Drink the Mead, See the World

The following is being linked to as part of the Cannonball Read, the reading challenge I’m participating in during 2016. My goal is 52 books. By all means, join in, share your thoughts, read with me! There are few things I love so much as talking about books.

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2016 began with a re-read of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. I’m a big proponent of re-reading, and American Gods, in particular, is one book where I can always be certain of discovering something new. Gaiman packs quite a lot into his story; if you’re into road trips, or Americana, or mythology, or murder mysteries, or romance, or ghost stories (and I am into all of those things)…it’s cliché to say that there is something for everyone here, but it’s the truth. Of more interest than that, though, is that every person is likely to find something different. For instance, if I knew anything about chess (I had to ask my husband what a bishop does; “It goes diagonally.” Not as much info as I’d hoped for)  or the Tarot (my college roommate tells me this is significant; I trust her on that), I’m certain that would add another level to my reading.

Throughout this reading, I was struck by how cinematic the book is. American Gods is being adapted by STARZ for television, and this book is a no-brainer for adaptation. The characters are oddball enough that they’ll look fantastic on television, if a bit grim. The visual qualities don’t detract from the sensual; reading the book is a very sensory experience. As you read, you can feel the cold, smell the mold, and if you’re not the type to find music too distracting, by all means press play on this playlist. There are extensive references to different songs and locations in the book, and listening to the songs as they’re mentioned adds to the ambience. Gaiman’s characters also travel quite a bit around the American Midwest, and if you’ve traveled there as well, it is fun to spot the locations (I can imagine how many road trips this book has inspired).  I’ll be re-reading the book again before watching the show in 2017.

I should note that this time around, I read the 10th Anniversary “Author’s Preferred Text” edition. The changes were subtle enough that I didn’t note any difference between this text and the previous versions I’ve read. There is a deleted scene included post-epilogue, but to my mind, it was rightfully cut. I feel, after finishing the book…full. Pleasantly sated, not overly stuffed. Like after a nice glass of Soma. I would absolutely recommend the book to adult readers, fans of anything I’ve listed above, or those who have yet to experience Gaiman’s delightful weirdness.

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