A Paean for Gaiman or What I Learned Reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane

So Neil Gaiman has a new book coming out in June. It’s called The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

I mention this for those of you who live deep in the wilderness or high atop some craggy mountain. (I’m assuming you access my blog with the help of some sort of friendly pigeon, or by using a type of prana-bindu meditation.)

I assume everyone except a complete eremite knows this book is coming out. Because generally speaking, I’m pretty clueless, and I’ve known about it for over half a year.

That means for half a year I have *craved* this book. I have desired it with a sort of grim, white-knuckled intensity that is normally the purview of sociopaths and teenage boys.

The worst part was that I knew Advance Reading Copies existed somewhere, but I didn’t know who I could schmooze to get one. You see, I’m at that point in my career where I know how publishing works, but I’m not exactly sure if it’s entirely cool to… say… contact Neil’s publisher and just ask for an ARC.

Trapped between my powerful desires and my own uselessness, eventually I did the modern equivalent of crying out the name of my beloved to the unfeeling sky, which is to say that I whined about it on goodreads.

Surprisingly, this helped a bit. I got it off my chest and was able to move on with my life.

Then, months later, when I’d almost manged to forget about it, something arrived in the mail:

full book

And on the back cover….

Back coverWait. Wait for it….

It gives me a tingle

Y’know, I feel like I should try to be cool about this. I am a professional author after all, have been for years. That means in some odd way I’m a colleague of Gaiman’s. Part of me feels that, as a professional, I should feign some sort of nonchalance about getting this book.

But it’s just not true. I am the furthest thing from nonchalance. I am brim-full of chalance. Overflowing with it.

The truth is, when I opened the envelope and saw this book, my heart actually beat faster. I was filled with a giddy joy. For a couple days, I carried it around with me. I showed it to my friends, filling them with rage and despair.

The truth is, I’m not a grown up. Underneath all of this, I’m still the same kid who used to spend all his allowance at Waldenbooks.

The truth is, I love books. I love them beyond all reason and sense. I will not pretend otherwise, and I am not ashamed. I am a geek, and the thought of having a special book signed by one of my absolute favorite authors fills me with a ridiculous and disproportionate amount of joy.

So. I got the book. My fondest wish. My heart’s desire.

You know about the shape of stories. You know where things go after this. Now we gently slide into a sweet and simple ending, an easy ever-after. Right?

No. Oh no. If you think that then you’re forgetting who I am. You’re forgetting who Gaiman is too.

I lack the ability to write a simple story with a simple ending. (I am, even now, telling you a story about a story. I cannot help it.)

And Gaiman’s stories, while they may be sweet, are never merely sweet. And when his stories are simple, they are deceptively so.

So this is the place where the story takes a turn.

*     *     *

Once I had the book, I did not read it.

At first the reason was a simple one. I was in the middle of a book. I can’t stop a book halfway any more than you can stop a sneeze. Neither can I read two books at once. The very idea strikes me as being vaguely obscene.

So I finished the book I was reading.

But still I didn’t read The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

The problem this time was that I was busy, putting in 12-14 hour days. Then I was traveling and didn’t want to risk taking the book. When I returned, I was swamped again, desperately trying to catch up on the work I had missed.

Then I caught up a little bit. Not entirely, but enough to have some breathing room. Enough to read.

Still I didn’t read the book.

Through all of this, the book sat on my desk where I could see it. It was nice having it there. Looking at it made me happy. Sometimes I would reach out and touch it a little bit. Occasionally I would pick it up and turn it over in my hands a little.

Then I would put it back down, unopened and unread.

I didn’t think much about it at first. After all, I was still busy. I would wait until I had enough time to relax and enjoy it….

So it continued to sit by my computer. I would reach out and touch it. Its presence comforted me.

Then, after a couple of days, something occurred to me. This is addict behavior. This is exactly how an experienced drug addict with good coping mechanisms treats their stash. Those of you who have had junkie friends will probably know exactly what I’m talking about…

Once I started thinking about my reading in these terms, the parallels were a little disturbing. I read about 150 novels a year, that’s not counting the comic books I’m increasingly fond of. Not nearly as much reading as I used to do, but it’s still a hell of a lot considering I’m usually working 10-12 hours a day.

I binge read. I read compulsively. I have been known to break plans with others in favor of staying home and reading. When I go too long without reading, I get irritable and depressed. The list goes on and on…. 

It kinda sounds like I’m making a joke here, but I’m really not. While labeling my reading a full-blown addiction would be a little silly (not to mention insulting to folks who struggle with genuine chemical addictions) I actually suspect that I may have an honest-to-god compulsive obsession with reading.

That said, as far as compulsions go, I’m pretty okay with it.

