Stories of Books: Instructions by Neil Gaiman

I am in the middle the 7 Book Cover Challenge: posting covers of books I love without comment. I think my postings may be a little eclectic: I took the word LOVE to heart and looked across my getting-close-to six decades of reading.

But, I find it frustrating not to be able to tell the stories of these books: how I found them, why I love them, what makes them unique. I read a lot–100 books last year–but these stood out as books I might return to again and again, something I rarely do, or books that helped me understand other people, or just books that make me smile or remind me of a simpler time.

For today, I want you to go read the poem that inspired the children’s book Instructions. Neil Gaiman partnered with illustrator Charles Vess to create the manual for life’s adventures. You can read the poem at the now archived Journal of Mythic Arts. It is just lovely with lessons of empathy woven through its words. Vess’s illustrations in the book play on the fairy tale theme of the hero’s journey.

You can also listen the Gaiman reading the poem with images from the book:

If you aren’t familiar with Gaiman, you should be! He ranks right up there as one of my favorite authors. After I watched the video above, the next one was the link to Gaiman reading The Graveyard Book, a scary ghost story where the ghosts are friendly and the living are evil. I do love that book, but I don’t want to just post books from one author.

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