The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The book of the day was The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.  My eldest has talked about this book for years, and I finally read it.  I was at the bookstore with my kids the other day (I say kids, but one is an adult and the other is pretty darn close), and I saw the book on the shelf.  This is a book that my eldest has talked about for a long time, and I figured it was time to sort out what the fuss was all about.

I had to read the book before work, during my break, and then finished it after work this evening.  I got very into it during my lunch break and glanced at my watch to discover I had 1 minute to clock back in and my break was scheduled to be over.  I tossed the book in the locker mid-sentence and hurried to clock back in.  I spent the rest of my shift thinking about the book and wondering how it was going to end.  It is that good!

The Graveyard Book traces the life of a young boy named Bod after his family is murdered and he is adopted by the residents of the graveyard.  He has an unusual upbringing, and we get to discover the graveyard and its residents with him.  I was skeptical about the book at first, but I really enjoyed it.

I have not really read or enjoyed a good ghost story (other than Wuthering Heights) in a long time.  I think the most recent one I have read (again, before Wuthering Heights) would have been The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.  I can’t remember when I read that, but I think it has been a few years.

When I was a kid, I loved reading ghost stories.  One of my favorite purchases at the school book fair was Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.  I actually saw a copy of that book the other day and I intend to go back and purchase it – re-reading all of the stories as an adult.  I had several other similar books as a kid, and I always enjoyed them.  Those stories are the reason that I still put my shoes with one facing one way and the other in the opposite direction (or my slippers at night).

As I read the book, I was intrigued by the twists and turns as well as the process of discovery and growth.  I found myself wondering if I could write a ghost story like that.

When I was younger, I participated in a program called Young Authors.  It had to have been first or second grade.  We put together our own books – illustrating them and writing the text on the lines provided.  Our teacher gave us thicker card stock to make the front and back covers and laminated them.  Then she bound the books for us.  They were then submitted for a contest.  I won that contest, and my book was displayed at the local library.  I got to go for a special ceremony with my parents.  I wonder if my parents still have that book.  It was a scary story.  I don’t remember the plot, but I remember that it was something to do with a haunted house or something like that.  I was emulating the scary stories that I enjoyed reading so much.

It is time for me to start committing to writing fiction again.  I often worry that it won’t be good enough.  If I never try, I will never know.  Tomorrow is a day off for me.  Maybe I will try to write again.  Until then, I am going to select my next book and get back to my reading.  Happy Reading!

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