Wednesday, October 12, 2011


It's been awhile since I posted here and it's basically because I bit
off more than I can chew when I said my next post would be a book
review of Patrick Rothfuss' The Wise Man's Fear. To paraphrase,
reading is easy but reviewing is hard. I might give it a shot again
later with a less massive book.

Meanwhile, a discussion over on Facebook by Stacy Jones about
Neil Gaiman gave me an idea for some other posts here. I happened
to mention that I had a copy of  Neverwhere that Mr Gaiman had
signed for me when he did an appearance at the Lauriat Bookstore
I worked at in the Taunton Silver City Galleria Mall back in 1997.
Stacy said she'd like to see a picture of it so I found that and another
of Mr Gaiman's books in my collection, took the pictures and posted
them in an album on Facebook I called Autographed Books and Other
Treasures. It occurred to me thatI could post a series here about the
books I own that were autographed and include what memories I have
about the author and the signing.

So here's the first, and it is indeed about Neverwhere,

I was assistant manager of the store at the time and the resident science
fiction and fantasy fan on the staff. I was pretty psyched up over this
since Mr Gaiman was already very well known for his Sandman graphic
novels and I knew we would have a good turnout for the event. My
only problem was water. The publicist had mentioned that Neil liked a
certain brand of flavored bottle water and I must have stopped at five
different stores between Abington and Taunton on my way to the store
that day trying to find some but without success. But miraculously a
restaurant on the lower level of the mall had some in stock so I was
able to relax.

We had a line already formed in the store when a man in a black leather
jacket approached me and said he was there for the signing. I'd never
seen Neil Gaiman before so I at first thought he was another fan but
then I realized who he was and the event began. Neil was a real
gentleman, staying until all the fans books and graphic novels were
signed, even when five or six of them dove under the store's gate as
it was coming down for closing time.He also signed a copy of
Neverwhere for me and the cardboard sign for the event.(He used
a pen with gold ink to write"Mind the Cracks!" on the sign.. I had
the sign for years and then sadly lost it during the move here to my
new apartment last year). It was a very successful event.

I have another book of Mr Gaiman's in my collection that it is not signed but
falls under the listing of "treasure". Publishers send out Advanced Readers'
Copies of books for reading by reviewers and booksellers, although some
now are switching over to digital versions now. Usually these are addressed to
the manager of the store and they pass them on to the staff. When I was at
Borders there were several of us who were avid sf and fantasy readers so I wasn't
as lucky getting ARCs as when I was at Lauriat's. But I happened to be eating
lunch in the breakroom when my manager asked me if I liked Neil Gaiman and
gave me this very nice boxed paperback ARC of Gaiman's Stardust:

It looked so nice I didn't want to ruin it, so I read another copy of the book!

I 'll be blogging about other signed editions. Thanks, Stacy, for the inspiration!