‘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.’
I just completed reading Neil Gaiman’s ‘American Gods’. I took almost two months of intermittent, page turning, to complete this 600-page novel by British cult-author Gaiman. He is best known for the graphic novels of the Sandman series, as well as the film ‘Stardust’.
This version I read was his facsimile of his original submission, complete with spacing errors and favourite type/font. The protagonist, Shadow does coin magic. Interestingly, one of Gaiman’s book consultant for the magic segments was Jamy Ian Swiss, a well-known magician-TV consultant-author. I attended Swiss’s card clinic in 2003 in Las Vegas – all legal moves and skills I assure you. He is also one of the fiercest and foremost critics on magic, and the performance of magic.
As I read the story, I began to develop a curiosity for small towns in America. With each small town lies a small population, and a social order peculiar with the rural folk. Each micro-system (each diorama with its own microcosm) expresses itself in subtle or grandiose ways, like the roadside attractions it purports to have, and promotes with wanton, hand-painted, bold fonts, on signboards. Unusual food offerings, unique features, peculiar characters and social values grace this small community of usually close-knitted kinfolk. Of course, these small towns have also been the backdrops of Hollywood slasher-films – domiciles for serial killers, homicidal maniacs and students film-makers gone missing (however with strangely, easy to locate equipment with huge amount of raw footage and shaky camera-work).
Read novels for pleasure, and biographies for mind, method and madness of celebrities from actors to musicians to authors to entrepreneurs to world leaders. Get the first-person account for more dramatics and depth. Unabridged and unauthorised versions tend to be over-done with research and assumptions that do not seem to connect.
Leadership Lessons: Be discerning in what you read. GIGO. Reflect on your reading. What did you again from each literary adventure? Read for fun and for pleasure. You need not glean them for knowledge. Enjoy the writing and perspectives of the writer.