Graveyard Book, The
This unabridged mp3 audiobook was read by Neil Gaiman. The sound quality was excellent at any volume. Gaiman is an experienced reader and because he is the writer, he has the background knowledge necessary to read the book the way it is meant to be heard. Hearing authors read their own material is a gift, especially the way that Gaiman does it. His enunciation is clear that even when sped up the listener is able to understand every word. There was no background noise or static to distract from the reading. A nice touch was the music between each chapter. It provided a nice break, since each chapter is like its own separate story about Bod's life. Gaiman used different voices for all the characters, using different tones, accents, and speed to help the listener differentiate. The recording had no front or back matter, but it was not missed. The listening experience as a whole was perfect. Gaiman kept a good pace and made the listening experience totally engrossing. I wasn't ready for the book to end. Gaiman's characters are made real by his descriptions, and his use of voice adds depth and understanding. Even though this is a fantasy novel, everything that happens feels plausible and the listener's suspension of disbelief remains intact. This is vital to any fiction writing, but is particularly noticeable when mishandled in fantasy and science fiction writings. Gaiman makes a world of ghosts, ghouls and other supernatural creatures seem like an every-day part of life. As suspected in a book titled, The Graveyard Book, setting is important. Somehow Gaiman turns a spooky, ancient graveyard into a warm place. Family, friends and love are found there. These are also themes throughout the story. Though his upbringing is unique, as Bod grows up, he learns lessons that readers of all ages will relate to. He disobeys and gets into trouble, he has problems with school and deals with bullies, he even makes and loses a friend. These common experiences will help to endear readers to the more extraordinary aspects of Bod's life. Gaiman's style is eternally hopeful, this is encapsulated in the last line of the book, "But between now and then, there was Life; and Bod walked into it with his eyes and his heart wide open." I haven't read much of Gaiman's writing, but this book encourages me to look deeper into his repertoire. I can't wait to read more.
I had picked up this book right after reading Anansi Boys, just because I wanted to read more from Neil Gaiman. I hadn't realized at that time that this is a children's book. But after reading the first 2 chapters, I checked the golden seal on the cover and saw that this has won some literature for children award. Not a big issue, I guess I could read a children's book and love the simplicity. And I did. The story moved gracefully from chapter to chapter and I was invested in Bod's growth. And whoever voiced Scarlett's character did so adorably. The ghould chapters got too childish for my taste, but apart from that, I liked all other characters and chapters.