Please provide an email address. Categories of Interest: Select All. Current Affairs. Historical Fiction. True Crime. There is enough good and very good material in the collection to justify checking it out. Even if you find yourself in a piece that might dull the senses, the next piece is only a couple of pages away and could be quite good.
Neil Gaiman has done pretty well for himself and deservedly so. So one must take with a grain of salt a view from such a successful guy that purports to be from the cheap seats. Gaiman is a top notch author and if he is looking at the world from the cheap seats any place but at the Oscars he is probably slumming. You will definitely enjoy much of what is included in this large collection. But there is enough that seems duplicative, in tone if not always in content, that it keeps the collection from being quite first class.
View all 21 comments. Aug 04, Lee Ann rated it it was amazing. After reading this book, I wonder if I've been missing out all these years because I usually skip introductions. But then again, this is Neil Gaiman we're talking about, and I've never encountered one of his until now. To be fair, Gaiman is one of my favorite authors ever.
THE VIEW FROM THE CHEAP SEATS by Neil Gaiman | Kirkus Reviews
I feel about him the way I did about C. Lewis as a kid. Thanks to his Twitter feed and his blog, I've picked up books based on the authors he's mentioned, so it was cool to recognize some of those people along this particula After reading this book, I wonder if I've been missing out all these years because I usually skip introductions. Thanks to his Twitter feed and his blog, I've picked up books based on the authors he's mentioned, so it was cool to recognize some of those people along this particular journey. His speeches are in here, as well as articles he's written over the years.
I've learned what feels like loads more about him, and my to-read list has grown scary-large. Pick this up if you're a fan of Gaiman's work. Pick this up if you're looking for more books to read. Pick this up if you need some inspiration and art in your life. Just pick it up. View all 8 comments. It can take you somewhere you've never been. Once you've visited other worlds, like those who ate fairy fruit, you can never be entirely content with the world that you grew up in. Discontent is a good thing: discontented people can modify and improve their worlds, leave them better, leave them different.
Gaiman is funny and smart. Gaiman is wise and creative, but most importantly he is multi-talented. He writes fantasy, though I would not call him a fantasy novelist. Gaiman is Gaiman. I think his real success resides in his mastery of tone and his ability to switch between the serious and the silly, sometimes using both at the same time.
For me though, I absolutely love the way his books appeal to young people and have the ability to get people seriously into reading; yet, none of their literary merit is sacrificed in the process. He is undeniably a master of the craft. This book has a huge selection of non-fiction pieces in. One of my favourites was his energetic and highly compelling lecture on libraries and why they are so important for society.
Before Gaiman was a writer, he was a reader. Not just your standard type of reader, those who just read in one genre or a few books a year, but the kind that reads everything and anything. By the sounds of things, he spent most of his childhood reading in his local libraries. Clearly this has given him enough knowledge to tackle huge themes within his writing. Start young folks! Fiction you do not like is the gateway drug to other books you may prefer them to read.
And not everyone has the same taste as you. And this is the only issue I have to raise about this book: nothing is new. Gaiman has brought together essays, introductions written for other books, articles and other previously published pieces all in one collection. Some of it will be familiar for his readers, and some bits they will have missed. The View Behind the Cheap Seats is also very personal; it reveals much about Gaiman as a man and as an artist.
If you read enough of the bits in here, you will see some of his creative process and hear the advice he has to share for other writers. You will also see whom he owes debts to, to which writers inspired him and influenced him artistically. Most touching of all was his comments on his friendship with the late great Sir Terry Pratchett; it was worth reading the book for these bits alone.
I certainly had fun reading it. Jun 17, Lyn rated it really liked it. I was compelled, I must read it. I began and realized what it was, not fiction but non-fiction essays, and saw the thickness of it pages and decided that I would give it a try, but I was more in the mood for a fiction just now and though I like Neil and his opinions, I would likely try this again later.
Then I read about some authors he knows and some books he likes and then some music and musicians, and before I know it, I am breezing through this book of thoughts and musings tied up in the ideas of a speech or book report, or words on a jacket cover, or couched in terms of a tribute to someone and I like this book for the same reason I like my book club and why I like Goodreads: it is a discussion about books, and writing and reading. Readers know that we are an odd lot. There is more than a fair share of introspection, lots of lovers of quiet and more than a sampling of … unusual folks.
