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American Gods, Neil Gaiman


As a reader, I naturally gravitate towards authors who are similar to those I already like; I get recommendations from people when I ask if they’ve read anything I’ve read. I read book reviews and “best of” lists and pick out the things that sound appealing to me. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. At the same time, I make an effort to try out new authors and genres that I wouldn’t necessarily choose myself; reading through the NPR “Your Picks: Best Science Fiction ad Fantasy” list has been a challenge to move beyond some of the books that are most accessible to me. Still, there will always be some authors that you may like and recommend, that I won’t like, and vice versa. This is not to say that these authors and their books are poorly written, lack character depth, or have unclear plots. They simply may not appeal to you or me.

All that said, I have put off reading anything by Gaiman because I could pretty much tell from what I’ve read and heard about his books that I would not particularly care for them. Recommenders have told me that “Stardust” leans towards fantasy and is rather different in tone that the rest of his books, so I picked that one up first, and mostly liked it. However, “American Gods,” which sits at #10 on the aforementioned list, I avoided for quite a while, picking other books later on the list or ones that came recommended by my coworkers. I finally picked it up over this holiday weekend. I found the book to be very readable, with clear prose and an interesting voice; however, I was not engaged by the plot or the characters.

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