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Discussion Archives > February 2014: American Gods

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message 1: by Rachel Jorquera , Moderator (new)

Rachel Jorquera  (racheljorquera) | 2992 comments Mod
Discussion starts here!


message 2: by Julia (last edited Feb 06, 2014 03:07PM) (new)

Julia (juliastrimer) Thanks, Rachel--this is my favorite of Gaiman's books, maybe because I loved teaching mythology so much.

This just came out on February 4th in the Guardian:

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014...

Neil Gaiman's American Gods and Anansi Boys will be adapted for TV

Two Neil Gaiman books are to hit the small screen at last – his 2001 novel American Gods and the sort-of follow-up Anansi Boys.

Gaiman confirmed on his journal that American Gods – which up to last November was due to be adapted by the American TV cable company HBO – was now in the hands of FremantleMedia's North American arm, while Anansi Boys will be made by acclaimed UK production company Red.

American Gods won a string of awards including the Hugo, the Nebula and Bram Stoker. It follows ex-con Shadow as he discovers incarnations of ancient gods from pantheons of the Norse, Greek, African and more locked in a power-struggle in the modern-day United States.

Gaiman says: "As to where you will be able to see it, who is going to be in it, who will be writing or show-running, none of these things have yet been settled. But it already looks like it's going to be a smoother run developing it than it had at HBO, so I am very pleased."

He added of the failed HBO deal: "HBO had an option on American Gods for several years. It went through three different pilot scripts. HBO has a limited number of slots and, after a while, passed it to Cinemax, who are in the HBO family, who decided eventually they didn't want to do it, and the option expired, which unfortunately meant we couldn't work with Tom Hanks' production company Playtone any longer, as they are exclusive to HBO."

According to FremantleMedia, which announced the deal on Tuesday: "Gaiman, the creator of the celebrated Sandman comic series, and the author of bestselling novels The Graveyard Book, Coraline, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane, will executive produce the series along with FremantleMedia."


message 3: by Phrynne (new)

Phrynne Julia - we may have to agree to disagree over Donna Tartt but we surely have the same opinion of Neil Gaiman.


message 4: by Julia (new)

Julia (juliastrimer) Yes, it's great that there are SO many choices of books out there for different people to love :-)

Shadow Moon is one of my favorite characters ever, and I'm going to suggest that we all take a look at Gaiman's short story The Monarch of the Glen, which can be found in his collection Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders.

It happens a few years after the end of American Gods, so it's up to everyone whether you want to read it before, during, or after finishing the big book :-)


message 5: by Julia (last edited Feb 08, 2014 11:39AM) (new)

Julia (juliastrimer) I just found this good site with all the gods used in the book. The author of the site says that you should have finished the book, since spoilers may occur. http://www.frowl.org/gods/gods.html

Back on Nov. 23, 2002, Gaiman himself said this in his journal in reply to the person who wrote him:

Was on google looking for info. on Wisakedjak and found this great site: http://www.frowl.org/gods/. It's got a great (cross-referenced) section on all the gods mentioned in AG and some stuff on House on the Rock, too. She's done a huge job, and the last time I was there the hit count was truly pitiful. Could you announce it on the blog or something? I'm sure there are others out there who might need clarification on a certain god, and this helps

NEIL: "Easily done. What an excellent site. I'll put this up in the FAQ section as well...."


message 6: by Sheena (new)

Sheena Davis (sheenad) | 121 comments Comments from the first couple chapters ...
I really enjoyed the first couple chapters. I thought the introductions to the Gods was very cleverly done.

Remembering some of the mythology studied years ago, the first mention of Mr. Wednesday made me think the gods in the book would be (view spoiler)


message 7: by Julia (last edited Feb 15, 2014 12:25PM) (new)

Julia (juliastrimer) Sometimes all I can do is write down the sections of this book that simply stun me; this is from the section called "Coming to America – 1778", an interlude after chapter 11. Gaiman weaves the story of the slave trade into this section with such power:

"There was a girl, and her uncle sold her. That is the tale; the rest is detail....

