American Gods

September 2, 2012

American Gods

When I first picked this book up I noticed that I was reading a different kind of novel. I noticed the male hormones dripping out of it when I read. I noticed that it was 'interesting' and other patronizing adjectives and descriptive phrases that I might have used.

About halfway through the book something inside of the pages reached out of the book, grabbed me by the neck and refused to let go. I couldn't sleep; I just wanted to read. I didn't want to cook or eat or anything. It was difficult week at work. (I think I mentioned that I read slow.)

The book is magic. I would be 50 pages from the end. Then the next time I picked it up I would be 100 pages from the end. Then I'd read and read and read and I'd be 90 pages from the end. It's like I was reading in place. It's a long book!

But, I kept having to go back and reread things that I had read because they come up again. There are so many sublime phrases in there, so many things said. Then, one of them will come back to the protagonist and I'd have to go back and reread. This is when a Nook – and its search feature – come in handy. Don't get me wrong, I love books on display in my home and I love to feel the paper in my fingers, but I also love to click on a word and look it up in the dictionary (though sometimes Nook's dictionary uses the same root word in its definition, which we were taught in school never to do) and I like to be able to search a word and easily go to where it is printed in the book.

But, about the book. It was captivating. I was forced to learn some mythology and vocabulary. Gaiman is inordinately fond of the word 'diorama', which might be one of those things that mean something that I didn't catch. The book is full of things that mean something, but that I didn't catch until later when it was pointed out. Maybe the excessive dioramas are – collectively – something that he left unexplained, something to be appreciated by those who are bright enough to understand.

I mentioned before that it was Gaiman's introduction that actually brought me in. He writes about having written the book, having it go through the editors and as a 10th anniversary thing he was allowed to put back in what seems to be about 12,000 words. He didn't say that the book reverted back to its original form; he seems to have agreed with a lot of the edits. He just feels that the book is better this way than without those particular parts. It is long this way. It has 560 pages. That's a lot of pages for a slow reader. The average Agatha Christie has around 200 or less.

And, much like the movie Memento I feel the need to go back and read it again now.

I very much recommend this book.


American Gods

August 14, 2012

A new kind of book. My Nook recommended a book to me a long time ago and I'm just getting around to reading it. It seemed good, and it still seems like a good book. It's intriguing. However, after I've read for a while I have to get up and wash the testosterone off my hands. The other day at the corporate coffee shop I had to wring it out of my shirt; the book was dripping virile hormone while I read. I guess I've been reading Agatha Christie and chick flick books too long. I'm not used to this. The main character's name is Shadow and the book opens with him getting out of jail. That should give you a good idea.

But, the title of the book indicates something, and the blurbs hint at a supernatural quality. It's interesting in its own way. The version I'm reading is the 10th anniversary edition. Apparently, the author was allowed to put back in some text that had been edited previously. He – Neil Gaiman – wrote an introduction describing the writing of it, and the opportunity to revisit it. That's what caught my attention more than anything.

It's dark; it's brooding. It's humorous in a disturbing and sinister sort of way. So far, it's not an action-packed thriller. That's not what I meant by testosterone. Relevant and prescient, American Gods has been lauded for its brilliant synthesis of “mystery, satire, sex, horror, and poetic prose” (Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World). It's not a light book that I can read on a Saturday afternoon while I neglect laundry. This one engages the mind quite a bit more and holds my attention.

I had to be in the right mood for something like this, but I'm enjoying it. I needed to get away from my rut and experience new literature.

More later,