Monday 21 June 2010
Perhaps this is what summer reading can mean to me even now
I've begun with Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book and it turns out that was a damned fine idea. What a delightful book! A lot of story, some nice pictures to accompany courtesy of Dave McKean, and the crackly, taped-on Broadart covering the book (because it's from the library). All these things together provided me with the superexcellent reading experience I needed.
(Who else associates the sound and feel of a hardcover library book wrapped in plastic with the halcyon days of their childhood summer reading? It just makes me feel so...young...in the best possible way.)
In case you don't know or trust Neil Gaiman sufficiently to just read every damned thing he's written, The Graveyard Book is about a young boy who escapes his intended murder at the hands of a bad and mysterious man named Jack; the rest of the boy's family doesn't escape, unfortunately. The boy (later to become known as Nobody Owens; Bod, for short) toddles off, unaware of the danger he's in, to a nearby cemetery where he's protected by the local inhabitants who most people can't see. He's given Freedom of the Graveyard which means that, besides growing up with a family of ghosts, he possesses some of their powers and freedoms. It's grim, spooky, and fun; Gaiman never lets things get too dark for, I think, he can't forget just how good reading a crackly library book should be.
If this summary which doesn't spoil anything doesn't convince you, the first line should: "There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife." Simple. Perfect.
I have several more hardcover, Broadart-bound, crackly, YA novels from the library to choose from next and they all look so good that I don't know where to begin. In any case, I hope I'll manage to do some of this reading in a park somewhere. A crackly library book in the grass with the sun sneaking its way to me through the branches of the trees above? The circle will be complete.