Besides, even if I wanted to fight it at this point, I doubt I could break the habit. The thought fills me with genuine horror. (Which is, of course, another sign of addiction.)

Still, the realization was a little troubling. So, looking for a little comfort, I did what I always do.

I started reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane. The only reason it took two sittings is because the restaurant closed and kicked me out.

(I feel as if I should mention at this point there won’t be any spoilers in this blog. I don’t go in for that sort of thing.)

I will say this. It made me smile. I laughed out loud. I cried. Not because of any particular sad moment, but because sometimes the shape a story makes is like a key turning inside me and I cannot do anything but weep.

Gaiman’s stories do this to me with fair regularity, which is one of the reasons I’m so fond of him. We are not similar writers. Not at all. But I like to think we share a fondness for the shape of stories.

Ultimately, when you tell a friend about a book, there is only one truly meaningful question to answer: “Is this book worth your time?”

So I will simply say, “Yes.”

If you’re curious to hear more, I wax more rhapsodic over here on goodreads.



P.S. Absolutely worth your time…..

This entry was posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, cool things, love, Neil Gaiman, Stories about stories.. By Pat85 Responses


  1. CL
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 5:05 AM | Permalink

    Congrats, Patrick! I must say, you’ve made considerable progress on the book blurbing front. Now, instead of being politely interested in checking out one of your recommendations, I’m frothing at the mouth.

  2. Sandman
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 6:07 AM | Permalink

    “That means for half a year I have *craved* this book. I have desired it with a sort of grim, white-knuckled intensity that is normally the purview of sociopaths and teenage boys.”

    That is how I feel about the Kingkiller Chronicles Book 3. Except longer. :-)

  3. RegistrationIsStupid
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 7:19 AM | Permalink

    Hmm, I hate you now, I guess. Why, the last time I got an unexpected package there were electric pepper and salt mills in it.
    Not only did you get a copy of the new Gaiman ahead of time, you got a 1 of 100 LE and it was signed. And you didn’t read it right away. Well your explanation of not having time and all the addict thing going on sounds reasonable, but here is a different threory:
    Image you stumbled upon the holy grail. No thats a bad example, too much religion in there, image instead you stumbled upon The long lost treasure goblet, would you go ahead and eat your cereals out of it the next breakfast?
    Or would you rather put it where you could see it every day. Would you rather show it to friends, because not showing off something cool is for chickens and loners. And, when you have come to grips with you excitement of possessing said special item, only then would you make actual use of it.

  4. kdculb
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 7:28 AM | Permalink

    Pat, I have read a lot of books in my day, but I confess I have never read Gaiman. I think I will give this one a try. Thanks.

  5. Posted May 31, 2013 at 7:44 AM | Permalink

    Hi, I’m Steve and I also am a book addict. I’m fine with that.

  6. jayh
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 8:02 AM | Permalink

    So, the next question is, are you going to auction it off at next years World Builders (assuming Gaiman is cool with that), or have you relegated this copy to your realm of “my precious”?

    • Posted May 31, 2013 at 11:42 AM | Permalink

      Normally, I would donate it to Worldbuilders…. But this time I’m really not sure. I think I might have to be a little selfish just this once and keep it to myself….

      • sandibd
        Posted May 31, 2013 at 1:46 PM | Permalink

        Look at it this way Pat. You have given so much of your time & money to Worldbuilders and the time you give to your fans is more than generous (who appreciate it very much, especially enjoy watching the kickstarter videos for the card deck), and you deserve something special to call all your own.

      • JeremyM
        Posted May 31, 2013 at 2:02 PM | Permalink

        I know you don’t need my permission or advice but if there was a vote I would definitely vote for you to keep it. You do A LOT for other people so it sounds like this is karma’s way of paying you back a little bit. I have the limited edition on pre-order plus a copy from the signing I’m going to that I am looking forward to receiving. Thanks for the write up of the book!

      • jayh
        Posted May 31, 2013 at 3:21 PM | Permalink

        If I read that right, it say’s special edition 1 of 100, which means Holy F#$king Collectibles, batman. Plus, reading between the lines, the fact that he gave you #1 probably means something too.
        I’d say you’re perfectly justified in keeping it for yourself as a really cool token of his regard. That’s just way too awesome to give away even for a great cause like Heifer.

      • SporkTastic
        Posted May 31, 2013 at 3:45 PM | Permalink

        As a fan, donator, and fellow bibliophile, I’m firmly in the “treat yourself, you’ve earned it” camp on this one; seriously, imagine the day when you can share how awesome this is with Oot.

      • Gorewolf
        Posted May 31, 2013 at 7:52 PM | Permalink

        Oh no, don’t donate it! The amount of work you put into writing and your charity you need something every now and again to keep yourself going! Frankly i think you should already be made a saint for the work you do, if you donated it we would have no choice to start Rothfussism.

