I had the great pleasure to meet Neil Gaiman when he came to my school last November. I went to a private Q&A session with him that afternoon, and then went to his talk that night. He was amazing. Funny, charming, and so smart that I felt like a moron sitting in the audience. I had the even greater pleasure of getting a few of my books signed.
One of the books I had signed was Fragile Things. It is Gaiman's latest work -- a collection of short stories and poems ("If you're one of the people who doesn't like poems, you may console yourself with the knowlege that they are, like this introduction, free." Gaiman writes, "The book would cost you the same with or without them, and nobody pays me anything to put them in.")
I enjoyed the book. Ok, that's an understatment. I loved this book. I adored this book. I treasured this book. I forced myself to take my time with each tale, allowing myself to consume each tale and poem and to fully turn it over in my mind before going on to the next.
*sidenote that you need to know to understand the ten-hour thing*
I was recently charged $9.95 for a yearly membership fee from Audible.com. It's a website where I used to download audio books. I had forgotten about it over the summer, and did not remember the site until I was charged. "Fine." I thought. "I'll cancel this now, before I forget and get charged again next year."
I went on the website, and began to cancel my membership. They trapped me, however. They offered me one credit if I would stay on. "Why not?" I thought. "I've already paid for the next year." Plus, one free book is one thing I can never turn down.
But what to buy? I have the hardest time spending free money -- credits, gift cards, etc.. I looked for a while for the biggest book that I could find, something to really get my free-money's worth, when I thought about Neil Gaiman. His voice is so pleasant, and he usually reads his own books. Why not look for something?
I could have bought American Gods. It's an amazing book. Wonderfully (and not surprisingly) written. I could have bought Stardust (soon to be a major motion picture). But Fragile Things seemed to be the best choice. The format allows me to listen and leave whenever I need, with no worries about remembering the story line and where I had left off. And the stories and poems are ideal for being read aloud.
I have now spent 10 hours listening to Neil Gaiman. And now, I'm going to do it all again!