• Ryanne Harper

So Many Social Engagements, So Little Time

Today is going to be a busy day for us. Belle Starr Antiques is turning seven! Jessica is staying behind to work our booth while I'm heading to Dallas to see Neil Gaiman. If you're in the Fort Smith area, you should definitely swing by Belle's party.

I'm taking the Neil trip with three of my friends from way back. This will be the second time we've seen him and, like last time, I'm sure Shannon will bring an amazing gift for him instead of having him autograph a copy of one of his books like a normal person. Anyway, they're all huge Neil Gaiman fans. As am I. We just like completely different books. They all lost their minds over American Gods and I thought it was just okay. So, since I'm the oddball, I thought I'd make a list of my top three.

1. Coraline.

Coraline reminds me a little of myself. Only child, over active imagination, impeccable sense of fashion, and a name people almost always pronounce incorrectly. Also, my mom has buttons for eyes. I'm kidding. She doesn't.

I love the idea of scary books but, when I actually start reading them, they're too scary. Coraline is just right. It's creepy without being too terrifying. I mean, button eyes, ghost children, and severed hands are about all the horror I can handle. Also, a well. I don't know if it's because I grew up in the age of Baby Jessica, but wells scare the crap out of me.

Also, my copy has this cute drawing in it. Thanks, Neil.

2. Stardust.

Unlike Coraline, this one is straight up fantasy. A faerie market, shooting stars that are actually women, witches reading their fortunes in goat intestines, a lion and unicorn battle. Really, all it's missing is a dragon. Originally conceived by Gaiman as a "book with pictures", Stardust is usually published with illustrations by Charles Vess. The story is great, but the illustrations really do it for me.

3. Anansi Boys.

Lastly, my favorite.

I know. Everyone LOVES American Gods. I don't dislike it, I just prefer the spin-off. Mr. Nancy is quit a character. Turns out, he is also the incarnation of an African god called Anansi. He dies while singing karaoke; forcing his son to leave London and come to America for the funeral. An elderly neighbor tells Charlie who his father really was and also tells him he has a brother he never knew. To get in touch with his brother, all he has to do is send an invitation via a spider. Which sounds coo-coo. Because it is.

Back in London, Charlie gives is a shot. The following day, a man named Spider shows up claiming to be his brother. Upon learning of his father's death, Spider simply walks through a picture of their childhood home. Because he has inherited all their father's magic, he can do things like that.

Through their father's death, they learn a lot about one another and their father. All while getting up to shenanigans.

I'm super excited to see Neil Gaiman again. I heard a rumor he may be reading the Cheesecake Factory menu, which would be totally fine with me.

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