      • maine character
        Posted June 2, 2013 at 2:11 AM | Permalink

        If you donated it, you would only wake up, night after night, crying out for it, and eventually spend the next few weeks tracking it down, only to end up on your knees on someone’s steps, begging them to let you read just a page. Don’t do that to yourself. Enjoy it.

      • Jose Antonini
        Posted June 3, 2013 at 6:07 PM | Permalink

        It was a gift, it would be impolite of you to give it away.

        (You can tell that to the annoying voice in your head if its giving you a hard time.)

  7. Albender
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 8:28 AM | Permalink

    reads 150 books a year
    10-12 hours writing a day…
    has a family
    do signings
    attend cons


    • Robo
      Posted May 31, 2013 at 10:42 AM | Permalink

      That’s how you can tell he loves what he does. #jealous

    • Posted May 31, 2013 at 11:41 AM | Permalink

      You’re not wrong….

  8. ashley_capes
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 8:31 AM | Permalink

    Wow! Very jealous, wish I didn’t have to wait even a few more weeks for this book. Fantastic, can’t wait to read the dickens out of it

  9. Glirmin
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 8:42 AM | Permalink

    I am not addicted….. I can stop anytime I want

  10. ModreztheWeird
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 8:42 AM | Permalink

    I listened to all your Story board episodes and some interviews… but now after spending a lot of time with the kickstarter Hangouts I hear your voice in my head when reading your blog :D let me just say that you have a pleasant and beautiful voice.

    • Mercurial1
      Posted May 31, 2013 at 9:10 AM | Permalink

      Hear, hear!!

    • sandibd
      Posted May 31, 2013 at 1:47 PM | Permalink

      OMG me too! His voice so filled this blog.

  11. savasmooth
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 8:44 AM | Permalink

    I was able to take the day off for my birthday, and reading this makes me smile. I am going to see Neil Gaiman at the War Memorial Auditorium when he comes through Nashville in July. With the purchase of that ticket, I get a signed copy of the book. Only problem is it isn’t until July! Being poor as I am, I can’t afford to buy two copies, so I will wait. But July! At least I know there is someone else out there who understands what it is like to fiend whilst waiting for a highly anticipated book. Thanks, Pat!


  12. ali rahemtulla
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 9:10 AM | Permalink

    I have the same problem pat, and my best friend does two. I get kinda depressed and cranky when I’m in a reading slump. My friend once when seven days without reading a book at all. Eventually, he started staring at his great-grandparents book covers (they didn’t allow him to touch them) for hours. I really do get what you mean Pat, but it’s easy for me to get my fix. I have quick access to books, and the various manga that I read come out almost day by day. Anyways, thanks for the recommendation as I didn’t know about it (Once, when asked for my date of birth, I got it wrong three times in a row. My dad had to step in :) )

  13. RH
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 9:26 AM | Permalink

    Did you know Mr Gaiman keeps bees? A friend of his who always wanted to have bees but lives in an apartment helps him with it, and occasionally posts about it in her blog. Here is one such entry with a Gaiman video.


  14. ccomer38
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 9:33 AM | Permalink

    so i read half of memory of light (in a day) and then haven’t picked it up again.. does that make me an addict? :( its so nice to see it sitting next t my bed.. knowing that there’s still going to be more story! When i finish it, then it’ll be over…

  15. Alphonse
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 9:55 AM | Permalink

    I think I can relate a bit.
    After reading the Name of The Wind for the first time, It felt like I was going to go mad if I didn’t have the sequel right this moment. The year was 2008.
    At first I managed to cope by re-reading the book. Then, I would daydream about it and imagine new adventures for Kvothe. But my imaginings were poor and I would get frustrated. Besides, It would take up too much of my time and I my studies were suffering from it. So I hid the book and resolved to forget all about it.
    It’s a bit hard when you tell yourself not to think about something. At first, you can’t focus on anything else, and then oblivion comes and goes by increasing stretch of times. But if you don’t have anything to remind you too much, then one day, oblivion comes to stay.
    So in June 2011, I haven’t thought about the Name of The Wind in more than a year. And then I notice a book called the Wise Man’s Fear in a bookstore because the cover is beautiful and it’s really big.
    The name of the author doesn’t ring a bell, but the map which the book opens up to when I take it into my hands for a peek, really really does.
    So I take the book home and I place it in a place of honour on a shelf which I dust beforehand. I look for the Name of the Wind and finally I find it, and I put it on the shelf right next to my new acquisition. And then I will myself to hold out on reading them for as long as I can and when I inevitably crack, I will myself to read as slowly as possible and in as many sittings as possible.
    A week later, I’ve finished the Wise Man’s Fear and I feel like I’m going mad again.

