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Thursday, October 9, 2008

So Last Night When I Got to See Neil Gaiman...

... It was really awesome. During this book signing tour, Neil skipped the usual waiting in line to get an autograph. Instead, we got to watch some clips from the upcoming movie version of Coraline, listen to Neil read a chapter from The Graveyard Book, and listen to some Q & A. Last night was his last stop on the tour, in my hometown of St. Paul, MN.

The new Coraline movie looks absolutely awesome, by the way. It is a stop-motion film, and in one of the clips we watched, they show the literal set and miniature actors. Watching the clips, I quickly came to the conclusion that Coraline is the type of book that might possibly be just as good or even better on screen. While reading the book, you know the whole time about the Other Mother having button eyes, but its so much creepier to see it.

If you have not heard what The Graveyard Book is about, Neil explained last night that when his son was young, the house was too small for his son to ride his tricycle inside, so Neil would take him across the street to a graveyard. The sight of his son peddling among the gravestones mixed in his imagination with the story of The Jungle Book, where an orphaned child is raised by animals. In The Graveyard Book, a young boy is raised by ghosts and named Nobody Owens, or Bod for short. As in The Jungle Book, each chapter is a sort of short story that can stand alone, but still relates to all of the other chapters.

I haven't read the book, as I just got my (autographed!) copy last night, but my husband, whom I graciously allowed to start reading the book, says what he has read so far is really good. Which of course it would be, being Neil Gaiman and all.

You can actually listen to all of the chapters of the book now online, which is also awesome.

For my husband and I, though, the highlight of the evening was the Q & A. Neil is not only a clever writer but a witty speaker. Most of the questions he must have answered time after time after time, but he had the audience cracking up to his answers to such questions as "Which of your characters would you invite to dinner to meet your family?" (His answer: "I would be terrified... they'd come over and we'd be eating and then they'd ask me, 'Hey, what was that broken arm on page 73 all about?' I'd say, 'Well, it made for a good story', and they'd be like, 'Well, it hurt!' ").

One of the audience members wrote on his question card: "Why Minnesota?" As you may or may not know, Neil moved from Great Britain to Minnesota. Neil explained that really there were two different questions based on where you put the emphasis. "If the question is why did I move to Minnesota, the answer is that I had no idea what the cold was going to be like when I got here. But I like the idea that it is actually an existential question... Why Minnesota?"

As a final note, I have to add that the event took place in an old church. At first, we thought it was a bit odd, but the lights were turned off a few times for dramatic effect and the half-light through the stained-glass windows really set the scene for a reading from a book set in a graveyard.

And check this out for Neil's take on the event last night.

14 comments:

mariel said...

Sounds like you had a great time. Nothing beats an author reading an excerpt from their own book, noone is going to know the characters as well as them. Perhaps a trip to London is in order at the end of the month..

Andi said...

That's soo cooool! I desperately want to read The Graveyard Book now, too. Off to the library homepage.

Debi said...

So glad you had such a wonderful time, Kim! Of course, how could you not, huh?!!

Nymeth said...

It does sound like an awesome experience! I'm glad you had such a great time. Enjoy The Graveyard Book!

Bookfool said...

Oh, now I want to read the book! I've been leaning that way, but you and Neil just tossed me over the edge of reasons. Seriously, when is the man going to start aging?

Chris said...

Jealousy! What a great great great experience! So glad that you got to go. One of these days I'll see him. And that's a great pic of you!

Melody said...

Oh my goodness! I'm so envious, Kim! I'm glad you all had a great time! Thanks for sharing with us. :)

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

Am I the only one who has never read a Neil Gaiman book? Will I be shot if I admit that I can't see myself reading him anytime either? I do love seeing authors in person though! It always makes for a great experience.

Alice Teh said...

Wow! Kim, envy, envy... That's a very cool photo of yourself and my, you have an autographed copy of the book! :D

Stephanie said...

How cool is that? I'd love to see Neil Gaiman!! Of course, NOBODY comes to Peoria!! I did get to meet Laurell Hamilton though. Since she's from St. Louis, she had a meet and greet in Springfield, Il. My husband went with me.....you should have seen the look on his face when we got there!! (The freaks were out in droves that night!) Mike was like, "What kind of books did you say these are??"

Dewey said...

I'm so thrilled you experienced this! When I found out he was touring, I looked at the schedule, and the closest he came to us was an 8 hour drive. I might have gone anyway, but it was very next day! Oh well.

Karen Harrington said...

I am so jealous! What a great experience. Thanks for sharing it here.

Trish said...

I think you have officially made a lot of people on the blogosphere incredibly jealous. :) A Friend and I are going to our first real author thingy tonight and it's a little exciting and intimidating!! Can't wait to hear what you think of the book!

Rhinoa said...

That's very cool. I love the pictures and am very jealous (like everyone else). I will get my own back on Holly Black fans soon when I post my New York holiday pics.