gaiman

With numerous book awards, best-selling comics, and multiple screenwriting credits under his belt, Neil Gaiman is one of the most widely recognized writers still living. You may be familiar with his Newbery-award winning THE GRAVEYARD BOOK, or the beloved STARDUST and CORALINE novels. Some may also be familiar with his SANDMAN comics or even his work with Terry Pratchett on GOOD OMENS.

But this prolific author has many wonderful works that often go unnoticed. Here are a few of Neil Gaiman’s hidden gems. 

2.14 InstructionsINSTRUCTIONS
By Neil Gaiman
Illustrated by Charles Vess
(2010)

A fun parody of literary tropes and cliches, walk through this fairy tale with detailed “instructions” on how to get a happily ever after. 

 

2.14 A Study in EmeraldA STUDY IN EMERALD
By Neil Gaiman
(2003)

One of Gaiman’s oddest short stories, it combines the fantastical monsters of H.P. Lovecraft with the logical world of Sherlock Holmes. Solve the murder of a Victorian “gentleman” in a London ruled by something other than human. 

 

2.14 Norse MythologyNORSE MYTHOLOGY
By Neil Gaiman
Read by Neil Gaiman
(2017)

I particularly recommend the audiobook version of this collection of myths. While Gaiman reads, he is able to add humor and personality into familiar heros (and villains), like Thor, Odin and Loki. 

 

2.14 The Books of MagicTHE BOOKS OF MAGIC
By Neil Gaiman (along with John Ney Rieber and Peter Gross)
Illustrated by John Bolton (along with Scott Hampton, Charles Vess, Paul Johnson, Peter Gross and Jason Temujin Minor)
(1993)

An often overlooked addition to Gaiman’s bibliography, this book introduces characters both from superhero comics and Gaiman’s own SANDMAN series. An interesting look at magic, fantasy and growing up. (And the art is great too.) 

 

2.14 Unnatural CreaturesUNNATURAL CREATURES
By Neil Gaiman
(2013)

Unlike the others on this list, Neil Gaiman is mainly the curator (rather the author) of these short stories. They represent a wide range of fantasy authors, from new authors to classics, including (of course) one of Neil Gaiman’s own stories. 

 

crazy rich asians

CRAZY RICH ASIANS took the world by storm this summer. It was the first movie from a major studio in 25 years to have an all Asian main cast. While just one in a long line of book-to-movie adaptations, Crazy Rich Asians has become popular mainly due to its portrayal of the lifestyles of the extremely rich and its depictions of family drama. The entire series is extremely addicting, so here are five other books that may fill that “crazy rich” hole in your heart. 

2.11 The NestTHE NEST
By Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
(2016) 

The Plumb siblings have been watching the trust fund that their father left them soar in value. What was originally meant as a modest mid-life supplement has now become something that the siblings are counting on to solve multiple self-inflicted problems. When their trust fund is endangered, the siblings must come together to make sure the futures they’ve envisioned stay intact. 

 

2.11 Family TrustFAMILY TRUST
By Kathy Wang
(2018)  

Stanley Huang has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. For years he’s been telling his family that he’s worth a small fortune. Stanley’s son, daughter, and first and second wives are all interested in how much he’s worth for various reasons, and with this diagnosis, it looks the details of his estate are finally about to be revealed. 

 

2.11 What We Were PromisedWHAT WE WERE PROMISED
By Lucy Tan
(2018) 

After spending some time in America, the Zhen family has moved back to China. As they settle into their luxurious apartment in Shanghai, they also join an elite community of Chinese-born, Western-educated professionals. Each member of the Zhen family struggles with aspects of their new life and what they’ve left behind.

 

2.11 Wangs vs. the WorldTHE WANGS VS. THE WORLD
By Jade Chang
(2016)

The Wangs used to have it all, but then the financial crisis hit and they lost everything. The father, Charles Wang, wants to start over in China in an attempt to reclaim his family’s ancestral lands—and his pride. His family, however, are proving to be less than cooperative. 

 

2.11 Sarong Party GirlsSARONG PARTY GIRLS
By Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan
(2016) 

Brand-obsessed Jazzy is determined to find herself and her best girlfriends husbands by the end of the year. And not just any husbands, rich ang moh or Western expats. As she pursues her quest to find a white husband, Jazzy faces the troubling incongruity of new money and old-world attitudes as well as gender politics and class tensions.

 

 Funny Television

There are a lot of good reasons to read, and many of them are important reasons: it develops empathy, it encourages creativity, it makes you a more informed and thoughtful citizen, it reduces stress, it builds your critical thinking skills, etc. All of that is wonderful, but there's another, often ignored reason why reading a lot is great - it makes pop culture more fun.

Once you start watching for them, you'll notice literary references all over the place, and one of my favorite feelings is watching a sitcom and catching a joke I would have missed if I hadn't read a particular book recently. These are just a few of my favorite bookish jokes from recent TV shows.

NEW GIRL (Episode 1.21 "Kids")

Referencing: BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA
By Katherine Paterson
(1977)

Jess's day bonding with her boyfriend's daughter is ruined thanks to Nick.

 New Girl 2

 
 

PARKS AND RECREATION (Episode 6.8 "Flouride")

Referencing: MOBY DICK
By Herman Melville
(1851)

Chris reads too much into Ron's woodworking lesson.

 
 

BROOKLYN 99 (Episode 1.15 "Operation: Broken Feather")

Referencing: OTHELLO
By William Shakespeare
(1622)

Amy reveals that she's considering a job in another precint, and Jake feels betrayed.

Brooklyn 99

 
 

HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER (Episode 7.3 “Ducky Tie”)

Referencing: THE MILLENNIUM TRILOGY
By Stieg Larsson
(2008 - 2010)

Ted: Oh, guess who I ran into. A girl from my past. Any guesses?