  16. roxie
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 10:15 AM | Permalink

    I gotta say that I got chills when I looked at the pictures of the book.

  17. Robo
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 10:44 AM | Permalink

    I read 200+ books a year. Not trying to one-up you, but it’s part of my job. I read this back in December and loved it. I tried to describe it to a few people but I think you need to be a poet to do it justice. Needless to say, those same people are having the same trouble trying to explain it to their friends now.

  18. Dan
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 12:05 PM | Permalink

    Love both reviews. You might want to fix the spelling of paean over on the over on goodreads.

    • Dan
      Posted May 31, 2013 at 12:06 PM | Permalink

      Talk about a spelling typo with a another typo; cursed I am as I should be.

      • Posted May 31, 2013 at 1:53 PM | Permalink

        I think both paean and paen are legal spellings.

  19. Posted May 31, 2013 at 12:16 PM | Permalink

    Idonno…. You make it sound SO appealing, but then you make Lots of things sound appealing. I’d never heard of Gaiman before reading one of your posts where you referenced it (and American Gods specifically)… so I threw it into my queue. I’m struggling to find something to say about that experience, but childhood lessons of “saying nothing unless I have something good to say” keep getting in the way. Maybe I’m a dullard, but it didn’t do anything for me and while I was able to finish the book (can’t say that about other big-name authors ~ I quit Game of Thrones mid-book 4 or 5 amid much disgust/frustration), I surely didn’t have any desire to read more. I had to cleanse the palate a little and re-read 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 before moving on.

    But June is Gaiman month on the calendar, and I’ve been reading the author of the month through their month. Might be time to try again…

    • sandibd
      Posted May 31, 2013 at 1:54 PM | Permalink

      I get you Brian. I like most of Gaiman’s stuff, but not everything is for me. I loved “American Gods.” Then I read or saw (can’t recall) an interview with him. He was asked something along the lines of why all his books seem to teeter on religious themes. I loved his response. He said the ten commandments: “thou shalt put no other God before me.” really interested him. So is that God acknowledging there are other Gods out there? His books toy with that theme. When I read that, I saw (whether intended or not) a sense of humor in that thinking. Some people might view it as sacrilegious, but it amused me. Plus I loved the episodes of Dr. Who he wrote.

    • Posted May 31, 2013 at 2:59 PM | Permalink

      A lot of folks have mixed feelings about American Gods, and it’s not typical of Gaiman’s work. He himself said,

      “As far as I can tell, for every five people who read it, one loves it utterly, two or three like it to varying degrees, and one hates it, cannot see the point to it and needs convincing that it’s a novel at all.”

      • Bartb11
        Posted May 31, 2013 at 10:53 PM | Permalink

        I too am a voracious reader…I get completely jittery if I don’t read every day. I carry a book with me every where I go…just in case I might find a moment to read. I read before bed to clear my head or I wouldn’t sleep. But then, when the book is TOO good, I don’t sleep because I can’t put the book down (NOTW, I love thee so).

        Thank you for that Gaiman quote as I did not like American Gods AT ALL. Normally if recommended on your blog I *love* the book, or at least enjoy it. I also love to get book ideas out of your blog comments and usually enjoy the books recommended by fellow Rothfuss fans. But NOT that one. So glad I’m not the only self confessed voracious-reader-geek who disliked it.

      • tanis0
        Posted June 4, 2013 at 11:11 AM | Permalink

        I’m glad you posted this because I feel like I’m completely missing the point of Gaiman’s books in general. To be clear, I don’t feel like this is a failing with Gaiman but rather with myself. I started with American Gods and thought it was kind of ok but not great. After chatting about it at Stellarcon, I picked up Neverwhere and while I liked it a little more, it still didn’t get me to where you, Sanderson, Zelazny, etc. get me. I did enjoy Good Omens, but I fear it may be the Pratchett elements in that case.

        If anyone who loves Gaiman’s novels is interested in answering, what is it that you love? Is it voice, worldbuilding, plot, characters, tension, or what (and don’t just say yes lol). I find that I enjoy the voice, but the characters I really like don’t get much screen time (Vandemar and Croup for example), and the plots just haven’t grabbed me. Also, can anyone recommend one last Gaiman novel which might turn me around, or do you think I might just not be in his audience?

        • gryphyn
          Posted June 18, 2013 at 9:08 PM | Permalink

          @tansio Definitely try some of his other works. He’s one of my favorite authors and yet I really don’t like “American Gods” or “Anansi Boys” very much. “Neverwhere” is my favorite though (with a blazing passion) and I see it didn’t really fly for you. After that one I think “The Graveyard Book” is next up in my list.

