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The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction

  • Language:English
  • Downloads:7360
  • Type:Epub+TxT+PDF+Mobi
  • Date:2017-01-20
  • Status:finish
  • Author:Neil Gaiman
  • Environment:PC/Android/iPhone/iPad/Kindle

Summary

An enthralling collection of nonfiction essays on a myriad of topics—from art and artists to dreams, myths, and memories—observed in #1 New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman’s probing, amusing, and distinctive style.

An inquisitive observer, thoughtful commentator, and assiduous craftsman, Neil Gaiman has long been celebrated for the sharp intellect and startling imagination that informs his bestselling fiction. Now, The View from the Cheap Seats brings together for the first time ever more than sixty pieces of his outstanding nonfiction. Analytical yet playful, erudite yet accessible, this cornucopia explores a broad range of interests and topics, including (but not limited to): authors past and present; music; storytelling; comics; bookshops; travel; fairy tales; America; inspiration; libraries; ghosts; and the title piece, at turns touching and self-deprecating, which recounts the author’s experiences at the 2010 Academy Awards in Hollywood.

Insightful, incisive, witty, and wise, The View from the Cheap Seats explores the issues and subjects that matter most to Neil Gaiman—offering a glimpse into the head and heart of one of the most acclaimed, beloved, and influential artists of our time.

Recent Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
Not every writer—not even many literary greats—could pull off a book like this. It’s a collection of random speeches, front matter from books (not his own), liner notes, and the occasional eulogy for individuals living and dead. While the book is organized into sections on topics like other authors, comic books, films, and music, it seems that organization derives organically from the topics on which Neil Gaiman is asked to comment--rather than a desire to tighten the book’s theme.

If you’re a Neil Gaiman fanboy/girl, you’ll need no excuse to read anything that he puts out (even though--if that is the case--you’ll probably have read much of this before in separate outings.) So the question is why the rest of us—who may enjoy Gaiman’s writing tremendously but who don’t qualify as fanboys / fangirls—should read this. The reason that it’s worth reading is that Neil Gaiman is funny, has a way of framing ideas that makes them thought-provoking and interesting, and frequently writes quotable bits of text that are essentially brain candy.

The book’s title comes from an essay on Gaiman’s experience attending the Oscars from the upper balcony. As mentioned, the book is divided into thematic sections--ten of them to be precise. The book starts with “Some Things I Believe,” which presents speeches on the virtue of reading, libraries, books, and bookstores. The next section discusses people he has known and worked with—largely writers and graphic artists. Then Gaiman offers thoughts on the nature of science fiction, again mostly through book forwards on seminal works from the genre. There is a section on films and Gaiman’s experience with them—several of his works have been made into films and many others have been considered.
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Format: Hardcover
What God left untold ...

Neil ... I can call you Neil, can't I? You have shared some of my better times as I've read your books. Neil has always entertained me but more made me reflect on what it means to be human in a world that does not treasure humanity.

In this volume of non-fiction that spans dreams, myths, and all matter of things that tugged on his imagination, Neil awakens the sense of wonder that all good books do. Neil entertains and enlarges our view of his thought processes and our own.

Men are creatures who tell stories. This is a gift from the One who spoke our species into being, but left the end of our story untold. Perhaps that is why the Lakota call Him The Great Mystery. And that mystery troubles us. How could it not? Without the final part, how are we supposed to make sense of all that went before: which is to say, our lives?

So we make stories of our own, in stumbling imitation of our Maker, hoping that we'll tell, by chance, what God left untold. In this book, Neil brings us closer to finishing that on-going journey of self-discovery.

Thank you, Neil, for this book which I know I will re-read with pleasure, discovering new things I missed when musing over what you had previously written so well that it captured my thoughts.
Format: Kindle Edition
The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman is a very highly recommended collection of various nonfiction speeches, essays, and introductions.

Gaiman organizes the various sixty nonfiction pieces into ten categories including: Some Things I Believe; Some People I Have Known; Introductions and Musings: Science Fiction; Films and Movies and Me; On Comics and Some of the People Who Make Them; Introductions and Contradictions; Music and the People Who Make It; On Stardust and Fairy Tales: Make Good Art; The View From the Cheap Seats: Real Things.

For anyone who has never read any of Gaiman's nonfiction pieces before this, you are in for a real treat should you pick up The View from the Cheap Seats. Gaiman shines here on many far reaching subjects and the plethora of material in these selected pieces should cover the interests of and appeal to a wide variety of people. There are some recurring themes that will resonate especially with readers, artists of all types, and those interested in literacy and the arts.

Most people already know Gaiman is an incredible writer. This collection expands that well deserved adoration to his nonfiction pieces. I predict readers will find themselves checking back and rereading some of these pieces over the years, which is a recommendation in itself.

I especially love several pieces included in this collection. The 2013 Reading Agency Lecture had several paragraphs I flagged on children, the importance of reading and how well meaning adults can easily destroy a child's love of reading:
"You don't discourage children from reading because you feel they are reading the wrong thing." If you are at all involved with libraries, or education you're going to love the first section on some things Gaiman believes.
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Format: Hardcover
I've been a fan of the written word as long as I can remember - it was a form of escapism, a chance to visit other worlds, when reality didn't afford the opportunity - through those literary forays, I've enjoyed Tolkien, Vonnegut, Brautigan, Lewis, Wilde, and others - through my travels and education, my eclectic tastes expanded and I've included even more traveling companions, old and new, like Hemingway, Adams, Manguel, Eco, Zafon, Kellerman, Irving, Wolfe, Irving, and Asimov - while all have been special, there has been one who has been constant, who's tales have charmed me over the years, where I've pulled passages to fit moments in my life perfectly and that's Neil Gaiman - this book is no different, except as a collection, it's themes are even more accessible to each of the times and situations in my, in our, lives - I had already received the ARC (Advanced Reading Copy), will be purchasing a signed edition when available, and purchased the audible edition because I love to hear him describe his thoughts in that quintessential British accent, imagining we're issues of the day over a pint or two at his favorite pub - I can't recommend this book in any form highly enough, as it has renewed my faith in the written and auditory with all of its pleasures - thank you, Mr. Gaiman!"

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