Lily: Stella.

Barney: Zoey

Marshall: Karen?

Lily: The girl who beat you up.

Barney: The girl who ruined a photo with Slash!

Marshall: The girl who made you get the butterfly tattoo?

Ted: You make it sound like I've dated a series of Stieg Larsson novels.

 
 

THE MINDY PROJECT (Episode 1.4 "Halloween)

Referencing: TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY
By John Le Carré
(1974)

Hoping to impress her new boyfriend, Mindy dresses in a series of punny Halloween costumes.

Tinkerbell

Tinkerbell Tailor Soldier Spy  
 
 

Referencing: HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE
By J.K. Rowling
(1997)

Dirty Harry Potter

Dirty Harry Potter
  

Referencing: LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE
By Laura Ingalls Wilder
(1935)

Lil Wayne on the Prairie

 Lil' Wayne on the Prairie 
 

THE GOOD PLACE (Episode 1.3 "Tahani Al-Jamil")

Referencing: The works of Plato and Aristotle

Chidi spends weeks trying to teach Eleanor the history of philosophy, hoping that an understanding of ethics will help her keep her spot in The Good Place. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be sinking in.

Plato

 

GILMORE GIRLS (Episode 4.22 "Raincoats and Recipes")

Referencing: THE LORD OF THE RINGS
By J.R.R. Tolkien
(1954)

Lorelai’s not sure if her “will-they-won’t they” relationship with Luke has actually turned into something after he’s asked her to a movie and to his sister’s wedding.

Bonus joke: In Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, Rory has taken on running the Star's Hollow Gazette only to find the staff aren't especially efficient. When Ethel refuses to answer the phone because she's busy with paperwork, Rory replies: “I don’t want to say you’ve been filing that same piece of paper for a long time, but when you started, Nora Ephron felt good about her neck.”

 
 

FRIENDS (Episode 3.13 "The One Where Monica and Richard are Just Friends")

Referencing: LITTLE WOMEN
By Louisa May Alcott
(1868)

Referencing: THE SHINING
By Stephen King
(1977)

After Rachel finds Joey's copy of THE SHINING in the freezer (where he puts it when things get too scary), they agree to swap favorite books. She'll read THE SHINING if he'll read LITTLE WOMEN.

Scary Little

 
 

Things are going great until Joey accidentally reveals major spoilers.

Friends

 
 
Once again, things get a little too scary.

 

UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT (Episode 1.11 "Kimmy Rides a Bike!"

Referencing: THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN
By Michael Crichton
(1969)

"Reverend" Richard Wayne Gary Wayne unexpectedly wins over the jury while on trial for Kimmy's kidnapping.

Good Book

 
 

teacup books

It was my thirteenth birthday. The present from my grandmother was heavy and thick; it felt like a book. My favorite. I knew that it was going to be something important and special. Something that would change my life. I ripped open the wrapping paper. And there it was. LITTLE WOMEN. I opened it immediately and started to read. I have no memory of the rest of the party, or even the day. I just remember being in Concord, Massachusetts with Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy.  

Few other books have molded my childhood like this one did. I immediately saw myself in Jo. I wanted to be a writer like she did. Like Jo, I got frustrated at the unfairness in the world. And also like Jo, I loved my family deeply. If Jo, despite everything, could achieve her dreams,  then so would I. She was the reason I came to love books so much, why I would become an English major. She was why I would teach and eventually become a librarian.  

And I’m not the only one who has been influenced by Little Women and especially by Jo. Writer and director of SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE, YOU'VE GOT MAIL, and JULIE AND JULIA, Nora Ephron and her sister Delia grew up reading the book and taking turns playing Jo. Stephanie Meyer cites it as one of her earliest inspirations to become a writer. And the list goes on of women who were particularly inspired to write because of reading this book: Cynthia Ozik, Barbara Kingsolver, Jane Smiley, Anne Tyler, Mary Gordon, Margaret Atwood, and Jhumpa Lahiri are just a few.  

What is it that makes this book published in 1868-1869, 150 years ago, resonate with girls and women in the 21st century? Maybe it is the strong female characters that each must face her own challenges growing up. Maybe it is portrayal of sisterhood during war and hard economic times that speaks to our modern sensibilities. Whatever it is seems to touch our hearts and makes us long to be better and to be more.  

Is it time for you to discover or rediscover this classic? For all things Little Women, check out these offerings from our catalog. 

2.6 Little WomenTHE ANNOTATED LITTLE WOMEN
By Louisa May Alcott
Edited by John Matteson
(2015)

Pulitzer Prize-winning Alcott biographer John Matteson illuminates the world of Little Women and its author.

 

2.6 Meg Jo Beth and AmyMEG, JO, BETH, AMY: THE STORY OF LITTLE WOMEN AND WHY IT STILL MATTERS
By  Anne Boyd Rioux
(2018)

In Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, Rioux recounts how Louisa May Alcott came to write Little Women, drawing inspiration for it from her own life. Rioux also examines why this tale of family and community ties, set while the Civil War tore America apart, has resonated through later wars, the Depression, and times of changing opportunities for women. 

 

2.6 Little Women DVDLITTLE WOMEN
Directed by Gillian Armstrong
(1994)

A beloved film adaptation starring Winona Ryder, Kirsten Dunst, Claire Danes, Christian Bale, and Susan Sarandon.

 

2.6 Little Women 2018LITTLE WOMEN
Directed by Clare Niederpruem
(2018)

A modern retelling of Louisa May Alcott's novel. The story details to the passage from childhood to womanhood of Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy who are all sisters. Despite hard times, they cling to optimism. As they mature they face blossoming ambitions and relationships, as well as tragedy, while maintaining their unbreakable bond as sisters.   

 

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