But what we all share is a love of all things literary, regardless of genre. Here on GR a fan of westerns can share some thoughts with a SF reader and a great lover of romance can also learn about some heady 60s pulp. And we can all expand our reading lists like trying something new at a buffet. Gaiman demonstrates that he is one of us. In A View From the Cheap Seats, Gaiman reveals what he loves about fantasy writing, what he looks for in books, his passions, his interests and that thread of the written word and the ideas and imaginations that pulls it all together.
We learn of his fascination with Lovecraft and Tolkien. As he was also a journalist before he became a bestselling author, we also read about his interviews with such diverse luminaries as Ray Bradbury and Lou Reed. For those of you who care about ratings I can tell you honestly that this had a three-star rating until the last 10 pages of the book. A 3-star rating for me is a good rating and means I like the book and enjoyed it.
This essay above all others is what I will take with me from this work and that alone earned this book my fourth star. Maybe just for Gaiman fans, but also for READERS of all shapes and sizes — he too is a reader, and belongs to this great population of thinkers, wordsmiths, daydreamers and escape artists. View all 15 comments. Jun 04, Bradley rated it really liked it Shelves: shelf , non-fiction. These are basically a collection of previously published essays and ideas ranging to his love of art, people, and the more basic of life's requirements like books and love, but more than that, it's basically an affirmation and a solid grounding in what should be quite evident from anyone who has read his work: Life is and should be about the joy we take in it.
Oh, and we get a lot of great book reviews from Gaiman, himself, a lot of which I've got skewered on my To-Read list. I mean, who does that These are basically a collection of previously published essays and ideas ranging to his love of art, people, and the more basic of life's requirements like books and love, but more than that, it's basically an affirmation and a solid grounding in what should be quite evident from anyone who has read his work: Life is and should be about the joy we take in it.
I mean, who does that, read reviews about books, anyway? His enthusiasm, above all, is infectious, and that's kinda rather the point. Oh, and he's still, after all these years, a dedicated and thorough blind man to the effect he has on us, which is rather a useful tool since so many of us tend to look up to him.
I'm sure a lot of us might have knocked him down a few rungs, but no, he's modest. Did I mention charming? That too. So lap it up, you dogs. Jan 25, Matthew Quann rated it really liked it Shelves: audiobooks. If you identify as any sort of geek, then you've probably dabbled in some of Neil Gaiman's evocative, fantastical fiction. If you're anything like me, you've found yourself caught in a YouTube vortex of Neil Gaiman interviews, speeches, and discussions.
Gaiman's a fantastic speaker: he's charismatic, he's kind, he's notoriously modest, and he speaks and writes with palpable enthusiasm. Gaiman's voice was a soothing balm on the internet-scorched skin of my mind. Where much of the news is doom, gloom, and humans doing terrible things to one another, Gaiman reminds the reader of wonder, enthusiasm, and the importance of stories.
OUR CRITICS' TAKES ON MORE BESTSELLERS
For the most part, that's what this audiobook is about: why it's important to read and discuss good stories. Why stories are more than diversions from our day-to-day, and how all different genres satisfy those needs in different ways. This is an assortment of essays, speeches, commentaries, reviews, obituaries, and articles for magazines that have few commonalities other than an author and being about stories. Though I can't say I enjoyed everything I don't know if I've heard a Tori Amos song, but I certainly wasn't familiar enough to love that piece , there was nothing that I hated.
If there's a complaint to lodge against the book its that it repeats itself. You'll find Gaiman recycle personal stories between speeches, and this can make for a bit of frustration as you wait out something you've already heard before. It's rather like the experience of listening to a familial story that your uncle just can't seem to give up: you may have heard it before, and it's a bit tedious, but it's a bit comforting too.
An unexpected boon from this book was a slew of new additions to the TBR pile. If you take a look back on the last 10 or 20 books I've added, they were likely recommended in some way by this book. Gaiman discusses novels that have influenced him, important novels of various genres, and obscure texts from which many of our stories are drawn.
As I seem to be on quite the sci-fi kick right now, this was a welcome introduction to many classics of the genre that I would have missed or overlooked otherwise. There are few enough books that beget more books, but this is one of them. I'm not sure that everyone would enjoy this entire audiobook, but I guarantee that there's something for everybody in this collection. Though I listened to the entire thing, you could do a bit of skipping around to the parts you think you'd like. There's bits about the importance of libraries, dead authors, living authors, books Gaiman wrote, TV shows Gaiman liked as a child, a long-form on Stephen King that makes me want to give up whatever sort of pretense was keeping me from reading King , the Syrian refugee crisis, making movies, attending conventions, dreaming, loving, listening, reading, writing, and, of course, some book reviews.
