Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Favorite Companion Books

This week's review book, Beautiful Boy by David Sheff, serves as a companion book to one we've reviewed before (Tweak by Nic Sheff, David's son). So we're picking our favorite companion books!

(Show of hands: who's suprised?) Mine is Endless Nights by Neil Gaiman, a companion to the Sandman series.

The Endless are seven embodied concepts who have been around longer than anything else and will be around longer than anything else: Death, Dream, Destruction, Destiny, Desire, Despair, and Delirium (formerly Delight). Dream is the "Sandman" and is therefore central to the series, but his siblings all appear at one point or another. This book gives each sibling his or her own story, each depicted by a different illustrator.

Each story is very different. The first three stories are linear, and drawn like normal graphic novel stories. Death's story is about a palace stuck in time. Desire's story is about a woman who kicked major butt, in my personal opinion. Dream's is about how he meets Killalla of the Glow (and, later, Sol). Then Despair's story is a collection of "portraits" of who and what Despair is to different individuals. Delirium comes next, with a partially linear, partially disjointed story with a structure that perfectly embodies her. Destruction is after that, and we're back to the linear, traditional style. And Destiny comes last, with less of a story and more of an explanation of who he is and what he does.

It's beautiful, it's amazing, it adds to Sandman without changing anything about it, and it's the one book I took with me when I went to hear Neil Gaiman speak (in hopes of getting it signed).

By this point in the blog, there should be very little surprise about our favorites.  I mean, after close to a year (I KNOW!!  ALMOST A YEAR!!), you've seen, at minimum, posts about our favorites once a week.  So when I tell you Flirtin' With the Monster is my most favorite book companion, well, you must be new if you're shocked.

The book is, obviously, a companion book to Crank and Glass.  It contains short essays about the books but, here's the kicker, it's not just writers.  There's a court judge, explaining how much of an effect the books have on his rulings, also a councilor, along with, of course, other writers.

But the best part?  Ellen Hopkins writes an essay about her experiences with her daughter... and so does "Kristina's" step-father, sister and son.  Even "Kristina" chimes in and tells you things from her point of view.  It's incredible and heartbreaking and just so incredibly amazing to get such a behind the scenes view at something that is so near and dear to the author's heart.

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