TLC Review: The View From the Cheap Seats

June 8, 2016 non-fiction 30

TLC Review: The View From the Cheap SeatsTitle: The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction
Author: Neil Gaiman
Source: TLC Book Tours
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: Brilliant! I loved every piece in this collection.

I keep trying Neil Gaiman’s books in hopes of finding one that I can rave about as much as it seems like everyone else is and this book was it! This probably shouldn’t surprise me though, because the second reason I keep trying Neil Gaiman’s books is because when I got the chance to hear him give a talk, he was fantastic. As the description says, this book covers topics that include: “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” (source). I’m happy to say I had fun reading about every one of these topics and all but two of the dozens of essays were easily enjoyed, whether or not I was familiar with the author, movie, book, comic, musician, etc that the essay was about.

Unfortunately, Neil Gaiman is one of those writers who is so good that I can’t see behind the curtain to tell you why it works. I know he’s quirky and funny, but can also tell a really moving story. I know he sounds passionate about books in person and tells stories in a really delightful way and that both of these things are there in his writing in this collection. I also know that he has a great collection of funny anecdotes and really knows how to surprise you with a delightful punchline.

In the brilliant essay in which he tries to work out what genres are (settling on a set of expectations we have for a book which would leave readers disappointed if they weren’t met), he mentions that a reader he met once described his writing “Gaimanesque” and that’s the best description I can give you of the writing in this book. The author is a genre of his own and he doesn’t disappoint.

The last thing I want to say about this wonderful collection is that it would have been even better as an audiobook. While I decided against devoting the time and money to reading it that way now, it’s definitely something I’ll do in the future and I highly recommend that you do so as well. If you don’t believe me, just check out the two talks from this book that I could find online, here and here. See what I mean? Neil Gaiman is an amazing speaker and I think the only thing that could have made this collection of essays better would be hearing him deliver every punchline, of the humorous or emotional variety, himself.

For some other perspectives, check out the other stops on the tour.

30 Responses to “TLC Review: The View From the Cheap Seats”

  1. Paul Cheney

    Great review Katie. Was fortunate to see him in London last week

  2. Katherine

    I’m with you on Neil Gaiman’s fiction. Of what I’ve read, most have been good, but they’ve never quite sparked the total blithering fangirl in me. But I really *want* to like his works more.

  3. Naomi

    I’ve felt the same way as you about his fiction, so maybe this is the one for me! I love the wide variety of topics.
    I never listen to audio books, but I will keep this one in mind. Maybe it’s one I can play in the car when the kids are with me.
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    • DoingDewey

      I definitely don’t think there was anything kid inappropriate and it’s a lot of short segments, so it could work well for that. I’d highly recommend it 🙂

  4. Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy

    I didn’t know he was coming out with some nonfiction essays! This sounds amazing – just to get Gaiman’s point of view on all these different topics. I’m definitely following your advice too, and trying the audiobook!
    Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy recently posted…Review: Warrior WitchMy Profile

    • DoingDewey

      Everything I’ve read of his has definitely been different about from anything else I’ve ever read! His writing is very unique.

  5. Heather J @ TLC Book Tours

    Gaiman is a fantastic narrator of his own books – I hope you get the chance to listen to the audiobook version of this one at some point!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.