Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Book notes

1. I'm amazed that yesterday I was #30 on the request list for a certain library book, and today I get an email telling me to come pick it up.

2. I'm trying for maybe the fourth time to read Neil Gaiman's "Neverwhere," and I think I've finally figured out what my problem is: Richard is Arthur Dent. This is the second Gaiman book I've read where I felt like the Douglas Adams influence was almost overwhelming. I know there are good reasons for this - one of Gaiman's first books was "Don't Panic: The Official Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Companion" with Douglas Adams - and it's not like the books are in any way identical. But I struggled with "American Gods" because it kept making me think about "The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul," and now this: normal guy who pretty much thinks he's got his life figured out gets pulled into a fantastic world he never suspected was sitting there, just beyond his notice, where he travels with a group of much more experienced natives, some of whom have sympathy for his plight but most of whom ignore him and/or the obviously naive things he has to say. OK, OK - writing that out, I realized I could be describing a dozen stories, but the influence seems really obvious to me in the book. More frustrating for me is that I'm 1/3 of the way through, but Richard is still just the naive, good-hearted fool; even Arthur stumbled onto the right answers more often, and was far more adaptable.

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