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Read Neil Gaiman’s ‘American Gods’ For Worldwide ‘One Book, One Twitter’ Event
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The 2010 One Book, One Twitter event begins today, Wednesday, May 5. What’s that, you ask? Allow me to explain…

Back in March, Jeff Howe, author and contributor at Wired magazine, wondered “What if everyone on Twitter read the same book at the same time and we formed one massive, international book club?” So, over at Wired and through his Twitter account @crowdsourcing, Howe proposed the “One Book, One Twitter” reading event and the voting began to choose a book for the world to read.

In the lead for quite a while was Ray Bradbury’s classic Fahrenheit 451, but then up came Neil Gaiman‘s best-selling novel American Gods for the win. So, starting today, pick up your copy and read along with the world, then tweet about it.

If you want to read and tweet along over the next 8 weeks, make sure you follow @1b1t2010 and to add the hashtag #1b1t to your related tweets. A discussion schedule has been set up, so you can basically read at your own pace, but comment according to a set schedule to eliminate spoilers for those not on the same page as you.

According to Howe, the goal of “One Book, One Twitter” “is to get a zillion people all reading and talking about a single book. It is not, for instance, an attempt to gather a more selective crew of book lovers to read a series of books and meet at established times to discuss. The point of this (to the extent it has a point beyond good fun with a good book) is to create community across geographical, cultural, ethnic, economic and social boundaries.”

Meanwhile, Gaiman, wrote on his blog that he was “kind of thrilled” to be part of the event, the author had mixed feelings about American Gods being the book of his under consideration.

As an author, I’m half-pleased and half-not, mostly because American Gods is such a divisive sort of book. Some people love it, some sort of like it, and some people hate it. (As contrasted with, say, The Graveyard Book, which some people love, some like, and a statistically insignificant number of people hate.) It’s not a book I’d hand out to everyone, because the people who don’t know anything about what I’ve written and who hate it — who might have loved Stardust, or Neverwhere, or The Graveyard Book or Sandman — probably won’t go and look any further.

Being a best-seller and published in many different countries, it’s obvious that American Gods has a wide appeal, but it is very American… with a twist. The novel blends fantasy and mythology with modern-day American scenery, as its main character Shadow, an ex-convict, travels across the country as a bodyguard for his new boss Mr. Wednesday, a mysterious figure who fancies himself a god.

Gaiman wrote that he’d do his part to help the movement, including “sending helpful or apologetic tweets to people who are stuck, offended, or very, very confused” over the next few months.

Once you start reading American Gods, check out this site — frowl.org/gods — that Gaiman linked on his site, as it has lots of information about the mythology and geography referred to in the book.

I happen to love American Gods and have read it several times already, but I won’t say it’s a simple book to get through. It’s not your typical airport newsstand paperback, though I don’t think you’ll find it confusing either. You definitely won’t be bored with it, but you do have to pay attention – lots of stuff happens and there’s lots of meaning hidden within what might seem mundane.

If you can, definitely take the time to pick up the book and join the One Book, One Twitter movement. And, if you find that American Gods is not for you, don’t automatically give up on Gaiman entirely. He’s a versatile writer, so chances are you’ll enjoy one of his other works. If you’re not familiar with Neil Gaiman, check out our A Beginner’s Guide to Neil Gaiman.

2 Comments »

  1. American Gods was a pretty good book! Loved Neverwhere too.

    Comment by Paul — May 5, 2010 @ 10:26 am

  2. American Gods are an utterly fantastic book. I had no idea there even could be people that did not like the book. As great as Graveyard Book was, the ‘trilogy’ of American Gods, Anansi Boys and Neverwhere is my favorite semi-series of novels.

    This book is why I want to write a book.

    Comment by Andrew Littler — May 5, 2010 @ 1:44 pm

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