Definitely worth checking out! View 2 comments. Jul 18, Melki rated it liked it Shelves: essays , books-about-books. Literature does not occur in a vacuum. It cannot be a monologue. It has to be a conversation, and new people, new readers, need to be brought into the conversation too. I would highly recommend the first ninety pages of this collection.
Here, Gaiman discusses his love of literature, libraries, and librarians, including some of his childhood favorites and influences. For book lovers, these essays are pure joy. As to the remaining pages, your enjoyment will depend upon your interest in each partic Literature does not occur in a vacuum. As to the remaining pages, your enjoyment will depend upon your interest in each particular author or recording artist being scrutinized. I found reading them to be good way of engendering a much needed afternoon nap.
View all 13 comments. A fragment of volcanic rock. A drop of mercury. A bit dark, very elusive, way too amorphous. Okay, maybe several great loves. The flirt is with life and death and everything in between. Or as Gaiman himself would tell you, the only subjects of art are sex and death. And love Neil Gaiman would willingly give you an ode to oddity to hang it above your bed.
Needless to say, I fell in love with them both and will be true to them unto death. I listened in the dark how he told me about his passion for comics, how he had saved money through a whole term at school to go and spend it all on comics, and how he almost got mugged on his way to the store. I drank in his admiration for other authors, for various eccentric artists with whom he had worked. I even followed Neil to a refugee camp in Syria. Neil Gaiman is one of those humane writers who gently cup your heart and slowly squeeze valuable drops of blood out of it.
He makes you smile or smear the ink on the page with a tear, then blot it quickly and guiltily.
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Sometimes, the view from the cheap seats in life is not so bad. View all 17 comments. In the launching event for this book Neil Gaiman said that there have been many more writings of his that could have been included and that he admires the woman who chose which piece would make it into this book and which should be left out since it was a lot of work , but if this book was any thicker it would have to get registered as a weapon.
I think he was wrong. This IS a weapon. A weapon is something dangerous, something you can kill people with and this book certainly fits that descripti In the launching event for this book Neil Gaiman said that there have been many more writings of his that could have been included and that he admires the woman who chose which piece would make it into this book and which should be left out since it was a lot of work , but if this book was any thicker it would have to get registered as a weapon. A weapon is something dangerous, something you can kill people with and this book certainly fits that description.
It's not so much the size, though, or the number of pages or weight; it's the content. This book collects speeches and musings and tidbits from the famous author about all manner of things. We get some of his introductions to other books, some speeches he gave because of tragic world events such as the Charlie Hebdo massacre, commencement speeches at universities, and much more.
I had no idea Neil Gaiman knew so many famous people who were so important for all areas of art. Equally, I had no idea how many introductions he had written or how many interviews he had conducted. The fact, however, that he had worked with so many different people from so many different areas on art, and the fact that he himself has basically done everything novels, short stories, audiobooks, comics, movies, The book also shows how compassionate and still down-to-earth Neil Gaiman is, how human. He is a hopeless optimist and although I can unfortunately not always relate, it is kind of intoxicating, if only for a little while.
My favourite part here in this book, much to my astonishment, was not about his good friends Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams who mean a lot to this little reader , but about Anthony. Anthony was Amanda Palmer's Neil's wife's best friend and father-figure. I knew of his illness through updates on Twitter and Facebook and although they were very dark, I loved Neil Gaiman's musings on Death. More than once I shed a tear while reading this book.
So here are three of my favourite parts: [ Sometimes fiction is a way of coping with the poison of the world in a way that lets us survive it. That is what makes the gift worth having. For any fan of this author this is un-missable. However, it is also great for anyone who has not read any NG book yet because, in my humble opinion, he is a very nice human being - not without faults, but real and interesting and intelligent.
I would very much love to meet him in person and have a long conversation with him, but since that is probably very unrealistic, this book got me as close to that experience as possible. Sep 06, Spencer Orey rated it it was amazing Shelves: writing-books-and-other-tools. I sat down to read what Neil Gaiman had to say about Diana Wynn Jones and ended up reading everything else! I'm a big fan of Gaiman's fiction, but I didn't realize before that he has such a great nonfiction style too.
