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GROUP READS > American Gods Discussion

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message 1: by Dlmrose (new)

Dlmrose | 18023 comments Mod
This is the discussion thread for the Winter 2013 Group Read American Gods . Please post your comments here. This thread is not restricted to those choosing this book for task 20.10, feel free to join in the discussion. Warning- spoilers ahead!

message 2: by Andy (new)

Andy Plonka (plonkaac) | 3590 comments Andy P.
I'm not really sure I understood all the author was trying to communicate, but the concept of taking your gods with you when you move is an interesting one. It was also entertaining to see how Gaiman, a Brit, explained things that are truly American. The gods themselves were each focused on specific things, like their Greek or Roman counterparts, so you need to be careful who you address for help.
I think Gaiman is one of the better writers of fantasy in that his imagined world remains consistent throughout the tale and he doesn't use paranormal circumstances to get himself out of corners that he has painted himself into. He doesn't allow himself to get in those corners to begin with.

message 3: by Coralie (last edited Dec 29, 2013 11:51PM) (new)

Coralie | 2181 comments I attempted to read this book some years ago but gave up after the first hundred pages, thinking that it was not my sort of book.
However, having now completed it, I have changed my mind. Although I still didn’t like the beginning, I enjoyed it once I got into it. It was a challenge to see how many of the myths and gods I could recognise. Now I have found the answer to the question I asked last time I started it – why was Shadow chosen? I didn’t see everything coming, but I thought Gaiman brought all the ends together well and I found the ending very satisfactory.

message 4: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 16432 comments Mod
Coralie wrote: "I attempted to read this book some years ago but gave up after the first hundred pages, thinking that it was not my sort of book.
However, having now completed it, I have changed my mind. Although..."

It took me a couple tries to get into this one as well, but in the fall I pushed through and finished it and also found that I liked it. For me, what got me into it was knowing that I like everything else Gaiman writes, so I would probably like this as well, if I just stuck with it!

message 5: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 7793 comments i've had this lurking on Mt TBR for a while - may your comments will get me to finally read it ;)

message 6: by etwatson (new)

etwatson | 46 comments This is the first book by Gaiman that I have read. Overall, I enjoyed this story despite the need to piece together the first part of the book to get the overall gist of the story. He did a wonderful job of wrapping up all of the loose ends and solidifying a point of view that I have never considered. I had fun reading about the gods that he used in his story and then imagining some of the gods that he did not mention.

message 7: by Valorie (new)

Valorie  | 824 comments Yikes, this book was just not for me. I couldn't get into it at all, I was bored to tears.

message 8: by Zoe (new)

Zoe | 14 comments I'm about 20% of the way through this book so far. It has a slower, duller start than Neverwhere which I really enjoyed. The references to some quite obscure mythological beings is interesting though, have had to look some of them up on Wikipedia so at least I'm learning something!

message 9: by April (new)

April I read this book long enough ago to forget the main parts of the story. SO when I reread it this time, it was new again. (It takes a really long time for me to forget a plot)

I loved it again. I understood Shadow Moon's name better this time (A reflection, "Sometimes you are just not there (alive)" from the wife.)
The fact that he is a half-blood (which I would not have understood without Riordan's books) which makes him only part of this world and part of the god world.

We also read this for a F2F book club and no one liked it but me.

message 10: by Sassafrass (new)

Sassafrass (sass-a-frass) | 896 comments This book is a pretty big departure for the normal types of books I read, but I'm glad that I stuck with it. I really just put up with it for the first 150 pages, but I think after that, it took off for me.

The revelations of Shadow's past were shocking. I don't know why I didn't see it coming, but I didn't.

Honestly though, I was just so happy to see Shadow taking some initiative at the end. He was driving me crazy just going along with everything. That's how he ended up in jail in the first place.

message 11: by Zoe (new)

Zoe | 14 comments Have finished this book now and I did enjoy it though felt that it could have been better executed. Gaimen is a fantastically creative writer and I love his premise that all of these weird and wonderful gods could have been transported in the minds of migrants and then abandoned to take up jobs as NY taxi drivers or funeral directors! The idea of new gods such as media and technology ousting the old is interesting too.

A lot of people seem to comment that this story is hard to get into or stick with, perhaps this novel would have benefited from tighter editing. It is a little overlong and the pacing could be improved. Overall though the originality of the book made me want to carry on till the end.

message 12: by Tassie (new)

Tassie | 70 comments I read the author's preferred text of this book (interestingly I read it last month but before I joined this group). I loved it. In fact, everything I've read by Gaiman I've adored.

