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Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders (American Gods #1.5 included)

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  43,198 Ratings  ·  2,851 Reviews
This is a stunning collection of short stories by acclaimed fantasy writer Neil Gaiman. His distinctive genius has been championed by writers as diverse as Norman Mailer and Stephen King. With The Sandman Neil Gaiman created one of the most sophisticated, intelligent, and influential graphic novel series of our time. Now after the recent success of his latest novel Anansi ...more
Hardcover, 360 pages
Published September 26th 2006 by William Morrow (first published September 25th 2006)
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Jan 06, 2014 s.penkevich rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Young and old and inbetween
Recommended to s.penkevich by: practically everyone
’We owe it to each other to tell stories’
For years I’ve heard the name Neil Gaiman passed about, weighted with heavy praise, and have always promised myself to read him. Earlier this fall, after hearing him speak on NPR, I sat down with a copy of Coraline, and hungrily read it in one sitting. Despite the novel being intended for an audience much greener than I, I couldn’t help but be hypnotized by the charismatic voice and magical delivery and I renewed my promise to return to this author as soo
The two stars was a compromise. This book is a mixed bag of short stories and poems. In the Harry Potter books, there is a kind of sweet called Bertie Potts Every Flavour Jelly Beans. Sometimes you get something yummy like Raspberry Cream Chocolate or Honey Lemon Lime with a hint of Ginger or Vodka Tonic with Mentholated Cigarette Chaser. Other times you get Snot or Cat's Vomit. This book was like that. Unfortunately, this assortment contained more of the Warthog's Spyhillated Rectum or Seal ...more
I love Neil Gaiman. He is brilliant, imaginative, and abso-friggin-lutely weird, and I love him for it. And this book of short stories and prose, Fragile Things , is by far my most favorite compendium of his.

Fragile Things is a collection of oddities, retellings, poetry, spin-offs, and queer creations of Neil Gaiman's colorful imagination. Some of the stories have been published elsewhere, like Sunbird and October In The Chair , which were included in his M Is For Magic compilation, and s
Jason Koivu
Oct 03, 2012 Jason Koivu rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
It seems wrong and somewhat sad that my favorite Gaiman book is not one of his many heralded novels, but a collection of short stories. Mind you, Fragile Things is a great collection of short stories!

Some of the content herein is much more "adult" than a good deal of his other work, which can tend towards the childlike and fanciful. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the fantastical stuff with its focus on the magic of youth and mystery of the unknown. But I think I prefer his short story work because
“You can't do this to me, Neil. The boy went inside the farmhouse and... AND? What the hell, May? For god's sake, what kind of answer is that? Leave the Month finish the story, you...”

That's how much I liked this book. It made me a bit violent. I found myself speaking to the characters (talking alone to some pages, from a sane person's point of view). I didn't like all the short stories, for example, “How do you think it feels?”, “Keepsakes and Treasures”, “The problem with Susan”–(view spoiler)

Stories, Neil Gaiman informs in the introduction, are fragile things made up of 26 letters (more if you want to use phonetic symbols), ink and paper. They are illusions created by things that cannot last, but the best stories survive and transform. The stories within this volume are perhaps some of those best stories.

This collection contained many of Gaiman's most famous short stories. I want to write three quick reviews of some of the short stories. Including one which I previously read online
I really want to see what's inside Neil Gaiman head !! It must be a very strange place , a place where I doubt would want to be !!
These stories are creepy, horrifying , disturbing, shocking and freaked me out , and I loved them , if it wouldn't for a story or two which were way more creepy for my liking - like the one with the man who likes young girls , this particular story was very disturbing to me - I would've gave this collection five stars.
This is my second read-through of this book, and it was just as great, and oddly, just as surprising this time around as the last.

I don't know why it is, but I just have this image in my mind of Neil Gaiman as a proper author. I don't mean 'proper' to mean that he is officially an author (though he is), or that he does it correctly (though he does), but 'proper' in terms of vocabulary and ideas being more on the... non-vulgar side of things. I have this picture in my head, despite reading his b
Dec 01, 2008 Kerfe rated it it was ok
I have not read Neil Gaiman's novels but I've heard good things about them. This collection is obviously not a good place to start reading his work. First off, the intro was irritating. The self-satisfied aren't-I-wonderful? name dropping tone was kind of overbearing, and probably put me in an extra-critical mood.

