Posts Tagged ‘Neil Gaiman’

 

Gaiman-book signing-oldfirehousebooks

At my favorite local bookstore, Old Fire House Books here in Fort Collins CO, Neil Gaiman (American Gods, The Sandman, Caroline, Stardust, The Ocean at the End of the Lane) paid us a visit. His latest publication of short stories, Trigger Warning, came out just a few days ago and he started a competition – any bookstore that wants to try and sell the most copies of Ocean at the End of the Lane, will win a visit by him to sign whatever books people want him to sign.

Old Firehouse Books won, and he came.

I met him. Got four books signed. Shook his hand. I said thank you, He said “You’re very welcome!” And I walked out with one of the biggest smiles on my face I’ve ever had.

gaiman signed books

 

I’ve always had the highest amount of respect for Mr. Gaiman, but now, getting to meet him, all the feels I had have jumped exponentially! I got to the store at 8:45 am and was lucky enough to be 7th in line. The doors opened at 4:00. It was glorious! Well worth the wait.

That’s really all I wanted to say. Nothing new to report here. I know it’s been a while since my last post. Been real busy. But every should go buy Trigger Warning, or anything else by Neil Gaiman. Everything he writes is perfect!

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JL8 #69

JL8 #69

So I’ve known about JL8 for sometime now, but I never actually read the weekly comic strip. I decided I needed to hop on the bandwagon and see what every other fellow geek is going crazy over. Turns out, Yale Stewart’s weekly comic strip is even BETTER than I anticipated. He takes DC’s top heroes and tells tales of their 8 year old selves – but decked out in the popular costumes we all known and love. He keeps up to date with the latest trends of DC Comics as well as taking the problems of the common kindergartener and merges the two together.

I just finished reading strips #69 – 74, and I had the biggest nerdgasm of my life! It began with an assumption that I was sure was incorrect when I read strip #70. I thought the book store owner looked familiar, but it HAD to be a coincidence…right?

JL8 #70

JL8 #70

But as I got closer to the big reveal by strip #74, I began to wonder if this book store owner truly was who I thought he was – with his talk about the love of stories, how fantastically nice he was and patiently conversational, The revelation of who baby Superman and Batman were speaking to blew my mind. Now I’m, without a doubt, hooked!

By all means, continue reading below. And be sure to stop by the JL8 Tumblr and read more of the joyous FREE comic strip that Yale Stewart updates every week.

JL8 #71

JL8 #71

JL8 #72

JL8 #72

JL8 #73

JL8 #73

JL8 #74

JL8 #74

 

Neil Gaiman’s novels are getting the audio book treatment faster than most! Next week Tuesday The Graveyard Book will be available for all to listen to! Audible has it available for pre-order, and Harper Audio is ready to take those pre-orders as well. If you thought hearing Neil Gaiman read his book himself was fun, take a listen to the talent flooding this NEW fully casted audio book!

I remember starting this book with my 4th graders in our morning reading groups last year. The kids loved it. I mean, who wouldn’t? It’s about a boy who wanders into a graveyard and is raised by ghosts! About a week into the book, however, we had reached Chapter three and I began receiving some angry and concerned emails from parents that this book was too scary for their child, or was too inappropriate for 4th graders to hear. So, at some point in week two I decided to call it quits on The Graveyard Book. My class was upset by this, but they understood.

It’s hard for me to comply with parents who judge stories, not on their content, but on the little snippets of things that, ultimately, aren’t that important in the grand scheme of the lesson’s that the main characters learn before the story’s end. I understand that there ARE kids who do get scared very easily, and books like That Graveyard Book might be too much for them as a 9 or 10 year old. But it’s evidence that I grew up much more differently than the majority of students that attend the school I’m no longer employed at.

What I loved about this book was, amongst all of the hocus pocus, ghosty whosting, and demonic praising, the book is about kids growing up and how difficult it can be. I saw this in my 4th graders early on and decided they needed to hear a story they can relate too – about how tough growing up is. A story that doesn’t present the struggles of life in a simple way, but portrays it as honestly and horrifically as it should be. The Graveyard Book is about a boy who deals with his terrifying struggles on his own and triumphs. It doesn’t matter though, unfortunately. Parents only look for the bad and none of the good. All they could see was, at the book’s beginning, a man, with a knife, who came into a house at night and murdered a boy’s parents. And the little boy would have been a victim too had he not gotten away.

Wait, isn’t there a multi-million dollar selling children’s book that starts out just like this? About a boy who becomes a wizard?