          I think it’s the off-kilter-ness that I like. The way he has of taking normal and reflecting it through a fun house mirror of sorts. With “Neverwhere” it’s London Below, “Coraline” it’s literally a twisted version of reality, and with the new book it’s memory and I’m not sure what else because I read it too darn fast (came today and I’m done already). I also like that (mostly) his heroes aren’t really heroes. No special training or birthright. Just people caught up in something strange, who have to rely on themselves and are often surprised by the results when they make it through.

          I’ve found though that as much as I like reading his books (and that’s lots and lots), I love(!) listening to them. That might be worth a try for you. He does his own narrations and he might not be the best at doing different voices, it’s more than made up for by the fact that’s it’s _his_ story and has all the little pauses and inflections that he means it to have.

        • wickedstpmom
          Posted June 24, 2013 at 8:43 PM | Permalink

          Try Anansi Boys. You don’t really need to read American Gods to love this book. If you like audio books, it is even more of an experience when recreated by Lenny Henry.

  20. Bewitchedh
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 12:37 PM | Permalink

    At least you know you are not alone in your reading addiction. Also, that you are personally producing our drug of choice. It has a long anticipatory rise, followed by hours to days of heightened emotion, followed by a long withdrawal period and occasionally echoes. I should have just said no…

  21. trunuyawkr
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 12:41 PM | Permalink

    I, too, am a book addict. While I do not read 150 per year at this point, that is only because I have 4 children and they have this thing with wanting to be clothed, fed, entertained, and shuttled off to various sports / educational / social practices and events, the silly gooses. My husband always knows when I have reached my breaking point, however – when it has been too long without my fix. He takes the boys, hands me a book or three, gives me a kiss and sends me upstairs for some peace and reading time. I have seriously been known to pace in circles between my bookcases if I find myself without anything good to read…….. it’s a glorious “problem” to have. :)

  22. novaengliae
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 12:45 PM | Permalink

    I myself am excited as I have a copy of this book on hold for me at a bookstore in Miami where I will be going to a Neil Gaiman book signing! After meeting Pat last month, all my fan-girl dreams will have been fulfilled!

  23. phiredrops
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 12:50 PM | Permalink

    The truth is, I’m not a grown up. Underneath all of this, I’m still the same kid who used to spend all his allowance at Waldenbooks.

    It’s funny you should say this because I can relate so much and then some. I was a Waldens devotee growing up and was lucky enough to work there before The Dark Days. During that time our store received an unasked-for massive brick of an ARC that nobody dared touch because it was from an unknown and the aforementioned girth of said book was just a bit daunting. However, fantasy ARCs were rare for our store and it was my section, so I was obligated to give it a chapter. As it turns out that ARC was Name of the Wind and I read the ever loving fuck out of that book. It is My Precious and I was lucky enough to have you sign it. That giddy feeling seeing the signature and quick inscription? I know that feel. Don’t even think of auctioning it off. Please, keep it.

    • Bartb11
      Posted May 31, 2013 at 10:59 PM | Permalink

      I once had a second job working at a small local bookshop..alas, it didn’t do much for my income as I spent most of my paycheck there. But I guess it did help since I wasn’t spending all the money from my ” day” job there.

  24. sfgiantsjo
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 12:55 PM | Permalink

    And now, Neil himself is linking to YOU on Twitter, Pat! He’s like, your total BFF! Congrats and man, am I ever jealous! https://twitter.com/neilhimself/status/340524893995155457

    • Posted May 31, 2013 at 3:01 PM | Permalink

      And now I squee with delight….

      • Posted May 31, 2013 at 3:01 PM | Permalink

        Um. Very *manly* delight….

        • SporkTastic
          Posted May 31, 2013 at 3:47 PM | Permalink

          “We’re *men*! We’re men in tights! (Tight tights!)”

  25. Holly
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 12:57 PM | Permalink

    I am so glad that I am not the only one who is addicted to reading! Everything you just described is exactly how I am as well. But, the way I see it, there are worse things besides books a person could be addicted to.

  26. David Healy (Windmill)
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 12:59 PM | Permalink

    It’s blog posts like these that push me further toward a career in writing. If I become a success, thanks Pat (and maybe a few others). If not, I hold you personally accountable.

    Pre-ordered on Amazon.

  27. Posted May 31, 2013 at 12:59 PM | Permalink

    I am so envious! But if someone who isn’t me gets an advance copy, I’m glad it’s you. (and I get my copy in 2 weeks, when I see Neil in Bath, so I can just about bear to wait.)

    And yes, I’m a book addict, too. I don’t think I *could* give it up, even if I wanted to (which I don’t).