The short story is unforgiving; you don't have time for slow bits, or parts that sound like you've read them already somewhere before. And paying homage is tricky too--it can't be mere
Ana Maria Rînceanu
The Mapmaker – originally written for American Gods, this short story is a cautionary tale about disregarding the needs of others while chasing ones desires and chasing immortality by keeping records a.k.a that map (3 stars)

A Study in (3 stars)

The Fairy Reel – a short lyric poem about the foolishness of not risking your heart (3 stars)

October in the Chair – runaway boy finds a ghost (4 stars)

The Hidden Chamber – gothic poem about Bluebeard (3 stars)
Wow, I am crabby.
I'm in a punching kittens/kicking puppies place right now, have been for awhile.
I think this current state of being is blocking my ability to find enjoyment in things I typically find delightful.
This book of collected Gaiman stories, for example.
I pressed "Play", he started reading, I went, "Ahhhhhhh. Bliss," and then I got bored.
I made it all the way to the last disc and then kind of fast-forwarded to the end, skipping giant parts, leaving huge swaths of un-listened-to prose be
May 24, 2012 Helen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Neil Gaiman is amazing and this collection is proof. There are some stories in here that are so good, that I wanted to immediately go back and read them again as soon as I finished. For example:

"A Study in Emerald"
"October in the Chair"
"Other People"
"Bitter Grounds"
"Keepsakes and Treasures"
"Harlequin Valentine"
"Sunbird" and
"Monarch of the Glen."

The rest of the stories all have something interesting to say as well, and each is written in Gaiman's unique style. I even liked some of the poems i
Aug 18, 2013 Carol. rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Gaimanites
Unfortunately, I picked up The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making in the middle of reading this collection, and it threw Gaiman's shortcomings and my reactions into sharp relief. Gaiman's clever, no doubt. But this is a mostly almost-horror collection of short story ideas rendered in a not particularly clever way, and I often had the feeling I was reading bits and pieces of autobiography tucked into larger tales. Luckily, a pleasant side effect was a coveted spot on R ...more
6.0 stars. On my list of All Time Favorite books. Chilling, funny, scary, sad, imaginitive, original, disturbing AND ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!!!!
Aug 24, 2016 Obsidian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Please note that I gave this 3.5 stars. I rounded it up to 4 stars on Goodreads.

So all in all definitely a mixed bag I am sad to say. I have loved everything else that I have read of Neil Gaiman's though I did only find Good Omens to be okay/good and have no intention of re-reading it. I have already read "Coraline" and "The Ocean at the End of the Lane" twice this year.

"A Study in Emerald" (5 stars)- a Sherlock Holmes story that is not a Sherlock Holmes story. I know that makes no sense, but y
Nov 23, 2015 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars, really.

What a delightful collection of Gaiman's short stories! I was very impressed, liking this even better than I expected. It very nearly got a full 5-stars, but I honestly have a hard time giving that rating to a collection of short stories. They have to really 'wow' me for that. Most of the time the stories, being short, don't really capture the full suspension of belief that's required to become fully absorbed and lost. The more lost I get, the more big stars it'll get.

That said
Jan 19, 2009 Sandi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sandi by: Beyond Reality February Fantasy BOM
Shelves: fantasy, 2009
I finished "Fragile Things" by Neil Gaiman while I was waiting for the anesthesiologist at UCLA Medical Center. Two days later, while visiting me in the hospital, my daughter announced that she "stole" the book from me. So, I don't have it to refer back to while doing this review.

For me, the highlight of this collection of short stories and poems was the novella "Monarch of the Glen" that featured Shadow from "American Gods" re-interpreting the Beowulf legend. It was extremely good. I thought t
I really enjoyed this collection of stories. I listened to the audiobook version read by the author himself, which I think added quite a bit to the experience. It's been my experience that authors who read their own stories as audiobooks are generally not the best. While it's true that they know their characters and their stories, many of them just don't have the voice or talent for oral storytelling. That's not to say that the author isn't a storyteller - obviously they are, often they just ...more
Jan 23, 2009 Jean rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Three stars for this one because I really liked some of the stories, I really disliked others, and while the prose is well-written, I just don't think Gaiman is a poet.

