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Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders

(American Gods #1.1 (Monarch of the Glen))

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really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  54,231 ratings  ·  3,658 reviews

A mysterious circus terrifies an audience for one extraordinary performance before disappearing into the night . . .

Two teenage boys crash a party and meet the girls of their dreams--and nightmares . . .

In a Hugo Award-winning story, a great detective must solve a most unsettling royal murder in a strangely altered Victorian England . . .

These marvelous creations and

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Paperback, 396 pages
Published February 9th 2010 by Harper (first published September 25th 2006)
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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 ·  54,231 ratings  ·  3,658 reviews


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Whitaker
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
Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
Here’s what the introduction says about Fragile Things:

“It seemed like a fine title for a book of short stories. There are so many fragile things, after all. People break so easily, and so do dreams and hearts.”

It all feels like a desperate attempt to release a collection of unrelated stories into the world. They are all very unique and individual with a title that could be applied to a number of different short story books instead of this one.

So the book that has been sold to us feels like
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s.penkevich
Jan 10, 2012 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
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Monique
Nov 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Monique by: Tintin
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
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Look at the surprise that just landed on my doorstep! :D :D Apparently this is a new "movie tie-in" edition for How to Talk to Girls at Parties. It also includes some 30 other short stories and poems by Neil Gaiman.

From Gaiman's Introduction:
"I think ... that I would rather recollect a life mis-spent on fragile things than spent avoiding moral debt." The words turned up in a dream and I wrote them down upon waking, uncertain what they meant or to whom they applied. ... It seemed like a fine
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Finished!! And it only took me, well, 3 months to make my way through this collection of Neil Gaiman fantasy stories.

3.5 stars. There are some great stories here, but also some really offbeat and quirky ones, and some that I found totally forgettable, as in, I went back and looked at them after I finished this book, a couple of months after I'd read them, and didn't remember much of the plot at all.

Also, Gaiman is so brilliant and creative but he's also sometimes gruesome and occasionally
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Jason Koivu
Jun 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Ashley Daviau
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is my first time (well second technically since I’ve read this book twice!) reading something by Gaiman that’s not a full length novel and I enjoyed it just as much, if not more! This is a truly stunning collection of delightfully dark and macabre short stories and poems and I absolutely devoured them. Gaiman just has such a special way of putting words on paper, it’s like he’s drawing in my mind instead of writing a story and I absolutely love that about his writing style. I’d try and pick ...more
carol.
Feb 22, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Florencia
“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)
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Ana
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 Emeraldgoodreads.com/review/show/1321098517 (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)
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Cyndi
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A group of short stories by the brilliant Neil Gaiman. Some are very short some are longer but all of them are wonderful!
Jonathan Terrington

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
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RJ
Sep 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Collection of Gaiman's short stories and poem, including the following:
- Introduction - 3/5 - story notes and anecdotes includes short story The Mapmaker (also 3/5)
- A Study in Emerald - 5/5 - Sherlock Cthulhu
- The Fairy Reel - 3/5 - poem
- October in the Chair - 3/5 - test run for Gaiman's Graveyard Book
- The Hidden Chamber - 3/5 - poem
- Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire - 3/5 - one of Gaiman's earliest tales, reworked for an anthology
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Kerfe
Dec 01, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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Erica
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
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Nariman
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.
Becky
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
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Helen
Aug 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Stephen
6.0 stars. On my list of All Time Favorite books. Chilling, funny, scary, sad, imaginitive, original, disturbing AND ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!!!!
Simon
If only I could write half as well as Neil Gaiman.

I enjoyed almost every short story and poem in this collection. Especially the "novella" (?) at the end where the reader gets to see Shadow Moon again. Reminds me that I need to re-read American Gods at some point and see the TV adaptation.
Chris
Jul 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
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Sandi
Dec 22, 2008 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
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Robert
As with previous collections of short pieces by Gaiman, I found this extremely variable in quality: Anything referred to as "poetry" is execrable, as are all the "stories" that are extremely short and fail to follow any normal narrative structure. On the other hand, the pieces that follow some kind of conventional method are all at least OK and in some cases delightful.

Stand-out entries are A Study in Emerald and How to Talk to Girls at Parties.
Obsidian
May 26, 2016 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
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Chris
Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fragile Things is an excellent collection of short stories (including an American Gods story) and poetry. Unlike most short story collections I've read, this one has many more hits than misses. There were only a few pieces that I didn't really enjoy. I'd definitely recommend this one.
Becky
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
Cara's Craftsations
"The Mapmaker" 3 stars
"A Study in Emerald" 4 stars
"The Fairy Reel" 2 stars
"October in the Chair" 4 stars
"The Hidden Chamber" 3 stars
"Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire" 3 stars
"The Flints of Memory Lane" 3 stars
"Closing Time" 3 stars
"Going Wodwo" 2 stars
"Bitter Grounds" 3 stars
"Other People"2 stars
"Keepsakes and Treasures: A Love Story" 4 stars
"Good Boys Deserve Favors" 2 stars
"The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch" 4 stars
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Maria
Dec 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Maria by: Monique
Me + Neil Gaiman + short stories = perfect fit. Yay!

***

I didn't like American Gods, but I love The Graveyard Book. Now, I am trying another Gaiman book to tip him in my favor (I hope). Ha! Thanks for the reco, friend =)
A. Dawes
May 21, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
3.5* all up.

I've always found Gaiman inconsistent, perhaps because of his prolific publication, or the numerous genre he manages to cover. Some works here I absolutely adored such as "Monarch of the Glen", others I thought didn't deserve to be in the collection at all. I'd still recommend it though as when Gaiman is on-song, he is fabulous.

3* "The Mapmaker" – from the American Gods world, this story warns about a lack of sympathy for others desires and selfishly pursuing your own. Good but not
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“There are so many fragile things, after all. People break so easily, and so do dreams and hearts.” 3610 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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