Neil Gaiman-Weird Al-George RR Martin

Next week, on Sunday the 21st, is Banned Books Week! This is a week to celebrate the freedom to read whatever the heck we want and not worry about what the censors say or what schools say is “good” or “bad” literature. Below is an excerpt from the Banned Books Week website explaining how it started and why…

Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982 according to the American Library Association. There were 307 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2013, and many more go unreported. The 10 most challenged titles of 2013 were:

  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey. Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence

  2. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison. Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence

  3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie. Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James. Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group

  6. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone. Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit

  7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green. Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky. Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

  9. Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya. Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit

  10. Bone (series), by Jeff Smith. Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence

So what about you? Will you pick up a banned book and read it? It’s a full week! If you have a chance to, you should! I’m happy Neil Gaiman, Weird Al Yankovic, and George R.R. Martin support the movement. I might give Bone a shot.

Yeah, as I said many years ago and still profess to this day, I’m writing a story! It’s as nerdy as you’d think (knowing me) and I’ve been having a blast at brainstorming. But at some point you have to stop brain storming and actually execute.

And I did! I wrote four chapters (all drafts) and felt “meh” about them. I started over and wrote one chapter over the course of three months. (ugh) After many rewrites, revisions, re-do’s, revamps, and a WHOLE HEEP of “re’s,” I decided to revert (another “re”) back to my original plan of making my story a graphic novel. Which means I’ll be writing a script instead of a book.

I was able to write the draft of the first chapter in a day. A DAY!!! It was fantastic and I felt like I accomplished something. There’s still a lot of work to do, but instead of having to worry about exposition I only have to write dialogue. The heavy work will come when I actually have to draw out the individual panels.

I still plan on finding a co-writer to physically take the script and rework it into something people would want to come back and read more than once, but so far I’m feeling great about everything!

Sorry it’s taken two weeks to post anything. This summer has been filled with a lot of projects and reading and it consumes most of my day. Thank you, faithful readers, for continuing to stick with me during my fickleness.

In other exciting news, I picked up the latest Neil Gaiman masterpiece! To be read after I finish “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.”

reading the truth is a cave in the mountains

More to come as it develops…

Because Neil Gaiman reading Dr. Seuss will always be awesome! Plus he’s simply a fun story teller.

Joss-Whedon-and-Neil-Gaiman

One thing that bombards certain authors and creators that have set benchmarks of the long-winded conversation known as the strong female character is the question of “how?” In a recent interview, author Neil Gaiman was asked how he writes such strong female characters and references Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  His response was great…

Gaiman: I always feel like the wrong person to be asked when I get asked that question because people say, ‘Well how do you write such good female characters?’ And I go, ‘Well I write people.’ Approximately half of the people I know are female and they’re cool, and they’re interesting, and so, why wouldn’t I? In the case of making the TARDIS a person, you make her the kind of person you’d like to meet.”

Alderman: This gives me nothing to help people with who cannot write good female characters, and they do exist.

Gaiman: I think the big thing to point out to people is, you know, possibly they should go and hang around with some women. And also, it’s worth pointing out that people, unfortunately, misunderstand the phrase ‘strong women.’ The glory of Buffy is it was filled with strong women. Only one of those strong women had supernatural strength and an awful lot of sharpened stakes. And people sort of go ‘Well yes, of course Buffy was a strong woman. She could kick her way through a door.’ And you go ‘No, well that’s not actually what makes her a strong woman! You’re missing the point.’”

Whedon is probably even more well known for his strong women leads, being the the man who made Buffy what she is today. When asked the very same question that was posed at Gaiman, his response is a little more agitated…

“I think that the romance, and the supernatural and the lure of the vampire, which is, you know, timeless, that all seemed to go over pretty well. The self-actualized female who was in charge of things didn’t land quite as solidly. I think people are un-used to it. I grew up with it, it just makes sense to me. You know, we write the things we either want to see or always have. Buffy was both, and I, too, have been somewhat disappointed. I mean, there’ve been great shows, great roles, but when you look at the shows somebody would lump in with Buffy the Vampire Slayer they’re, you know, very passive girls choosing between the cute boys. It feels almost like a backlash – we want to inoculate ourselves against this by giving you everything it had without the feminism. And, needless to say, slightly problematic for me.”

The heated discussion about the “strong female character” has been tossed around for a few years now, often being misunderstood as a female with supernatural and kick-ass abilities, or a female pinning over men who aren’t worth the time of day. Putting a woman in a lead role doesn’t automatically make her strong. The question now is, how did everyone misunderstand what Whedon was trying to do with Buffy?

Comics have been getting hit pretty hard recently with the recently coined concept of “Women in Refrigerators,” where women, whether strong or weak, are used as disposable plot devices to further the male’s story – sometimes women are muses, sometimes they are killed, and sometimes they are the reason a man is capable of performing death defying feats. But hardly ever – with exception to the heroines with their own self-named comic book series – is care given to their own personal story. Thus follows the need for the woman’s part in a story to be handled, not delicately, but intelligently.

Thoughts on this issue are welcome.