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The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  8,691 Ratings  ·  1,694 Reviews
An enthralling collection of nonfiction essays on a myriad of topics—from art and artists to dreams, myths, and memories—observed in Neil Gaiman’s probing, amusing, and distinctive style.

An inquisitive observer, thoughtful commentator, and assiduous craftsman, Neil Gaiman has long been celebrated for the sharp intellect and startling imagination that informs his bestsellin
Audible Audio, Unabridged Audiobook, 15 pages
Published May 31st 2016 by Harper Audio
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Cassandra I listened to the audiobook so it was like being at each event. I also own the hardback just because it was Neil Gaiman and I love all things Neil…moreI listened to the audiobook so it was like being at each event. I also own the hardback just because it was Neil Gaiman and I love all things Neil Gaiman. If you are picking just one format, get the audiobook. You can hear the emotions in his voice. (less)
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Will Byrnes
Once upon a time a writer sat in a large room and looked around. The words and papers that he had dreamed into existence had begun to clog the space. To get from his magic writing place to the world outside he had to push his way past words on stacks of paper that had grown so high that he was no longer able to see over the top to the door. Sometimes the lanes they had formed led him not to a door, but into a wall and he had to find his way back to the desk where he made the words, and start ove ...more
Bookdragon Sean
“Fiction can show you a different world. It can take you somewhere you've never been. Once you've visited other worlds, like those who ate fairy fruit, you can never be entirely content with the world that you grew up in. Discontent is a good thing: discontented people can modify and improve their worlds, leave them better, leave them different."


I have so much respect for Neil Gaiman. I don’t like everything he writes, though I do believe he is one of the most talented writers alive today. Gai
Jun 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These are basically a collection of previously published essays and ideas ranging to his love of art, people, and the more basic of life's requirements like books and love, but more than that, it's basically an affirmation and a solid grounding in what should be quite evident from anyone who has read his work:

Life is and should be about the joy we take in it.

Oh, and we get a lot of great book reviews from Gaiman, himself, a lot of which I've got skewered on my To-Read list. I mean, who does that
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up A View From the Cheap Seats, selected non-fiction, Neil Gaiman’s 2016 collection of essays, sketches, introductions, speeches, etc. simply because it was Gaiman’s latest publication. I was compelled, I must read it.

I began and realized what it was, not fiction but non-fiction essays, and saw the thickness of it (522 pages) and decided that I would give it a try, but I was more in the mood for a fiction just now and though I like Neil and his opinions, I would likely try this again la
Matthew Quann
Jan 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
If you identify as any sort of geek, then you've probably dabbled in some of Neil Gaiman's evocative, fantastical fiction. If you're anything like me, you've found yourself caught in a YouTube vortex of Neil Gaiman interviews, speeches, and discussions. Gaiman's a fantastic speaker: he's charismatic, he's kind, he's notoriously modest, and he speaks and writes with palpable enthusiasm. If you've ever sat back and heard/watched Gaiman speak and thought, This guy's really got a handle on it all, h ...more
Literature does not occur in a vacuum. It cannot be a monologue. It has to be a conversation, and new people, new readers, need to be brought into the conversation too.

I would highly recommend the first ninety pages of this collection. Here, Gaiman discusses his love of literature, libraries, and librarians, including some of his childhood favorites and influences.

For book lovers, these essays are pure joy.

As to the remaining pages, your enjoyment will depend upon your interest in each partic
Наталия Янева
Bulgarian review below/Ревюто на български е по-долу
Neil Gaiman is a gold nugget. A fragment of volcanic rock. A drop of mercury. Nibiru. A bit dark, very elusive, way too amorphous. He will tell you what it’s like to attend the Oscars, tucked away in the first mezzanine, and to win nothing, he may also relate what it’s like to be at the concert of his wife’s apocryphal punk cabaret band and feel like a winner.

‘The View from the Cheap Seats’ is the story of an eternal flirt and one great love.
Mar 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the launching event for this book Neil Gaiman said that there have been many more writings of his that could have been included (and that he admires the woman who chose which piece would make it into this book and which should be left out since it was a lot of work), but if this book was any thicker it would have to get registered as a weapon. I think he was wrong. This IS a weapon. A weapon is something dangerous, something you can kill people with and this book certainly fits that descripti ...more
M. Donner
Mar 16, 2016 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I will be willing to do anything within (legal) means to get a ARC of this book.

A Poor Librarian

(Who perhaps cannot wait until May 31st.)
Mar 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Neil Gaiman can do no wrong
Helene Jeppesen
Unlike what you're probably supposed to do, I read this selection of Neil Gaiman's non fiction from A to Z (over a couple of weeks, mind you). I didn't skip any texts, and I found that even though some of the chapters dealt with people I didn't know of or had any interest in, I still took something with me after having read them.
Having now finished his non fictional collection of speeches, thoughts, introductions and more from one of the most fascinating fantasy writers I know, I don't know if
Sep 29, 2016 rated it liked it
This audio, read by Neil himself, was interesting-depending upon the subject being discussed.

