Charlotte Reads Classics

Slowly, slowly, she sipped a sentence.

Tag: Neil Gaiman

The Brontë Sisters Shall Save Me from Winter

Thank you, Anna Karenina. If I had not recently discovered the joy of reading my favourite books again instead of endlessly powering through an oppressive To Read list I wouldn’t have known how to combat a melancholy reading slump.

I’ve been reading Martin Chuzzlewit for what feels like forever (although in actuality is maybe two and a half weeks) but I am still only about half way through. Chapter Twenty-Nine of Fifty-Four if you’d like the statistics. I’m not enjoying it. Is it me? Is it the book? Is it the wrong time for me to be reading the book? I’m not sure, but I’m going to have a break from it! Stopping midway through Little Dorrit was what, eventually, made me come to appreciate it rather than hate it, so I’m hoping this will have a similar effect.

And now, the remedy: Firstly I picked up Stardust by Neil Gaiman on Friday evening, reading into the small hours and finishing it this morning. I’ve always loved that story so that worked a treat. Secondly I ordered a copy of Thank You, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse, which I haven’t read before but have listened to the audio book and it had me literally crying with laughter. So I’ll be reading that once it arrives.

My final reading remedy: The Brontës. It’s been ages since I read a Brontë novel – I think the last was Agnes Grey last November. That is far too long a gap! So, next weekend I am going back to Haworth. Hurrah! I love Haworth: visiting the Brontë’s house, all the old bookshops and the moors, of course. In preparation I am going to re-read Wuthering Heights. I have always loved this book but it has been a few years since I last read it. It was the first novel I read by any of the Brontë sisters so it’ll be interesting to read it now I have read books by Charlotte and Anne Brontë too. And after that: Villette or Shirley? Which do you think?

Look out for some Brontë posts next week. There’ll most likely be more than one!


Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman

“Mind the Gap” … Much bleaker than Stardust, this futuristic / apocalyptic / yet still somehow set in the past other world is inhabited by all the lost people who have fallen through gaps and ended up underneath London. Not in the real world, but not dead either, Neverwhere follows a band of misfits on a mission. I’d be just as excited about this book as I was about Stardust if I’d liked any of the characters, but the mythology and various creatures that turned up were just as intriguing.

Neil Gaiman has a very distinctive style which manages to make you feel nostalgic and like an intrepid explorer of the unknown, all at the same time.

Reasons Gaiman is Awesome Volume II

“There was still an hour until dawn, but the sky was beginning to lighten, turning a stark, leaden colour. Strands of mist hung like livid ghosts on the air.”

“And then it erupted over the side of the platform. It was diaphonous, dream-like, a ghost thing, the colour of black smoke, and it welled up like silk under water.”


Stardust, Neil Gaiman

There is nothing I love more than the rare pleasure of finding a new author. Yes, I read a lot of books that I think are brilliant, but collecting authors is much trickier. Neil Gaiman, welcome to my collection! He reminds me of Ray Bradbury in his eloquence and his distant-but-not-so-far-away worlds. Stardust is set shortly before the Victorian era, in a little country town called Wall. But in addition to the ‘real world’ there is another realm of spirits and storms and witches and magic… not the scatterbrained kind, but an earthy, old worldly way: think folklore and mystics rather than fairies. In the town of Wall, Tristran Thorn promises to bring back a fallen star for his true love, and strays into this other world to get it.

I couldn’t read this quick enough, and I can’t stop smiling when I think about it. Immediately after finishing, I bought another of his books- Neverwhere– which, very unusually for me, I started straight away. A total convert!

Reasons Gaiman is Awesome

“There was a moment of hesitation, and then her mouth opened against his, and her tongue slid into his mouth, and he was, under the strange stars, utterly, irrevocably, lost.”

“Few of us have seen the stars as folk saw them then – our cities and towns cast too much light into the night – but from the village of Wall, the stars were laid out like worlds or like ideas, uncountable as the trees in a forest or the leaves on a tree.”

“She says nothing at all, but simply stares upward into the dark sky and watches, with sad eyes, the slow dance of the infinite stars.”

Neil Gaiman, Stardust