1. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    WF Book Club November Selection: American Gods

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by thirdwind, Oct 19, 2010.

    The book we're going to read for November is American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I started this thread a little early just to remind people that this is a fairly long book, and those wishing to participate should get a copy and begin reading ASAP.
     
  2. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    For those who are keen to particpate but know nothing of the author, the first chapter of this is fully available at the guardian.co.uk.
     
  3. Speedy
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    Speedy Contributing Member Contributor

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    I just read this a few months ago. ;)

    The version i have though is the, Authors Preferred Text edition.
     
  4. Kratos
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    Kratos Contributing Member

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    One of my all time favorites :D
     
  5. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    One of the fantasy genres masterpieces
     
  6. Speedy
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    Speedy Contributing Member Contributor

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    It definitely beats most of the crap that floods the market.

    I do love his style and the underlining theme. it's refreshing.
     
  7. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm on the author's preferred text too - only about a quarter of the way though as it's 640 pages long. I aim to get it read this week though. So far I like how it's not too explicit in its intent. Those that know of the old world Gods can find humour in their pseudo-cryptic allusions, those that don't aren't missing all that much, caught up instead in the same bemusement as Shadow himself. More to follow as it develops ...
     
  8. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    What's the difference between the author's preferred text version and the normal version?
     
  9. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Not to be facetious, but about 12,000 words of text that is not present in the mass market edition. The longer "preferred" edition is published by Headline in the U.K.
     
  10. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    OMG! Need to read that edition.
     
  11. Speedy
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    Speedy Contributing Member Contributor

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    Apperently an extra 40 pages (12k) of content. Never read the original edition.

    Probably little tidbits and so fourth.


    Edit - Beaten
     
  12. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I have the normal edition, so I was just wondering if I'm missing anything important (I'm guessing not). Maybe once I've read the normal edition, I'll read the longer one just out of curiosity.
     
  13. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Apparently the preferred text is "the version of which I'm (Gaiman) most proud." As Speedy says, it's approx 12k words longer and is a composite edit of changes made "for the better" when the original trimming took place as well as containing the extra material found in the original version.
     
  14. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Half way through. He meanders somewhat that's for sure. I can see why the original text was trimmed for mass release. How it all ties together yet I'm not sure, but there does seem certain anecdotes and passages which are in the "unnecessary" camp (the whole story of Essie Tregowan and her coming to America) - though I guess I'll have to reserve full judgement until the end when they may become vital.
     
  15. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I started reading the normal version today. I'm a few chapters in, and so far it seems promising. I've actually never read Gaiman before (although I had been meaning to for quite some time), so I'm eager to see the themes and subjects he tackles in this novel.
     
  16. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    At over half way I'm wondering how symbolic this book is? I'm gonna guess at quite. I haven't pieced all the allusions together but this idyllic, if deep-frozen Lakeside town must be comparable with, say, the Elysian fields (limbo) or something. I'll have to read up, just like Shadow does in the library.

    Oh, and I quite like that I haven't yet sussed what his involvement actually is - though I may be being dense.
     
  17. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    The book is definitely very symbolic. I had to look up a few things to really understand some of the allusions.

    One complaint I have with this book is that it's too wordy in some places. I haven't read any of Gaiman's other novels, so I can't say if this is just a one time thing or if all his novels are like this.

    Anyways, time to get back to reading.
     
  18. hiddennovelist
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    hiddennovelist Contributing Member Contributor

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    I was wondering if this was something that happens across his works or just in this book, since I've never read anything of his before. Ah, well...wordiness aside, it's a great book. I'm trying to hard to finish it so I can participate in discussion!
     
  19. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm starting to concede on these "coming to America" passages. They are enjoyable, informative stories within in a story that literally show how the Gods, by way of their believers, came to America. It shows the melting-mentality and how some of the old world Gods became obselete. They seem good examples of backstory - we're not being dumped on by potted history, rather shown a pertinent time relating to author's present day. Nice literary touch I think.
     
  20. Speedy
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    The only thing that annoyed me were the passages of Shadow playing coin tricks. But, i guess tricks are pretty important with this book.

    I guess i should one day pick up, Anansi Boys and see how some of the characters are doing...
     
  21. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I myself am to the part where Wednesday has absconded Shadow in that little northern tundra town. Can't remember the name at the moment. He has just had "the dream" that seems to be irritating some and intriguing others. This part is dragging a bit. I'm trying to push my way through.

    I also went on a scout for the different gods as they are represented in the book. Some were clear to me. I have a background in Russian studies, so the three sisters who are the stars, I knew. And Chernabog was known to me.

    It would seem obvious that Shadow himself is also a god.
     
  22. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Re: the spoiler Wrey, it seems obvious Shadow is of note - otherwise the focus would be elsewhere, that's for sure, but I like that we (at least I) don't know what, or who, he truly is yet.

    Re: the pacing. You mention the Lakeside part drags - and I think you'll agree other parts fly. Shadow lurches, in my mind understandably from thinking about proceedings (where perhaps it drags), to not - going with the flow instead (he's not paid to ask questions) and this is where it speeds up.

    EDIT: And if Lakeside is supposed to be somewhere like purgatory then it would make sense would it not to have the pacing drag there?
     
  23. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Ya' know, I had not thought of Lakeside as a purgatory. It makes sense, given the thematics.
     
  24. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I just finished the book. I have to say that I didn't really like the ending, although the book itself was good. It felt abrupt after reading such a lengthy novel. As I mentioned earlier, some parts tended to suffer from wordiness. This happened mostly when the pacing slowed down. But there were also parts that I thought were quite well written.

    I can say for sure that having a thorough knowledge of the various mythology that Gaiman alludes to would have helped me understand and enjoy the book a lot more. I might go back and read the author's preferred version once I've gained a better understanding of all the gods mentioned in the book.
     
  25. hiddennovelist
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    I just got to the Lakeside part, so now I'm very intrigued to read it.
     

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