When Neil Gaiman narrates his own work, it takes on a life of its own. It’s like he’s speaking to you and only to you, even when you know he’s not. He is first and foremost a storyteller. This comes across in how he tells a story verbally.
This book is a compilation of speeches, essays, and introductions that he’s written over the years. Some of these I’m previously familiar with, having heard them or read them at the beginnings of other books. Some of these topics I’ve gotten other tastes of on his blog. In any case, almost everything about this book is personal to him in some way, shape, or form, and it just happens to line up with the zeitgeist my own life has taken in many cases. Gaiman covers a wide variety of topics here: comics, classic monsters, books, authors, music, his friends, his family, on up to the subjects of the things that make us human and death itself. It’s like nothing is off the table, and all of it is discussed in a most meaningful way that made me sit back and ponder things for a while as though what he were saying were the deepest of philosophical mysteries. But they’re not. They’re simply one man’s ideas, offered without pretension to the rest of the world. It just happens that most of what he has to say here is wise in a number of ways.
Sometimes you find books from people you respect that contain things you need at just the right moment in your life. And sometimes you just understand what’s being discussed because you were there, because you lived it, because it’s a part of you. Check, on all points. For this reason, because how such things can resonate in ways that are beyond human description, I give this one top marks.