  28. SevenWords
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 1:02 PM | Permalink

    I am half way through American Gods. I had to stop, it was intense. Now it sits back on my desk. I often want to grab it again. It scares me that it may end. I hope one day fear will pass. Until that time comes, it will wait. I think it is my favorite book.

  29. sandibd
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 1:58 PM | Permalink

    I finished a book once during an afternoon read. I had no next book lined up and ready to go…I sat in bed that night, not really knowing how to go to sleep without a book to read for a while before lights out. It was a most disturbing feeling. Times like these I used to pick up Harry Potter. I mean, I can read what I want until I find the next book to read, then put it down no loss. Now, after NOTW and WMF I just can’t do that anymore. The bar has been raised. Luckily, I LOVE re-reading books that I thoroughly enjoyed. As I look at the many (not as many as Pat’s) books on my bookshelves, I see how my taste in reading has changed over the years. I was slow to the fantasy genre, but am glad I am here.

  30. Celt42
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 1:59 PM | Permalink

    My husband says that when I go too long without a book I act like a cat who’s fur has been rubbed the wrong way, then prevented from grooming itself. I hiss and spit a lot. When that happens he hands me one of my favorite books, kisses me on the forehead, and tells me to go get lost for awhile.

    • Posted May 31, 2013 at 3:02 PM | Permalink

      That sounds like a good relationship.

  31. Posted May 31, 2013 at 3:22 PM | Permalink

    I think this is the most relatable blog I’ve read of yours yet! I have actually struggled a bit with my own reading obsession. Every year I set a goal to read a certain amount of books. If I hit the goal, which I usually do, I raise the bar the next year and try to read 5 more books than the previous year. It’s a fun thing to do. This year though, I really thought about where all this reading was getting me. I was doing some of the same things you mention here, specifically, blowing off chill sessions with people just so I could read more. So instead of raising my goal 5 books this year I lowered it 10 and I’m actually really happy I did. Just that little bit has left me with enough free time to show the people I love I appreciate them more and explore some new hobbies. Turns out, real life ain’t all that bad if you actually give it a shot. LOL.

    Outside of that, I’m not the ultimate Gaiman fan or anything, but I think I’d still keep the book on my desk just to touch it. Whatever. Take happiness where you can get it. I fondle my talent pin at least once day…LOL. I actually squeeled with girlish glee and proceeded to jump up and down upon reciept. So I know whatcha mean.

    Also – that review really made me want Smore’s and a serious Dr. Who discussion, since I just recently started watching it. Gods bless you Netflix.

  32. hail2daredskinz
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 3:23 PM | Permalink

    i ordered 2 autographed editions months ago… eagerly awaiting their arrival.

    i just finished WMF about 20 minutes ago for the 5th or 6th time and just realized tempi never got paid for his part in taking down the bandits. did he just give his gold coin to the school or did he eventually go to severen to collect? out of all the deep, disturbing questions one could take away even after multiple readings, this is the one thing that stuck out to me this time.

    • sandibd
      Posted May 31, 2013 at 3:40 PM | Permalink

      Interesting minutia to take away. I bet Pat knows the answer, and just hasn’t told us.

      Oh and Pat…btw, I am not famous, never will be. I will never have my own blog, or be recognized everywhere I go. But I still squeed with delight when I got the autographed NOTW in the mail I ordered off The Tinker’s Pack. I was very surprised how fast it came. Even though I didn’t get to meet you and have you sign the book in person, it meant just as much. (But I will save WMF for some future signing in person.)

  33. Hnnh
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 4:18 PM | Permalink

    This blog just proves why I love your blog so much. I can relate to what you’re saying. When I got your book “the Wise man’s fear” I did that, I just kept it by my side while I was finishing a book, I brought it to school for some days until I finally read it.

    If you say I should read it, I will, because I started reading Gaiman and got some other books thanks to your recommendations, let me tell you that you have good taste in novels, my friend. I’ll buy this book when I see it, it certainly seems like a “must have”.

    • Hnnh
      Posted May 31, 2013 at 4:22 PM | Permalink

      This entry just prove why I love your blog so much. Sorry, I reread after I sent it and was like “what did I just write?”. This happens when I don’t sleep as much as I should.

  34. Posted May 31, 2013 at 4:19 PM | Permalink

    What an amazing gift to get!! And I love how you fanboyed out over it, because that’s precisely what I would do.

    And no, don’t donate this one. You’ve got to keep it, it’s too rare and awesome and wonderful and beautiful.

  35. kuraku
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 4:59 PM | Permalink

    “I cried. Not because of any particular sad moment, but because sometimes the shape a story makes is like a key turning inside me and I cannot do anything but weep.”


    • Posted June 1, 2013 at 8:29 AM | Permalink


      My wife plays the piano; I sing along. Often I’m reading the sheet music, looking ahead, and I see someone’s perfect musical idea. I lose my voice in tears, miss the moment — and now I know how to explain it.