I'd rather not dwell on the negatives, so briefly, here are the stories I didn't like: "Other People" and "The Problem of Susan." "Other People" is a sickening description of one man's hell--literally hell, as in the afterlife. Of course, a description of hell should be sickening and disturbing, but that doesn't mean I have to lik
Jan 29, 2014 Maria rated it did not like it
Uneven collection of prose & poetry; a couple of the short stories were excellent, The rest was a bit of a muddle, with no satisfying resolutions, and that surprised me. I know this author has a great following and I ordinarily love "weird" as much as the next person, but perhaps I simply don't "get" him. Disappointing.
May 26, 2016 Jeraviz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Algunos relatos merecen mucho la pena, como la continuación de American Gods o el primer borrador de The Graveyard Book. Otros te los puedes saltar tranquilamente. La verdadera joya es la introducción en la que Gaiman va explicando cada relato y muestra un poco su forma de trabajar.
Carla Stafford
Jun 17, 2015 Carla Stafford rated it really liked it
Neil Gaiman's pen is more like a knotted, gnarled wand between his bent, magical fingers. Fragile Things is a collection of bizarre, intricate, yet sometimes strangely touching short stories and poems by Neil Gaiman. Not overly cryptic in the way that modern short stories seem to be. Although there was one, Diseasemaker's Croup that seemed intentionally and humorously nonsensical. Is it weird that the Introduction was my favorite part? No matter, I embrace my ravishing weirdness, his too, of ...more
May 10, 2013 K rated it it was ok
I have such a strange relationship with Neil Gaiman's writing, because I dislike the majority of it, but the few things that resonate well with me resonate so completely and so memorably that I don't ever forget them. There were three stories and one poem that I actually quite liked, but other than that this particular collection really didn't work for me, mostly because I feel as if Gaiman is particularly weak in crafting distinctive narrators (especially when writing in first person) which is ...more
Undrakh Ganzorig
Feb 04, 2016 Undrakh Ganzorig rated it it was amazing
It's a book of mixed emotions. It leaves you with excitement, deep thoughts, chill on your back, admiration, and hunger to read good short stories more. No wonder the name includes 'wonders' since those are not ordinary stories. I like it when I have certain feelings lingering inside my mind whenever I think about that book. Fragile things will be remembered as a book of rich imagination and best scary stories I've ever read.

Jul 18, 2016 Nicole rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookclub
I wanted to love this book so badly!!! I was so excited to finally read Neil Gaiman but, sadly, it proved to be much too tedious of a read for me to be able to enjoy my experience of "Fragile Things". There were a few stories I genuinely enjoyed but for the most part I found this Bookclub choice a real chore...and I picked it :(.
El Marcapaginas
Apr 21, 2016 El Marcapaginas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mi-biblioteca
Relatos que fascinan, enamoran y sorprenden. Píldoras de un mundo mágico donde Gaiman es el héroe de toda leyenda. Algunos relatos me han gustado especialmente como La danza de las hadas, Quince cartas de un tarot vampírico, Como crees que me siento...pero especialmente la secuela de American Gods. ¡Eso si es un regalo! Otros relatos pasaron desapercibidos pero sin duda siempre aportaron algo.
Ben Babcock
I first read Fragile Things back in my first year of university, after which I promptly lent it to a friend, who gave it back to me three or four years later—as can sometimes happen when I lend out books. I’ve been meaning to re-read it for a while so I can write a review. Then Neil Gaiman’s newest collection, Trigger Warning came out. So when I bought that, I also picked up his first collection, Smoke and Mirrors. I thought I could read all three anthologies in publication order and enjoy the p ...more
Hoàng Nguyễn
Điều mình thích ở tuyển tập này là có rất, rất, rất nhiều truyện ngắn tuyệt vời không chỉ cho mình thú vui đích thực trong việc đọc sách, mà đồng thời còn khuyến khích mình cầm bút lên viết nữa: viết bất cứ cái gì, viết về mọi thứ, viết hết tất cả những thứ mình có thể nghĩ ra trong đầu. Bởi vì mình hiểu rằng nếu ý tưởng mà không được thể hiện ra một dạng vật chất hữu hình nào đó thì nó sẽ mau chóng tan biến, mong manh như nó vốn dĩ đã vậy.

Và điều khiến mình khó chịu chính là song hành với những
Benjamin Quigley
I am reading this book with my sister while she is home from college on break. Many of the stories and poems in this volume are spooky and/or funny, but I would like to review two stories and one poem that really grabbed me.

"October in the Chair"
This story, dedicated to Ray Bradbury, smacks of that author's rich and subtle style. I love the story-in-a-story format, the inclusion of supernatural concept-beings such as the months (who remind me of the Endless, of course), and the even-handedly tra
Feb 21, 2008 Velvetink rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whenever a writer takes questions at a reading, an audience member inevitably asks, "Where do you get your ideas?" In the case of Fragile Things, Neil Gaiman's latest collection of short fiction and poetry, the question may be fair - ideas are very much on display - but his best work is driven by character and by the central question of popular fiction: What happens next? In other words, Neil Gaiman tells stories.

The half-dozen readers in America who still believe that genre means something migh
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Other Books in the Series

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“There are so many fragile things, after all. People break so easily, and so do dreams and hearts.” 3191 likes
“She seems so cool, so focused, so quiet, yet her eyes remain fixed upon the horizon. You think you know all there is to know about her immediately upon meeting her, but everything you think you know is wrong. Passion flows through her like a river of blood.

She only looked away for a moment, and the mask slipped, and you fell. All your tomorrows start here.”
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