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The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  15,016 ratings  ·  2,175 reviews
An enthralling collection of nonfiction essays on a myriad of topics—from art and artists to dreams, myths, and memories—observed in #1 New York Times bestselling author 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 im
Paperback, 544 pages
Published May 16th 2017 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published May 31st 2016)
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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 Gai…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
Oct 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first essay is about books & libraries & why they're both so important.

I cried.

That's it. That's my review. An essay made me cry.

Thanks, Neil Gaiman. Thanks.
Lee Ann
Aug 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After reading this book, I wonder if I've been missing out all these years because I usually skip introductions. But then again, this is Neil Gaiman we're talking about, and I've never encountered one of his until now.

To be fair, Gaiman is one of my favorite authors ever. I feel about him the way I did about C.S. Lewis as a kid. Thanks to his Twitter feed and his blog, I've picked up books based on the authors he's mentioned, so it was cool to recognize some of those people along this particula
Sean Barrs
“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.
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
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
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful nonfiction by Neil Gaiman!

The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction will increase your love and affection

for Neil Gaiman,

and, also for books and for literature,

and for how beautiful, safe and peaceful this world can be with books and literature - a sense of wonder !!

I have contradictory opinions on fiction vs non-fiction. On one hand, I believe all good fiction is a direct form of communication between the author and the reader -- authors speak, readers respond and ask questions, and sometimes the author answers the question, but sometimes the author turns around and asks the reader a question -- all within the space of a novel. But I also believe that good fiction can exist completely without the readers - like the proverbial tree that falls in an unoccupi ...more
Dec 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of the pieces made me cry. Some made me wonder. Some inspired me. Having them read by Neil Gaiman rocked my world.
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 part
Jun 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
It's truly lovely when one of your revered authors is also a wonderful human being. For me, Neil Gaiman's one of those writers.
As a fan, I was delighted to see Neil's selected essays, speeches, articles, and introductions (for other well-respected writers, artists, and musicians) in one book. I found some of the contents familiar because they were all over the net when they were published, but I also missed a fair amount, so this book still had fun and new tidbits for me. Some of my newly disco
Natalia Yaneva
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 lov
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
Spencer Orey
I sat down to read what Neil Gaiman had to say about Diana Wynn Jones and ended up reading everything else!

I'm a big fan of Gaiman's fiction, but I didn't realize before that he has such a great nonfiction style too.

This book made me want to read a ton more books! His recommendations are very strong. For me, that's all I could possibly want from a book like this. (And he said a lot of nice things about Diana Wynn Jones too.)
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.)
So glad I listened to the audio! (Special thanks for Amy Finnegan, who recommended it as an audiobook!)

Having Neil Gaiman essentially deliver the speeches again, or do voices like Lou Reed and Stephen King as he recreates his interviews with them, was totally engaging. Loved what he had to say about writing. Loved his passion for books and music and film. Loved getting to hear him give his Newbery acceptance and Make Good Art speeches. Some of the articles dragged on a bit, I will admit. And wh
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
Jared Millet
Well, that was a blast. One of the blurbs on the back describes this book as having Neil Gaiman all to yourself for a long one-on-one conversation. It's not quite that. It's more like attending a Neil Gaiman Convention with panels and tracks on every field in which Gaiman has dabbled and where every speaker is Gaiman himself (with special guest Lou Reed). For someone who's definitely become the Rock Star of fantasy literature, NG comes across as humble, gracious, and charmingly self-deprecating. ...more
Mar 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Neil Gaiman can do no wrong
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 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
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
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
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
Shawn Mooney (Shawn The Book Maniac)
All I really knew about Neil Gaiman was that he was a comic book artist or maybe a graphic novelist, or something, and thus beneath my rarified literary tastes.

In other words, I didn't know jackshit about Neil Gaiman.

When I saw that several of my fellow Litsyites were reading and posting about his new collection of nonfiction, I decided to see what all the fuss was about. I listened to the audio version - narrated by Gaiman himself - and was immediately struck by the lovely sparkle of his voice
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59 likes · 15 comments
“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.” 43 likes
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