The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfictionby Neil Gaiman
Published on May 31st 2016
An enthralling collection of nonfiction essays on myriad topicsâ€”from art and artists to dreams, myths, and memoriesâ€”observed in Neil Gaimanâ€™s probing, amusing, and distinctive style.
An inquisitive observer, thoughtful commentator, and assiduous craftsman, Neil Gaiman has long been celebrated for the sharp intellect and startling imagination that informs his bestselling fiction. Now, The View from the Cheap Seats brings together for the first time ever more than sixty pieces of his outstanding nonfiction. Analytical yet playful, erudite yet accessible, this cornucopia explores a broad range of interests and topics, including (but not limited to): authors past and present; music; storytelling; comics; bookshops; travel; fairy tales; America; inspiration; libraries; ghosts; and the title piece, at turns touching and self-deprecating, which recounts the authorâ€™s experiences at the 2010 Academy Awards in Hollywood.
Insightful, incisive, witty, and wise, The View from the Cheap Seats explores the issues and subjects that matter most to Neil Gaimanâ€”offering a glimpse into the head and heart of one of the most acclaimed, beloved, and influential artists of our time.
I learned two things from reading this collection of speeches and essays.
- Neil Gaiman knows everyone.Â Seriously, if you can work him into your 6 Degrees of Separation list you can link to anyone.
- He is the speaker that you want giving the keynote address at any event.
I loved this collection of his nonfiction writing from the very first essay.
“I believe that people and books and newspapers are containers for ideas, but that burning the people who hold the ideas will be as unsuccessful as firebombing the newspaper archives.Â It is already too late.Â It is always too late.Â The ideas are already out, hiding behind people’s eyes, waiting in their thoughts.”
He writes about the importance of libraries and about how not censoring what children read leads to children who love to read.Â He talks about how being too enthusiastic about supporting your child’s reading habits can turn her off Stephen King forever.Â (Oops).Â He writes about Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett and the importance of Doctor Who.Â Is it any wonder that I’m a Neil Gaiman fan?
These essays and speeches were written over many years.Â It is fun to read him talking about his next novel that has a working title of American Gods but he doesn’t know what it will be called when it is published at the same time that I’m watching the TV adaptation.Â A few of the authors that he discusses I haven’t read but he makes me want to pick them up.Â
This is a book that isn’t made to be read straight through but instead to be picked up and read a piece at a time in order to savor the words and ideas.Â I’d recommend this for any Neil Gaiman fan but also for people who love discussing literacy and the need for the arts in society.Â