Other Reading

October 22, 2007 at 4:58 pm 3 comments


My lighter reading while I was in Norway comprised of Alexander McCall Smith’s Irregular Portuguese Verbs, and the ultimate escapism of The Absolute Sandman, Volume One. Neil Gaiman, if you didn’t know already. Irregular Portugese Verbs is a light-hearted take on an eccentric German linguistics professor. A few scenes were scarily familiar (bringing back some of the dryer or ridiculous moments at medieval studies conferences I have attended), and it was quite funny in places. It was recommended by the Deutchophile Dr Boring (he’s not, it’s just his name). I have to admit I didn’t quite love it as much as he does, but perhaps coming at it directly after being emotionally flattened by The Solid Mandala wasn’t the best move.

Burying myself in Sandman again was fun. I first read it in the strange years after my undergraduate degree. Three of my friends had collected the whole series between them, and I read them in random order – whatever I could get my hands on first. I adored them. Their scope, their depth, their myths, their quirkiness. (And I’m sure I’m not the only girl to have a slight crush on the title character…) Sometimes they were too scary for me, and I think I actually skipped an episode set in Egypt because it looked too gruesome to handle. It was my first exposure to ‘graphic novels’, and I found it fascinating how easy it was to become immersed in them. It is a very different reading experience, and an enjoyable one.

Reading them again, in order, was both a gain and a loss. The big fat book is gorgeous, a luxurious object, but there was something lovely about the paperback comics too, how I had to wait for them, and cobble the story together. And I think some of the later stories (not included in this volume) are actually my favourites. That said, the ‘human vortex’ and all the stories surrounding that are completely amazing. I love Death. And Fiddler’s Green. I guess I’ll never be able to repeat the sheer wonder of discovering these stories for the first time, but I am glad the world is mine to visit whenever I want.

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Entry filed under: Alexander McCall Smith, Neil Gaiman.

The Solid Mandala New Books

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Eva  |  October 23, 2007 at 8:03 am

    I’m planning on reading the first Sandman for the Reading the Author challenge. Your post makes me even more excited about it!

  • 2. Nyssaneala  |  October 24, 2007 at 2:11 pm

    Thanks for visiting my blog!

    I have been patiently waiting for the Sandman series to become available on paperbackswap. I can’t wait to read this series.

    Do you make it back to Aus very often? We lived in Brisbane for a few years, but unfortunately never made it to Adelaide. We’re still considering moving back permanently (more likely to Melbourne) when my hubby finishes up his surgical residency–we really miss living there.

  • 3. meli  |  October 27, 2007 at 9:33 pm

    sandman is fun all round. šŸ™‚

    thanks for dropping by nyssa. i get back to australia about once a year – i’ll be there for christmas this year, hooray! adelaide’s a lot smaller than melbourne, but it’s nice.

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