      Thanks, Pat.

  36. sade-senn
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 5:14 PM | Permalink

    I identified most strongly with the feelings of withdrawal after a book is finished and the blackout period where time just disappears and you are enmeshed in a world away. Though I don’t remember, I was in grade school when a teacher returned after lunch to find me still reading in my desk. I’d missed hearing the bell, the mass exodus of students from the classroom, and nearly the entire lunch hour because I’d been reading. So, I hear you on the addicted-to-books thing. There’s a wide-open, direct channel from stories to my heart. I’ve never been ashamed of it and I’ll never quit loving stories with a depth that sometimes scares me. Gaiman is very near and dear to my heart and though I have not read your books before, I intend to get started right away!

  37. FollowYourMuse
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 6:53 PM | Permalink

    Hello, my name is Jeanette and I’m a readaholic.

    In the past when I hit the point of not having anything specific to read next. I would return to favorites, read the dictionary or any written word I could get my hands on.
    Now I consider Pat to be my anonymous reading buddy, when I am at a loss on what to read next I look to his recommendations and reviews to get me through the next reading fix.

    Loved this review, with two weeks to go I was already experiencing panic on making the decision between reading Pratchett or Gaiman first when both books will be delivered the same day. This review put The Ocean at the End of the Lane at the top.

  38. Posted May 31, 2013 at 7:48 PM | Permalink

    “Obsessive / compulsive book addict.”
    “One book at a time.”
    “Cancel events to stay home and read.”

    Yep. I’m a book addict. Cracking open a fresh book is like the first time with a new lover….and almost as exhilarating.

    You nailed it, Pat.

    Book geek and proud.


  39. Gorewolf
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 8:02 PM | Permalink

    I wont lie, i had to look up eremite to find out what i apparently am; didn’t know about the book and have never read Gaiman before.

    Not because i don’t want to, i really only heard about Gaiman when he wrote Dr Who and as i read by author nowadays Hobb, Eddings and Pratchett have taken up all my time since then.

  40. Foxbat4619
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 8:38 PM | Permalink

    Thanks, I always enjoy seeing what authors you recommend!

  41. Green Man
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 9:12 PM | Permalink

    This made me chortle first and that rolled right into a deep laugh. You’re not alone! I am that same kid too. :)

    • Green Man
      Posted May 31, 2013 at 9:13 PM | Permalink

      Crap, that whole quote thing didn’t work at all. Let’s just try this instead:

      The truth is, I’m not a grown up. Underneath all of this, I’m still the same kid who used to spend all his allowance at Waldenbooks.

  42. chaelek
    Posted June 1, 2013 at 2:03 PM | Permalink

    Pat, while your cataloguing of your reading as an obsession probably isn’t too far from the truth, calling it an addiction gives it a negative connotation, as if it’s something to be reviled.

    I, too read over a hundred novels a year, with a schedule of similar intensity to your own (Med school, ‘nuf said). I find it to be one of the things that keeps me centered as a person, however. More like quiet meditation than, say, shooting up. It’s a great stress reliever, and so I find the busier I am, the MORE I read, to counter my increased work load.

    I find different avenues, maybe. I’ve recently started using Audible, so I’ll “read” a book while jogging, or doing dishes, or driving.

    All that said, I definitely understand the addiction idea. Good books (yours come to mind) are addictive as ophalum, and I’d stand knee deep in snow, naked and dancing, if someone held a copy of WMF over my head.

  43. Fiendo
    Posted June 1, 2013 at 10:31 PM | Permalink

    Great story- reminds me of a similar experience. I attended a book reading/meet and greet with Vince Flynn for his latest Mitch Rapp super spy novel. At the time I was in about week 3 of the FBI academy, which I told Vince while he was signing my book. He made it out to “Special Agent” (name withheld). I couldn’t let myself read it until I graduated from the academy 18 weeks later. After staring at it for all those weeks, I devoured it in one sitting.

  44. Phaedron
    Posted June 1, 2013 at 10:53 PM | Permalink

    I was lucky enough to get a publisher’s copy of “M is For Magic,” signed by both Neil Gaiman and Gahan Wilson, on eBay from the awesome Clifford Meth. Sure, Gaiman’s a star, but Wilson is legendary. Actually holding something signed by him was the big, sweaty, trembling “get” for me. Right now, I’m caressing it sweetly with my left hand as I pick out keys with my right. But the pressing question that derives from your account is: Increasingly fond of WHICH comic books??

    • Posted June 4, 2013 at 12:13 AM | Permalink

      I talk about them on goodreads a lot….