For myself, I loved the essays and speeches about Terry Pratchett, (that one was my favorite and it even made me tear up), comics, Fritz Leiber, myths and music, (especially the Lou Reed piece).

I was not so much interested in the essays, introductions and speeches regarding people that I had no interest in and/or no knowledge of.

This was a very long collection and I did find my mind drifting quite a b
Barbara (The Bibliophage)
True confession: this is the first Neil Gaiman book I've read. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. And it won't be the last. I enjoy non-fiction, especially memoir and I expected this to be a bang up memoir. I was wrong. Not about it being a bang up book, but about it being a typical memoir. From what I've learned, nothing Neil Gaiman does is typical.

Instead, the book is a compilation of various talks, interviews, and writing that Gaiman has done primarily for the benefit of others. For example, he wr
Jay Green
Rather disappointed with this, tbh. I was hoping for something insightful, for some personality, for some originality. There's the odd flicker, and some interesting observations on the process of writing, here and there, but sadly this amounts to little more than a collection of forewords, prefaces, and commencement speeches, each of which covers more or less the same ground or offers overviews of writers and their works without saying anything startling, specific, or original. There are plenty ...more
Initial reaction: I don't think I could give this less than five stars. It's such a great collection of speeches and essays from Gaiman, and I admire his honesty, knowledge and distinct voice (not to mention his spot on humor in places). I don't think I could write a long enough review to express how much takeaway I had from this book.

Full review:

Have I told all of you how much I love Neil Gaiman? As a writer/narrator/comic writer/general purveyor of writerly wisdoms? No? Well, I suppose this is
Diane Barnes
Feb 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: slow-reads
I have admired Neil Gaiman for many years without actually having read any of his books. I am not a reader of either graphic novels or science fiction, both respected genres, just not my thing. Then I saw this book of essays in the bookstore and figured this was my chance, a chance I am very glad to have taken.

These essays are divided into subjects, beginning with pieces about the love of books and reading, and our need to foster and protect these privileges. There are also sections on music, ar
Mar 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Εντάξει,ο Gaiman δεν είναι απλά ένας φανταστικός παραμυθάς. Είναι ένας άνθρωπος που θέλεις να κάτσεις να πιεις μαζί του ένα καφέ/ένα ουίσκι και να μιλήσετε για βιβλία, μουσική,την τέχνη γενικότερα,ανθρώπους που αγαπάτε/σας εμπνέουν.
Συγκινήθηκα όπου μιλούσε για τον Terry Pratchett,δε θα το κρύψω.
Highlight των ομιλιών,άρθρων,essays που βρίσκονται εδώ είναι το -πολυ γνωστό-Make Good Art και το (προσωπικά αγαπημένο) Why Our Future Depends on Libraries,Reading and Daydreaming.Το τελευταίο μας υπενθυ
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
A wonderful nonfiction by Neil Gaiman!

The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction will increase your love and affection for Neil Gaiman.
Mar 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2016
Up until now, Neil Gaiman has been known as a fiction writer, giving us delights like Neverwhere and American Gods and is the creative force behind the equally amazing and disturbing Sandman series of graphic novels. I first came across him in the collaboration with Terry Pratchett that is Good Omens. When I first read it I hated it as it wasn’t Pratchett enough for me. The second time I came across him was when a book group I am in was reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane. This melancholy s ...more
Charlotte Jones
Jun 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I only ever listen to Neil Gaiman's books on audiobook instead of reading them in a physical format and this book is a great example of why. Neil Gaiman's narration adds so much to the text that I can't imagine experiencing it any other way.

This compilation of non-fiction writings from Gaiman includes articles, essays, reviews and introductions from throughout his writing career and I found, though a few were slightly repetitive of what came before in the collection (which is bound to happen in
Neil Gaiman is an excellent storyteller. I don’t know if I can add much to the discussion than has been ably put down by my friends Will Byrnes and Sonya.

The title is a bit disingenuous, since the categories of "celebrity" and "everyman" are almost entirely self-exclusive. I agree with Will that there is a lot of repetition in the speeches, thoughtful pieces on reading and introductions to others writings. One of the best parts was when he discusses what inspired him to write this book or that o
Jun 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I always had hard time picturing Neil Gaiman as a human.With every new book, new interview, new appearance in public he seem more and more like some mythological creature from world more magical than this.This collection of his introductions, essays and speeches did nothing to break that illusion.

It was nice book with some interesting thoughts on some authors, movies, books, comic books and state of book, comic book and film industry in general spiced with some interesting anecdotes.It had some
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An assortment of eulogies, book introductions, speeches, articles, interviews, and general ponderings on a great many things. Reading this is a way to understand Gaiman beyond his fiction. In the meager number of his works that I have explored, I've felt an underlying connection which I wasn't sure how precisely to interpret. My brain likes to file things in very specific ways, and it was as if it kept wandering from one aisle to the next trying to determine where to place Gaiman.

