middle of the pack.

    The Graveyard Book
    The juxtaposition of children in cemeteries is something Gaiman has played with on more than one occasion. Here, it becomes the basis for a worrisome yet warming story of Nobody Owens, a little boy raised by ghosts in a graveyard after the murder of his parents. It doesn’t sound sweet—and to be fair, it has got its fair share of fright—but Bod and his adopted ghoulish family actually do provide plenty of sweet narrative moments—and that line between “awwww” and “AHHHH” is Gaiman’s sweet spot.

    Good Omens
    Reading this collaboration between Gaiman and the late Terry Pratchett feels very much like what it is: watching two masters of their respective crafts at work. Pratchett’s madcap matches Gaiman’s macabre note for note in a novel that kicks off with the birth of the Antichrist and follows the joint efforts of an angel, a demon, and the plucky witch-descendant Anathema Device as they attempt to head off the End Times. It’s a raucous delight that melds the personalities of its creators near perfectly.

    American Gods
    You’re spluttering right now at the thought of Gaiman’s most broadly known work clocking in at a mere number four, I know. But this is the danger in ranking the books of someone who has a habit of writing very good books: they can’t all be number one. American Gods sends stoic former jailbird Shadow on a classic odyssey, and the novel engages with mythology in a fresh, fascinating way that would be entirely unexpected had Gaiman not already proved he’s so darn good at it.

    Fragile Things
    There is much to savor in Smoke and Mirrors and Trigger Warning, but in my estimation, Fragile Things feels the most even and deliberate of Gaiman’s short story collections. “October in the Chair,” in which the months of the year gather to tell stories, captures the spooky essence of a chilly autumn night with precision. “The Facts in the Case of the Departures of Miss Finch” presents a full-bodied and elusive mystery, replete with circus weirdness. There’s really not a dud in the rest of the lot, either.

    Coraline
    In every way, Coraline feels like a classic book for that in-between age of early adolescence, along the same lines as Howl’s Moving Castle or A Wrinkle in Time. The novel has the same theme as other entries in the Gaiman canon—a hidden world within or just on the other side of your own—but puts a unique spin on portal fantasy with its feisty, take-no-lip heroine. Not to mention, the Other Mother is one of the most disturbing villains imaginable, no matter your age.

    Sandman
    Look, Gaiman has written some outstanding novels, and there are any number of arguments you can make for your favorites to be listed as The Best. But if we were to try to pinpoint the one work he’ll be remembered for in future generations, it has to be this sprawling, genre-defying graphic novel series (and its related companion stories). This epic saga of immortals and gods and monsters and legends encapsulates Gaiman’s myth-soaked storytelling like no other work could, and I truly believe there’s a fair number of this planet’s inhabitants for which Morpheus, the King of Dreams, will remain their moody, goth, elusive first love. (Note: I’m raising my hand.)

    The post A Definitive Ranking of the Fiction Books of Neil Gaiman appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
c
compose new post
j
next post/next comment
k
previous post/previous comment
r
reply
e
edit
o
show/hide comments
t
go to top
l
go to login
h
show/hide help
esc
cancel