I like that his stuff isn't too obvious. I like that some of it meanders and you have to stick with it to figure out where he's going. I like that it's more than a little bit subverting-the-dominant-paradigmy. He's got an amazing flow, and I've got several more of his books on my to-read list.

message 13: by Delmy (last edited Feb 05, 2014 12:09PM) (new)

Delmy  (needfulreads) I have been reading this book for the last two months, not because it isn't a fantastic book. It is fantastic and it is different, not the types of books that i read, but i can't pinpoint as to why i struggled with it. I did not feel hooked, i felt like i could put this book down anytime, which i did. Another thing, i could not get the idea out of my head that this book seemed similar to "The Gunslinger"-- i don't know why, i felt like Shadow and Roland seemed very similar.Very King-esque.

I got hooked in small bursts but just not enough, even though i gave the story five stars(i know i am contradicting myself!). i felt the story was unique and very well written and the characters were very well developed. I liked the mythology and supernatural aspects. However, i did enjoy this book in the end, i am glad i EVENTUALLY finished it.

message 14: by Amy (new)

Amy | 1350 comments This book just didn't capture my interest. I listened to the audio version and found myself losing focus on a regular basis. Mythology has never been my thing, so that didn't help either...

message 15: by Dana (new)

Dana (danareader) This book is a great example of a book I wouldn't have read if not prompted by this group. And I am glad to have read it. I enjoyed it - it was interesting in concept and kept me interested. It was a new idea for explaining why things happen to people - that we have created gods, moved them around, and then forgotten them. We invent gods to create a sense of order, or cause and effect, but then they are at our mercy when we don't need them anymore.

message 16: by Paul (new)

Paul | 297 comments A compelling read, although I don't classify it as a re-read. Perhaps after I've read more Gaiman, I'll be interested in going back to it. Interesting concepts throughout.

Sunshine✰✰✰ | 318 comments Wow. I feel this book went way over my head. Like some of the other comments above, I started this book once before but couldn't get into it, and if it wasn't for this challenge, it would probably still just be sitting on my shelf.

I love the new gods. They're not the way we think of traditional gods, not personified, but I get it. We do worship them.

Can anyone explain to me why, at the end of the book, the buffalo guy and Whiskey Jack turned and walked away from Shadow disappointed? Was it because he didn't die (again) or because they knew he wouldn't kill Hinzelmann?

What about the Odin god in Ireland? Was that saying that gods can't really die and that Wednesday was really just another different reincarnation of Odin and now that he's dead a new one pops up?? Or, now that I'm thinking about it, Wednesday was just the American version and this guy was the Icelandic version, since people migrated all over, not just to America.

message 18: by Sugar Snap (new)

Sugar Snap (jusamy) | 168 comments So, I just completed American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

I went into this with high expectations...especially since Stephen King had a blurb on the front and he's my all time favorite writer. I also have needed to find a new fantasy writer, since George RR Martin likes to take his sweet time and I have that itch...

So, I read American Gods, which had been on my TBR for a while, and when it was a Group Read...I though what better time???

I liked this book's premise...a lot. The idea behind the story is fresh, fun and exciting. The writing was better than good, but not great. I liked Shadow. He was a dynamic character that had many likeable traits. The ending was good...I liked how everything was wrapped up, nice and neat. I liked the whole "not everybody or everything is always as they seem" theme; ie Hinzelmann and Wednesday.

Some of this book just fell flat for me, and it could be because I had such high expectations. I wasn't THERE, and that's the mark of a really good book in my opinion. Can it transport me? Can I put myself in Shadow's shoes and join his journey? The answer, mostly, was no. I was more like an omnipresent out of body character watching events unfold...which maybe was on purpose? I mean, the whole story is about Gods...maybe Gaiman wanted me to feel like one? Except for the control part.
This was a good book...I liked it.

message 19: by Marie-Anne (new)

Marie-Anne | 667 comments I was not sure I would be able to finish before the end of the winter challenge, but once I started reading it, I could not put it down. I enjoyed it tremendously. Familiar and totally unexpected twists and turns, all flowing fluidly and logically from what comes before. It was magical ... realism.

I have read books like this before, that I loved from the beginning. But nearly always, they disappointed somewhat, somewhere, by the end. This one did not do that.

I loved it, and now that I finished it, I feel I need to think about it, ruminate and digest it some more.

This was the first book I've read by this author, although his works have been recommended to me for a while now. I'm putting another one of his books on my to-be-read-next shelf immediately.

message 20: by Carla (new)

Carla Ruffer (hpaddict) | 118 comments I read this book for our book club. It was the first in a series of Neil Gaiman books we are discussing. I was a little disappointed. There were a lot of plot holes, and he seemed to focus more on the characters than the story. I liked the premise, but the execution didn't match up.

message 21: by Michael (new)

Michael Mcdaid | 163 comments I couldn't get into the story and the characters I was so emotionally detached from. After close to 200 pages it was time to give up for me. I have other books I want to read more.

message 22: by Alison (new)

Alison | 186 comments This was a disappointment for me. I love Gaiman and the two of his books that I read for the Fall challenge were among my favourites. But this one fell flat for me. I really wanted to love it but in the end it really dragged for me.

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