I have more time during the week to read than in past years, but for some reason I still seem to read more on the weekend. I was packing books from my home office bookshelves so that I can do some painting and realized how many unread books are there.

One that I am reading now is Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book.

I have always liked graveyards. Peaceful places. Nicer than hospitals.

Here’s a taste from Chapter 1 “How Nobody Came to the Graveyard

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy.

He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead.

There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy—an ancient Indigo Man beneath the hill, a gateway to a desert leading to an abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer.

But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family…

The story of Nobody is of adventures in the graveyard  and with characters like the ancient Indigo Man, a gateway to the abandoned city of ghouls and the strange and terrible Sleer.

The book is marketed as being for middle school age readers but I question that.  That’s not because the book opens with  a family being stabbed to death by “a man named Jack” because the story gets more kid-friendly. I see it as an allegory of childhood and I think many adults would appreciate the story.

Reminiscent of Harry Potter, Bod, the boy who lives, is an 18-month-old baby who toddles to a nearby graveyard. Quickly recognizing that the baby is orphaned, the graveyard’s ghostly residents adopt him, name him Nobody (“Bod”), and allow him to live in their tomb.

The book has also been compared to Kipling’s The Jungle Book in the ways that Bod questions his new family to learn about life and death.

Neil Gaiman might be best known for creating his long running  The Sandman series. This comic series spanned over 70 issues from 1989 to 1996 and is set in a magical fantasy world called “Endless” and is both horrific and beautiful at the same time.  Initially published as a 32-page monthly comic book, hardcover editions of The Sandman were also printed by DC Comics as its popularity began to rise. The series was later published as a collection in 10 volumes, and is one of the few graphic novels to be featured on the New York Times Best Seller list.

The Graveyard Book is illustrated by Dave McKean.

Neil’s bio note on Amazon says: “I make things up and write them down. Which takes us from comics (like SANDMAN) to novels (like ANANSI BOYS and AMERICAN GODS) to short stories (some are collected in SMOKE AND MIRRORS) and to occasionally movies (like Dave McKean’s MIRRORMASK or the NEVERWHERE TV series, or my own short film A SHORT FILM ABOUT JOHN BOLTON).  In my spare time I read and sleep and eat and try to keep the blog at www.neilgaiman.com more or less up to date.”

His newest book is a novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

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