This book made me want to read a ton more books! His recommendations are very strong. For me, that's all I could possibly want from a book like this. And he said a lot of nice things about Diana Wynn Jones too. Mar 16, M. Donner marked it as to-read Shelves: reviewed. I will be willing to do anything within legal means to get a ARC of this book.
View all 5 comments. Jun 23, Jewel rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction. It's truly lovely when one of your revered authors is also a wonderful human being. For me, Neil Gaiman's one of those writers. As a fan, I was delighted to see Neil's selected essays, speeches, articles, and introductions for other well-respected writers, artists, and musicians in one book. I found some of the contents familiar because they were all over the net when they were published, but I also missed a fair amount, so this book still had fun and new tidbits for me.
Some of my newly disco It's truly lovely when one of your revered authors is also a wonderful human being. Some of my newly discovered favorites were Neil's thoughts on Tori Amos, his Oscar Awards experience, and his and Amanda Palmer's friendship with Anthony. Of course it was also fun to reread his more famous works, like the ones about making mistakes and making good art that only you can. As expected, the parts involving Terry Pratchett made me laugh and broke my heart all over again. What I really love about Neil's writing - fiction or non-fiction - is that the magic never fades.
Even when it came to the books that I wasn't crazy about the first time, there was always something that compelled me to reread because I felt like I only caught a glimpse of the magic the first time and it's not enough. As for the books that I love, the magic changes shape every time I reread, and that's the kind of magic that inspires me as a reader.
Like a kid who's seen a complex magic trick for the first time, I want to see even more. View all 4 comments. Some of the pieces made me cry. Some made me wonder. Some inspired me. Having them read by Neil Gaiman rocked my world. Mar 30, Kati rated it it was amazing Shelves: short-story-collections , arcs. Neil Gaiman can do no wrong. View 1 comment. Unlike what you're probably supposed to do, I read this selection of Neil Gaiman's non fiction from A to Z over a couple of weeks, mind you.
I didn't skip any texts, and I found that even though some of the chapters dealt with people I didn't know of or had any interest in, I still took something with me after having read them. Having now finished his non fictional collection of speeches, thoughts, introductions and more from one of the most fascinating fantasy writers I know, I don't know if Unlike what you're probably supposed to do, I read this selection of Neil Gaiman's non fiction from A to Z over a couple of weeks, mind you.
Having now finished his non fictional collection of speeches, thoughts, introductions and more from one of the most fascinating fantasy writers I know, I don't know if reading it from beginning to end is the best way to read it. Maybe it would've been better for me to pick and choose, put it back on the shelves and pick it up some time later. However, my stubborness didn't allow for me to do that - once I started it, I wanted to finish it.
The text that moved me the most was actually the title story: "The View from the Cheap Seats" is about Neil Gaiman feeling lonely and melancholy, attending the Oscars on the one-year anniversary of his father's death. However, a lot of the other texts moved me as well, and Gaiman's fascination for science fiction almost convinced me to pick up a bunch of science fiction books and start reading. For all of the above-mentioned reasons, I rate this collection three stars. It is definitely a fascinating read, and while it has its dull and uninteresting moments, it also serves you with a lot of interesting and inspiring thoughts on life, literature and love for stories.
This audio, read by Neil himself, was interesting-depending upon the subject being discussed. For myself, I loved the essays and speeches about Terry Pratchett, that one was my favorite and it even made me tear up , comics, Fritz Leiber, myths and music, especially the Lou Reed piece. This was a very long collection and I did find my mind drifting quite a b This audio, read by Neil himself, was interesting-depending upon the subject being discussed.
This was a very long collection and I did find my mind drifting quite a bit. I love Neil Gaiman, but I think I love him the most when he's telling fictional stories. View all 7 comments. Jul 31, Barbara The Bibliophage rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction , audio , True confession: this is the first Neil Gaiman book I've read. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. And it won't be the last. I enjoy non-fiction, especially memoir and I expected this to be a bang up memoir. I was wrong. Not about it being a bang up book, but about it being a typical memoir.
