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New Leaf May 2019 Discussion • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
#1  issybird 05-01-2019, 06:51 AM
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Gaiman had the idea for the story in 1985, after seeing his then-two-year-old son Mike "pedaling his tricycle around a graveyard" near their home in East Grinstead, West Sussex. Recalling how comfortable his son looked there, Gaiman thought he "could write something a lot like The Jungle Book and set it in a graveyard." When he sat down to write, however, Gaiman decided he was "not yet a good enough writer" and came to the same conclusion as he revisited it every few years. He eventually published it in 2008.
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#2  issybird 05-15-2019, 06:45 AM
It's time to talk about The Graveyard Book. What did we think of it?
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#3  CRussel 05-15-2019, 10:18 AM
OK, I'll start it off. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I found it quite charming and enjoyable. I'll have some more to say later, but first, a quick "Thanks" to Bookworm_Girl for the nomination. Even though SFF is my core genre, I've never been a big fan of Neil Gaiman, and this is the first of his books I've quite enjoyed.
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#4  issybird 05-15-2019, 10:53 AM
I enjoyed this, also. It would have been even more fun if I'd had a middle-schooler to share it with.

I'll start off by saying that if you don't remember or never read Kipling's two Jungle Books, they might be worth a skim, or at least I found it so. I found it enhanced my appreciation of both Gaiman's tale and his ingenuity in adapting it, opening it up. I've never been a fan of stories about anthropomorphized animals and Kipling's got a lot of baggage associated with him, but the appreciation worked both ways and with Gaiman in mind, I was able to appreciate Kipling for both story and language.
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#5  fantasyfan 05-15-2019, 12:27 PM
I also loved the book—though I have always enjoyed Gaiman’s work. But I knew I was in for something special from the sombre opening in which the prowling Man Jack attempts the murder of a family followed by the remarkable rescue of the toddler in the graveyard. From there on the pacing was superb.

I read the Anniversary edition and listened to the reading by Gaiman which was brilliant. There is also a graphic novel version which is pricey but still worth exploration if one enjoys that approach.
BTW Gaiman has said that a sequel is in the works but it might not return to the graveyard.
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#6  Dazrin 05-15-2019, 01:55 PM
I have read this before and enjoyed it just as much this time, maybe a little more even. I wanted to try the audiobook but didn't end up having it in time so I just re-read the ebook.

I am not a huge Gaiman fan although I really enjoyed American Gods and a short story I heard on the Levar Burton Reads podcast (#7, Chivalry). I haven't enjoyed the other books by him that I have read nearly as much though.

I'll come back later with some thoughts.
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#7  Victoria 05-15-2019, 04:28 PM
I enjoyed it as well - it’s a fun book. I thought it would engage the younger readers in my family. Having each event tied up by the end of its chapter makes it a great ‘read aloud together’ book, and I plan to pick one up as a gift.

It was my first book by Gaiman. Just based on descriptions, I haven’t been attracted to his books, though I very much enjoy F& SF, so I was pleasantly surprised.
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#8  Bookpossum 05-15-2019, 06:53 PM
I loved it too. I had read it when it was first published and remembered I had enjoyed it then. Curiously though, I could remember nothing more than the bare bones of the story, so the details obviously did a Fade in my mind!

Like issybird, I went back to Kipling after I finished Gaiman, as I was recognising some of the parts of Mowgli’s story in that of Bod, especially Bod’s abduction by the ghouls, and his rescue. I liked Silas and his links to Bagheera the panther too.

I think Gaiman has pulled off a brilliant double here, with a most enjoyable and original story that is at the same time a loving tribute to a classic in children’s literature.

I should add that I like Gaiman very much. The short story Chivalry which Dazrin mentioned was the first piece of his writing I ever read, and I still love its quirky charm.
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#9  Bookpossum 05-15-2019, 07:16 PM
PS. If anyone wants to check on Chivalry, it is in a collection of Gaiman’s short stories called Smoke and Mirrors. A must read for those interested in a charming take on the Arthurian stories.
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#10  Dazrin 05-15-2019, 07:54 PM
It is also available in audio form from the Levar Burton Reads podcast or there are several other inexpensive audio versions.
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