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 imagination that informs his bestselling fiction. Now, The View from the Cheap Seats brings together for the first time ever more than sixty pieces of his outstanding nonfiction. Analytical yet playful, erudite yet accessible, this cornucopia explores a broad range of interests and topics, including (but not limited to): authors past and present; music; storytelling; comics; bookshops; travel; fairy tales; America; inspiration; libraries; ghosts; and the title piece, at turns touching and self-deprecating, which recounts the author’s experiences at the 2010 Academy Awards in Hollywood.
Insightful, incisive, witty, and wise, The View from the Cheap Seats explores the issues and subjects that matter most to Neil Gaiman—offering a glimpse into the head and heart of one of the most acclaimed, beloved, and influential artists of our time.
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About the Author
Neil Gaiman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty books, including Norse Mythology, Neverwhere, and The Graveyard Book. Among his numerous literary awards are the Newbery and Carnegie medals, and the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, and Will Eisner awards. Originally from England, he now lives in America.
Date of Birth:November 10, 1960
Place of Birth:Portchester, England
Education:Attended Ardingly College Junior School, 1970-74, and Whitgift School, 1974-77
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reading ‘The View from the Cheap Seats’ is like getting to pick Neil Gaiman’s brain without breaking into his house in the middle of the night to ask him some questions. It’s getting to know the author behind many of my favourite works without the restraining order, and for that I loved it. I loved the things he had to say, I loved the recommendations for authors that this book is laden with – because that’s how he talks about the things he loves, with a fervor and an accessible sort of passion that makes it clear that this is a book worth reading because of what it can say about the world. He has important and interesting things to say on books – sci fi, historical fiction, fantasy, children’s books – he has a phenomenal essay in there about the Syrian Refugee crisis, and his time in a refugee camp – Gaiman has a great many things to say on music and comics and his time creating cinema [the essays on MirrorMask with Dave McKean are particularly eye opening for fans of the film] but even all of that comes as a sort of secondary point to this book. The main take away, especially for fans of Gaiman’s work, is that it’s the ‘pay no attention to the man behind the curtain’ kind of moment. I’ve read so much of his short fiction, his novels, his screenplays, television episodes, children’s books, his graphic novels [seriously what hasn’t he done at this point??] that finally getting a collected work of his ‘non-fiction’ – his speeches from different awards shows over the years, his introductions to books that affected him throughout his life, his essays about hanging out with Stephen King- felt almost too personal at points. It was a look at him we don’t get to see really, the veil of fictions lifted, and a humble man standing on the other side, just talking to you about things he cares about, and it never comes off as preachy or condescending, it simply Is. We spend so much time with authors when we read, but how well do we really know them, how much of their work is influenced by their own lives and experiences, and where do those parallels start and end? This is a great – ‘book’ might not be entirely right, but collection sort of works – collection of things that matter to Gaiman, and I’d urge any fan of his work to give it a read.
I love just about everything this man writes and this is the first non-fiction that I have read of his. I got the book from the library first and found it to be a treasure and not something I could read cover to cover but taking a essay every couple of days. Ended up buying it as this is something I can read more than once and find nuggets of gold. Highly recommend as it is thought provoking and this collection is not to be missed.
The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman is a very highly recommended collection of various nonfiction speeches, essays, and introductions. Gaiman organizes the various sixty nonfiction pieces into ten categories including: Some Things I Believe; Some People I Have Known; Introductions and Musings: Science Fiction; Films and Movies and Me; On Comics and Some of the People Who Make Them; Introductions and Contradictions; Music and the People Who Make It; On Stardust and Fairy Tales: Make Good Art; The View From the Cheap Seats: Real Things. For anyone who has never read any of Gaiman's nonfiction pieces before this, you are in for a real treat should you pick up The View from the Cheap Seats. Gaiman shines here on many far reaching subjects and the plethora of material in these selected pieces should cover the interests of and appeal to a wide variety of people. There are some recurring themes that will resonate especially with readers, artists of all types, and those interested in literacy and the arts. Most people already know Gaiman is an incredible writer. This collection expands that well deserved adoration to his nonfiction pieces. I predict readers will find themselves checking back and rereading some of these pieces over the years, which is a recommendation in itself. I especially love several pieces included in this collection. The 2013 Reading Agency Lecture had several paragraphs I flagged on children, the importance of reading and how well meaning adults can easily destroy a child's love of reading: "You don't discourage children from reading because you feel they are reading the wrong thing." If you are at all involved with libraries, or education you're going to love the first section on some things Gaiman believes. He is a champion of voracious readers everywhere, of every age. I don't personally read comics or graphic novels, but I have nothing against them. Obviously Gaiman is a huge fan and that section is quite interesting for someone like me. I loved just a little but essential piece of advice found in a speech given at PROCON in 1997: "It took me longer to learn that you can say no. And it's an easy thing to say. It helps you define your boundaries." Yes! But difficult. It's this: There is room for things to mean more than they literally mean." Wow! What a concept that people need to embrace. A story may mean one thing on the surface, but underneath there are layers that will surface for the right reader. From the 2004 Harvey Awards Speech, which is a variation on his "Make Good Art "speech, I liked this advice: "Make Mistakes. Make great mistakes, make wonderful mistakes, make glorious mistakes. Better to make a hundred mistakes than to stare at a blank piece of paper too scared to do anything wrong, too scared to do anything." Gaiman's Make Good Art commencement speech from the University of the Arts in 2012 is glorious and should be viewed by anyone who is involved in any of the arts. Millions have viewed the video. "Make good art. I'm serious. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Someone on the Internet thinks what youdo is stupid or evil or it's all been done before? Make good art." Get this collection. You will never regret it. Disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of this book from the publisher and TLC for review purposes.
You can tell how much Neil Gaiman loves reading and you can't help but love the things that he loves. Unfortunately for me, that means that I've spent a bunch of money on all those books he recommends. However, this book has made me immensely happy as I can get an "Evenings with Neil Gaiman" for the price of a book. (Interesting given the "Information Doesn't Want to Be Free" introduction.)