Sometimes, I imagine I’m on a literature-based Desert Island Disks where I can choose the ten books I’d want with me on a desert island. It’s a tricky choice to make (just try it), but one book that’s guaranteed to be there with me is American Gods by Neil Gaiman.
Let’s get the important stuff out the way first. Neil Gaiman is a fricking genius. Anything written by him is just brilliant, from the Sandman graphic novels to Neverwhere to this, what I rate as his best work of the lot. You just can’t go wrong with Gaiman. He ticks all the genius boxes; fiercely imaginative, superb wordsmith, all round nice guy and champion blogger. Yep, he’s got the lot.
American Gods starts with one simple premise – what if the Old Gods were alive and well and living in America – and runs an entire marathon with it. All of the characters are beautifully created and you’ll be running to the mythology section of the library or the Internet before you’re even a third of the way through. It’s a book that just pulls you into it’s own world and leaves you wanting more. Thankfully, there’s a sequel of sorts too, Anansi Boys, which is every bit as good a read.
In terms of tone, this book is a delicately crafted thing. There’s patches of light and dark throughout, with danger, love, honour and horror all wrapped up in patches of great humour. There’s also a pleasantly low body count too; if you’re not a fan of excessive violence, this is the book for you.
This is one book I’d read, and read again on my own personal Desert Island.
Next Book: The Famous Five series by Enid Blyton. No, really.