From what I've learned, nothing Neil Gaiman does is typical. Instead, the book is a compilation of various talks, interviews, and writing that Gaiman has done primarily for the benefit of others. For example, he wr True confession: this is the first Neil Gaiman book I've read. For example, he writes introductions for esteemed colleagues new books or for new anthologies. Or alternately, he tells about talks he gave to various gatherings. Through these, the reader does indeed get to know quite a lot about Gaiman from his childhood to the present day.
He is a masterful storyteller and will make you chuckle at muggings and bookshop visits. You may even tear up as he shares private moments with treasured friends. Gaiman offers thoughts for readers to ponder: "I believe we have an obligation to read for pleasure, in private and in public places.
If we read for pleasure, if others see us reading, then we learn, we exercise our imaginations. We show others that reading is a good thing. So you may as well set your sights high and try and do something really cool. There are other people around who can do the mediocre meat and potatoes work that anybody can do.
So let them do that.
The View from the Cheap Seats
You make the art that only you can make. You tell the stories only you can tell. Or perhaps it's because, as humans, we are already an assemblage of stories and the gulf that exists between us as people is that when we look at each other we might see faces, skin color, gender, race, or attitudes.
But we don't see - we can't see the stories. And once we hear each other's stories, we realize the things we see as dividing us are all too often illusions; falsehoods. That the walls between us are, in truth, no thicker than scenery. Vulnerability matters. Being open about who you were at a moment in time when you were in a difficult or an impossible place matters more than anything. Having a place the story starts and a place it's going, that's important. Telling your story as honestly as you can and leaving out the things you don't need, that's vital. I learned about about fantasy and speculative fiction.
I amassed a large list of books for my TBR list. I learned about Neil, and most especially about the people who influenced him. View all 12 comments.
The view from the cheap seats : selected nonfiction
Oct 16, Jay Green rated it liked it. Rather disappointed with this, tbh.
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I was hoping for something insightful, for some personality, for some originality. There's the odd flicker, and some interesting observations on the process of writing, here and there, but sadly this amounts to little more than a collection of forewords, prefaces, and commencement speeches, each of which covers more or less the same ground or offers overviews of writers and their works without saying anything startling, specific, or original.
There are plenty Rather disappointed with this, tbh. There are plenty of anecdotes about occasions when he met the authors in question - the go-to Gaiman approach, it would appear, when writing a profile - only one of which was particularly powerful - his encounter with Terry Pratchett - and it happened to be the one I'd read before, since it opens Pratchett's nonfiction collection. The title essay is worth a read, though, for Gaiman's account of the Oscars ceremony. My nephew worked on the movie Coraline and didn't even get within a hundred miles, so I can understand Gaiman's frustration!
May 02, Rose rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites , non-fiction , reference , humor , writing , all-time-favorites , film. Initial reaction: I don't think I could give this less than five stars. It's such a great collection of speeches and essays from Gaiman, and I admire his honesty, knowledge and distinct voice not to mention his spot on humor in places. I don't think I could write a long enough review to express how much takeaway I had from this book. Well, I suppose this is Initial reaction: I don't think I could give this less than five stars. Well, I suppose this is one opportunity I can expound, and this book provides a plethora of reasons behind that appreciation.
He discusses everything from his writings to films he's created to the significance of libraries, creating fiction for children, to his favorite authors and meetings with them and then some. It's both a personal and professional journey that while not a comprehensive selection of all the work he's done and he says this in his introduction , it provides a look at many pieces that are important to him. I feel like I just got thrown headfirst into many different aspects of his career and persona just from this compilation alone, and it's well organized by titular headings that group his essays, speeches and introductions.
He has a very distinct and very identifiable voice in all of his narratives - fiction and not - and I'll admit his humor never fails to make me chuckle or that he gets me to think on another level with certain things he speaks upon. His dedication to many different authors in this compilation Terry Prachett, Douglas Adams, Ray Bradbury, to name a few really struck home with me. I'll admit there were also authors in here that he's made mention of that are new to me, and I'm glad to be able to have more works to pick up in curiosity for that.
About literacy, about reading to children, about the value of fiction. In general, this compilation has so many points where I could highlight phrases and post quotations on walls to reflect how much meaning they had for me and my own experiences as a reader, writer, and lover of media. I read the book as a source for inspiration for Camp NaNo in July and it ended up being the perfect read for inspiration and takeaway.
I own this in my library and I definitely see myself re-reading it again. For added experience: get the audiobook.