Update: American Gods and Vagrants

It’s been a strange couple of months. First, there was that whole dying of mono thing. That’s over now (thank God). Next, I moved into my new apartment, which was its own kind of ordeal and now things are finally settling into a place where I feel almost relaxed: and hence I am indulging in a lot of content absorption (a la catching up on Downton Abbey and watching Digimon on Netflix) and a lot of reading. I’ve read oodles of books and a fair amount of graphic novels as well.

Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton
Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton

I just finished Kate Beaton’s collection Hark! A Vagrant, which was a fun read. Beaton makes me want to go back to the history books. Every time you read a panel and feel like you’re on the inside of the joke, it feels like an accomplishment. I love history and Beaton makes it even better. She’s quite hilarious whether it’s highbrow or dick jokes (who doesn’t love a good dick joke?).

In other news, I’ve been on something of a Neil Gaiman bender lately. First I read The Ocean at the End of The Lane this summer and I recently finished American Gods. What to say about AG. It’s a masterpiece, to put it simply. All of Gaiman’s work has a certain tone to it. Gaiman builds up a mythology in his stories that is central to how he it’s told, but particularly in AG. The idea of the myth, of what people believe in constructs the world of American Gods. It’s a book you’re either going to love or hate, but very passionately either way.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman
American Gods by Neil Gaiman

The protagonist is a man called Shadow: stoic, loyal, and ever enduring. We meet our hero while he’s still in prison. That should give you a hint that this is a novel of multiple faces. No character is exactly what he seems. Appearance is simply that, looks. The world of AG is a world of illusion and some degree of disguise. Shadow might give the impression of simplicity, but he is also brave (even stupidly so).

Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Wednesday, one of the main characters and the catalyst for the action of the book. I won’t get too much into it because I don’t want to spoil to reveal (half the fun of the book is making the connections), but Wednesday is so utterly fabulous: con man, a liar, and suave as hell. He is so much fun to watch do his thing. It’s also amusing to watch him and Shadow interact. They both rub each other the wrong way occasionally, but there is also something of a begrudging respect.

If I’m going to be perfectly honest, my life is somewhat a constant Gaiman bender as I slowly acquire more and more of his content. I’m thinking of going to The Graveyard Book next.

That’s all for now. Until next time!

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