Tag Archives: Chicago

One City, One Book Spring 2011: Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman

Hey fellow Chicagoans! Listen up, yous guys.

You may or may not know of the Chicago Public Library’s One City, One Book initiative, which  “seeks to cultivate a culture of reading in our city by reinforcing the importance and fun of reading and highlighting the benefits of reading together as a community,” but the program is one pick short of celebrating 10 years in action.

This spring, the One City, One Book pick is Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. In addition to recommending a book each spring and fall, the CPL provides resources, such as author bios, discussion groups, discussion questions (if you want to lead your own group), further reading suggestions and more on its website. There are also planned events related to the book, including a talk with Gaiman and Audrey Niffenegger (who wrote one of my favorite Chicago-centric novels, Time Traveler’s Wife) .

Gaiman himself is the creative force that brought us the fabulously creepy novel-turned-graphic-novel-turned movie Coraline and other works including American GodsAnansi Boys and  Good Omens.

Read about how Chicago played a part in inspiring Gaiman to write Neverwhere here, pick up a copy (you can reserve a Chicago Public Library branch copy here), and get out there and attend some events!

 

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The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger

The Time Traveler's WifeThe Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I LOVED this book.

I loved everything about it — the Chicago setting, the characters I couldn’t stop thinking about even once I’d finished the book, the clever way the story is laid out. Niffenegger managed to take what could have been an average run-of-the-mill love story and turned it into a story that keeps you thinking “ok, just one more section,” way after your bedtime.

The book made me laugh (both through situational humor and charming writing style) and cry (I’m not going to spoil anything here). Niffenegger’s characters are so real that they feel like family. Throughout the book, you will share in their triumphs and your heart will break at their tragedies. While the book contains an element of the supernatural (there really is literal time travel. It’s not just a figurative element), it is written like any good true-to-life story, and Niffenegger does a good job making that supernatural element believable in her real-world setting. She approaches real-world problems associated with the brand of time travel from which the main character suffers and offers real-world solutions, some of them unhappy, to her readers.

This book is a must-read before you see the movie. It’s a must-read if you’ve already seen the movie. If you like a good story that sticks with you long after the last page, then definitely pick up Time Traveler’s Wife.

View all my reviews