I think Neil Gaiman is one of the key writers of of my generation. His writing has been a part of my life since I was a teen. He is adept at writing for all ages, with popular works for kids, teens and adults. With the recent publication of his newest work, "The Ocean at the End of the Lane," I created a Top Seven list of Gaiman works that I would recommend reading.
1. "The Ocean at the End of the Lane" was Gaiman's most recent work published in June. It's a small novel that packs a big punch. Give him 64 pages & he'll give you a truly terrifying villain. Ursula Monkton makes the sickly sweet terror of Harry Potter's nemesis, Dolores Umbridge, seem like child's play. Once I started reading this novel, I could not put it down!
2. The Sandman series of graphic novels. As a teen, I was fascinated by his graphic novels based on a group of immortal siblings called "The Sandman." Critically acclaimed, "The Sandman" is one of the few graphic novels ever to be on the New York Times Best Seller list. This series proves that comics can be art, with strong storytelling and fascinating visuals. He somehow made Death my favorite character.
3. "Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch" is the most hilarious book you'll ever read about the Apocalypse. Co-written with Terry Pratchett, Good Omens follows Aziraphale, an angel who doubles as a rare-book dealer, and Crowley, his demon friend. They've both been assigned to the same territory and have decided that they like life on Earth too much to allow the long-planned war between Heaven and Hell to go down. If you can find a copy that has footnotes, I highly recommend it!
4. "Neverwhere" will always be on my list of Top 10 books of all time. Richard Mayhew lives a normal life as a middle class businessman in London. He's a compassionate soul who stops to help a bleeding girl on the sidewalk that everyone else seems to be ignoring. Even more curiously, once he helps her, no one seems to remember him or be able to see him! This launches a journey into the world of "London Below." What Richard doesn't know is how dangerous this place can be when there is so much at stake.
5. In "Coraline," one of Gaiman's most popular works, a little girl wants a life that's better and easier than the one she has. But when she get what she wants, she finds that it has unforeseen and dangerous repercussions. If that's not enough to hook you, the villain in this novel has buttons for eyes. Creepy!
6. "The Graveyard Book" was a breakthrough for Gaiman, proving he could write both adult and juvenile fiction. His haunting allegory tale of "The Jungle Book" won the Newbery Award in 2003. The tale is of a boy named "Nobody," Bod for short, who is alive and lives in a graveyard with its ghostly inhabitants. These ghosts act as his caretakers after his family is killed by a Jack the Ripper type villain. As in "The Jungle Book," Bod examines his strengths and weaknesses as he explores both the graveyard and the town that surrounds the wrought iron gated place he calls home.
7. "Odd and the Frost Giants" is a retelling of a Norse myth. This short, "juvie" novel is a quick read. If you know a boy who enjoys Thor and Loki tales, this is one to pick up. Odd is a boy on his own after his Viking father unexpectedly perishes on a raid. With his mother remarried, Odd has lost his place. During a winter that refuses to end, Odd decides to set out on his own. After an encounter with a trio of animals-a bear, an eagle, and a fox-Odd's destiny and that of his village changes forever.
--Mary G., Rock Road Branch