And then I read
Paul E. Morph
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a collection of 87 pieces of Gaiman's non-fiction spanning the entire length of his career to date. The subject matter is mostly art and artists with a little politics thrown in occasionally. I found it really interesting reading and very moving in places. I'd have given it 5 stars if it weren't for the fact that it's a little repetitive in places; Neil, like most people, tends to trot out the same anecdotes from time-to-time. Overall, though, a cracking good read.
Sep 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Neil Gaiman has slowly but surely been climbing to the top of my list of favorite authors for the last year. This collection seems daunting, but because of the structure is actually easy to read, and rather fun to bounce around in. Neil is honest, eccentric, and speaks about everything (person, book, movie etc) with wit and sincerity. I cannot wait to continue enjoying more of his work.
K.D. Winchester
3.5 Stars. I loved some of these essays and wondered why he included others. But his reading of the audiobook was stellar as always. I still want to marry his voice.
Neil Gaiman just gets it, man.

This collection of miscellaneous non-fiction writings consists of various speeches, articles, essays, and introductions, and what it turns out to be is sort of a hodge-podge portrait of Gaiman as a writer and reader. Not every essay was of interest to me, and I did skip some of them that covered books I'd never read (and didn't want spoiled . . . also, the one about Dogsbody Neil tells the reader to skip straight up and then come back to it once you've read it).

Writing an appreciation of a new book by Neil Gaiman is rather like writing about your summer vacation as your first assignment in the new school year. You remember all of the magical wonderful things, but getting them down on paper is almost impossible. I've been reading Neil Gaiman's work now for over twenty years, and the only author I can compare him to in the beauty and quality of his prose is Ray Bradbury. In The View from the cheap seats , we are privileged to get a view 'behind the autho ...more
Fangirl o'clock! If you've read my reviews, you might have noticed that I love Neil Gaiman, and that while I agree that he sometimes writes less interesting stories, I don't think he ever wrote a truly bad one. I have been known to buy books to which he wrote the introduction because I feel that if it has his stamp of approval, I should read it.

I have been reading Neil's blog and the various articles and interviews that pop up on my Facebook newsfeed for ages, so I already knew he could write so
This book is a compilation of Mr. Gaiman talks in awards, and, now I know, a famous speech (Make Good Art) in a graduation. Besides, selected introductions he has made for some more famous books (Fahrenheit 451), than others. Here are interviews and reflections of musicians, authors (Terry Pratchet and Stephen King among the more well know) and some people who he have know (his wife and librarians).

Now, I have to admit I only had read like two thirds of the book due there were several things th
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Help: Need more works like Gaiman's essay on libraries 2 11 Feb 20, 2017 03:50AM  
  • The Geek Feminist Revolution
  • The Art of Neil Gaiman
  • A Slip of the Keyboard: Collected Non-Fiction
  • What Makes This Book So Great
  • Touch Magic: Fantasy, Faerie & Folklore in the Literature of Childhood
  • Yuki Chan in Brontë Country
  • At Large and at Small: Familiar Essays
  • Prince of Stories: The Many Worlds of Neil Gaiman
  • Rhetorics of Fantasy
  • The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells
  • Words for Pictures: The Art and Business of Writing Comics and Graphic Novels
  • Solemn: A Novel
  • The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New
  • A Reader on Reading
  • The Fever of 1721: The Epidemic That Revolutionized Medicine and American Politics
  • Of Sorrow and Such
  • From Here To Infinity: An Exploration of Science Fiction Literature
  • Embed with Games: A Year on the Couch with Game Developers
“Fiction can show you a different world. It can take you somewhere you've never been. Once you've visited other worlds, like those who ate fairy fruit, you can never be entirely content with the world that you grew up in. Discontent is a good thing: discontented people can modify and improve their worlds, leave them better, leave them different.

And while we're on the subject, I'd like to say a few words about escapism. I hear the term bandied about as if it's a bad thing. As if "escapist" fiction is a cheap opiate used by the muddled and the foolish and the deluded, and the only fiction that is worthy, for adults or for children, is mimetic fiction, mirroring the worst of the world the reader finds herself in.

If you were trapped in an impossible situation, in an unpleasant place, with people who meant you ill, and someone offered you a temporary escape, why wouldn't you take it? And escapist fiction is just that: fiction that opens a door, shows the sunlight outside, gives you a place to go where you are in control, are with people you want to be with(and books are real places, make no mistake about that); and more importantly, during your escape, books can also give you knowledge about the world and your predicament, give you weapons, give you armour: real things you can take back into your prison. Skills and knowledge and tools you can use to escape for real.

As JRR Tolkien reminded us, the only people who inveigh against escape are jailers.”
“You can no more read the same book again than you can step into the same river.” 33 likes
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