'No man', proclaimed Donne, 'is an Island,' and he was wrong. If we were not islands, we would be lost, drowned in each other’s tragedies. We are insulated (a word that means, literally, remember, made into an island) from the tragedy of others, by our island nature, and by the repetitive shape and form of the stories. The shape does not change: there was a human being who was born, lived, and then, by some means or another, died. There. You may fill in the details from your own experience. As unoriginal as any other tale, as unique as any other life. Lives are snowflakes – forming patterns we have seen before, as like on another as peas in a pod (and have you ever looked at peas in a pod? I mean, really looked at them? There’s not a chance you’d mistake one for another, after a minute’s close inspection), but still unique.

Without individuals we see only numbers: a thousand dead, a hundred thousand dead, “casualties may rise to a million.” With individual stories, the statistics become people – but even that is a lie, for the people continue to suffer in numbers that themselves are numbing and meaningless. Look, see the child’s swollen, swollen belly, and the flies that crawl at the corners of his eyes, his skeletal limbs: will it make it easier for you to know his name, his age, his dreams, his fear? To see him from the inside? And if it does, are we not doing a disservice to his sister, who lies in the searing dust beside him, a distorted, distended caricature of a human child? And there, if we feel for them, are they now more important to us than a thousand other children touched by the same famine, a thousand other young lives who will soon be food for the flies’ own myriad squirming children?

We draw our lines around these moments of pain, and remain upon our islands, and they cannot hurt us. They are covered with a smooth, safe, nacreous layer to let them slip, pearllike, from our souls without real pain.

Fiction allows us to slide into these other heads, these other places, and look out through their eyes. And then in the tale we stop before we die, or we die vicariously and unharmed, and in the world beyond the tale we turn the page or close the book, and we resume our lives.

A life that is, like any other, unlike any other.

And the simple truth is this: There was a girl and her uncle sold her.

“There are stories that are true, in which each individual's tale is unique and tragic, and the worst of the tragedy is that we have heard it before, and we cannot allow ourselves to feel it too deeply. We build a shell around it like an oyster dealing with a painful particle of grit, coating it with smooth pearl layers in order to cope. This is how we walk and talk and function, day in, day out, immune to others' pain and loss. If it were to touch us it would cripple us or make saints of us; but, for the most part, it does not touch us. We cannot allow it to.”" (bold mine)


message 8: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (ace_librarian) I REALLY want to read this, I just don't think I will have time this month. =( Too many completed series I need to get to, and SO MANY children's books.

But maybe this summer....=)


message 9: by Julia (new)

Julia (juliastrimer) Jennifer Leigh wrote: "I REALLY want to read this, I just don't think I will have time this month. =( Too many completed series I need to get to, and SO MANY children's books.

But maybe this summer....=)"


That's great, Jennifer--it's a book that is worth savoring :-) I'm noticing that in all four of my goodreads groups, one of the best things is learning about new books, even if I can't read them right away.


message 10: by ash (new)

ash (novellyrooted) Just started!


message 11: by Karen (new)

Karen GoatKeeper (goodreadscomkaren_goatkeeper) | 100 comments I am not reading this book but Julia's comment makes me think I want to. This take on "No man is an island" is very thought provoking. Thank you for sharing it.


message 12: by Julia (last edited Feb 15, 2014 12:29PM) (new)

Julia (juliastrimer) You're most welcome, Karen--it's nice to meet a fellow retired teacher. My field was high school English, so sentence structure matters a great deal to me. Sometimes Gaiman comes up with sections, like the one I posted above, that speak the words that are in my own heart.


message 13: by Sylvie (new)

Sylvie (frqs37) | 85 comments Strange yes, and interesting in its challenge: what does the New World believes into? But then I did not enjoy that novel that much The story line is not predictable and the writing is well written so I should have liked it better. So what was amiss? I think it's the melting pot of the gods and the incorrect mythology. Charon was crossing the Styx, not Ibis. So it bothered me and I thought we did not understand that well what each god was celebrated for. Can't say it's a bad book. You want to know what next happens, but can't say it's a good book neither that will stay in my mind. Like its gods it's called upon being forgotten.


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