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The Pajiba Book Club Announces "The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman

By Yossarian | Books | March 23, 2010 |

By Yossarian | Books | March 23, 2010 |

To everyone who participated in the first meeting of the Pajiba Book Club: Thank you! It was a great discussion of Lolita with a lot of different perspectives and exceeded all of our expectations. To everyone who liked the idea but decided to wait until next time: it’s next time. The Pajiba Book Club will be reading The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman with the official review & discussion to be posted on March 30th (that’s next Tuesday).

The story is loosely based on Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book with the orphaned boy being raised by ghosts and ghouls in a graveyard instead of wild animals in the jungle. And while a superficial consideration of The Graveyard Book might be inclined to think it is just a children’s fantasy book careful readers will notice a lot more going on here. Gaiman has created a novel that is simple enough to be read and understood by young readers but rich and complex enough to sustain serious fiction readers as well. The different characters that populate the story and the portrayals of the human world and the graveyard world are sure to trigger some deep discussions. I think it is one of those books that you get out of it what you put into it, and multiple readings (or book club discussions) will reveal different aspects and prove this a worthy selection for the group. If you’ve never read Neil Gaiman you really should.

You can expect a world rich with allusions to other classic fantasy works and evoking a deep and detailed mythology to support the characters and actions that take place. Familiarity with Gaiman, Kipling, and other sources will be a key to appreciating this book so I encourage readers to make these connections. You should feel free to discuss some of the common themes this shares with other Gaiman novels and his overall style as an author/ artist. And since this should prove to be a relatively easy read, especially after Nabokov, those of you who want to get really ambitious can read The Jungle Book by Kipling as well. I think comparing the two in the book club will benefit the discussion for everyone, even people who only know the Disney version of Kipling (and if you have never read the poetry and prose of Rudyard Kipling you really should do that, too).

One last order of business: I feel guilty for holding things up by not getting to this announcement/ preview earlier. In order to keep the Pajiba Book Club running at a smooth and steady pace I want to set the schedule for the next couple months so you can plan accordingly. In April we will be reading The Blind Assassin by Margret Atwood (with special guest host and winner of Cannonball Read II Jen K) . In May we will be reading A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments by David Foster Wallace. Future selections will be discussed on the Cannonball Read facebook page but I will try to have them scheduled out at least a month or two in advance so people can accommodate their reading & library activity.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.