From talking cats to fallen stars, Neil Gaiman has created some of the most unusual characters to appear in the pages of fantasy books. His tales are rich with imagination, fantastical elements as well as some occasional dark humour. This award-winning British author is also known for appearing in public always dressed in black clothes, which gives him the appearance of a rock star. In fact, fans of Gaiman have called him ‘a rock star amongst fantasy writers’.
Neil Richard Gaiman was born in Hampshire, England on November 10, 1960. Growing up, he was an avid reader who devoured any book he could get his hands on. He worked his way through his entire local children’s library and partway through the adult collection as well. Some of his favourite childhood books include Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis. In his teenage years, Gaiman became a journalist. He wrote biographies of celebrities such as the rock band Duran Duran and science fiction author Douglas Adams. From there, Gaiman started to delve into writing fiction, mostly with short stories and novels.
For readers who are first discovering Gaiman’s works, one of his recommended books would be Coraline. Originally deemed too scary for children to read, it has now become a favourite for both kids and adults. Coraline is about an adventurous girl who discovers a secret world hidden behind her new house. On the other side, Coraline finds she has an Other Mother and Other Father who shower her with love and gifts. This all turns out to be a ruse, as the Other Mother is a witch who keeps children as her prisoners and steals their souls. When Coraline’s parents are kidnapped, she must win them back from Other Mother. The story has values of good triumphing over evil, as well as being courageous and resourceful in dire situations. It was also adapted into a stop-motion animated film in 2009.
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