  45. Richard
    Posted June 3, 2013 at 2:16 AM | Permalink

    I realized years ago that we all have our addictions. The trick is to choose them carefully. As far as that goes, reading is a lot more benign than some of the other popular choices…

  46. Matt the Librarian
    Posted June 3, 2013 at 3:34 PM | Permalink

    As my screen name says, I am a librarian. One of the powers granted us librarians is the ability to request Advanced Reader Copies from publishers. It doesn’t always work, but I am pleasantly surprised when it does (I have been able to score a few Brandon Sanderson ARCs in the past).

    A few months ago, I faxed a request to Gaiman’s publisher, hoping to get an ARC of The Ocean at the End of the Lane. About a month after sending the request, I had not received anything, but I did have a dream: in this dream a package arrived in the mail, and upon opening it, a beautiful, hardbound version of TOatEotL revealed itself. Strangely, my dream version almost looked like Pat’s. I was ecstatic. And (strangely) like Pat, I started showing it off to my friends and family, including my mom. However, after glancing at it, she handed it back and said “this isn’t Neil Gaiman’s book” . I looked at it, and to my horror (as happens in dreams) it had become a beautiful, hardbound ARC of a new Dale Brown “techno-thriller”. Along with it was a letter from the publisher explaining that they could not provide me Gaiman’s book and hoped I would be happy with Dale’s instead (I was not). And then I woke up, saddened that in both reality and my dreams, I was denied Gaiman’s ARC. (I’m not sure what it says about me that these are the kinds of dreams I have. Oh well. I think this crowd will understand).

    So Pat, I was pleasantly surprised to see your blog post today and I am glad your reality went so much better than my dream/nightmare.

    I never did receive the ARC, and that is fine. I will happily read the book when it is released in two weeks.

  47. froznpeas
    Posted June 3, 2013 at 5:18 PM | Permalink

    Pat, I *do* live deep in the wilderness, so thanks for the update on the new Gaiman book! You (and he) have fans everywhere, even in the remote woods.

  48. Brady Dill
    Posted June 3, 2013 at 5:59 PM | Permalink

    Neil Gaiman is truly amazing. I’m so jealous right now…

    On a side note, are you aware of anyone who has ever noticed that “Manet” is Latin for “He remains”? Do I win the prize for being first?

    Of course, Ivare Enim Euge is much, much more questionable Latin (sort of like how “Exspecto Patronum” means “I await the stone”).

  49. Hollie
    Posted June 4, 2013 at 5:47 PM | Permalink

    I used to be among these ranks… then my world fell apart.

    I’ve always been a voracious reader, since I learned to read I’ve consumed books one after another. Upon the advent of the Kindle, my appetite grew even further, and every thirty seconds I had waiting for an elevator or to cross the road I would cram in a few pages. I couldn’t fall asleep at night without reading. It was my passion, my escape, my coping mechanism, my joy, all wrapped up into one. I also followed Pat’s blog with almost religious devotion.

    About three years ago my husband and I decided it was time to start a family. So we tried and tried to no avail, and many tests and a surgery later, found out I had a congenital abnormality that was interfering in our efforts. We had just accepted we weren’t going to get anywhere without intervention and were preparing for further action when I got pregnant. For me it was a miracle, like light in the darkest of places. I loved, adored, and cherished our son growing inside me, all the while knowing and fearing the odds that were horribly stacked against my little miracle. At five months, we found out he was in danger, and I was put on bed rest, and guess what I did while I lay in bed all day and night – I read, and read, and read.

    A month later I went into labor and our son was stillborn. And I stopped reading.

    For the first few months I was so depressed it was all I could do to zombie through my days at work and get a few bites of food down. As the pain dulled I tried to go back to reading. If there was ever a time I needed an escape this was it. But I couldn’t do it, my beloved books had transformed from my escape from everyday life to a reminder of what I lost, and the stories that used to excite me seemed trivial.

    It’s been nine months now, and I haven’t been able to re-kindle my joy of reading, despite my best efforts, and this really disturbs me. I share this rather personal story because while almost anyone can understand my greif over the loss of my son, I figure very few can understand my grief and anxiety over the loss of my reading, so it isn’t something I’ve really tried to express before. But after reading Pat’s expression of his devotion and obsession, and everyone elses here in the comments, I figure this is one group that would understand. So I decided to unload a little.

    Pat said he’s not sure he could stop his compulsion if he wanted to. I would not have thought so either, but there are things that can change you even to those deepest levels. I finally started reading the blog again in the last week, and I hope to re-join the ranks of the book geeks someday soon. Until then it’s really nice to see others enthusiasm and joy, maybe it will rub off on me a little ;)

  50. pentjak
    Posted June 12, 2013 at 11:02 AM | Permalink

    I’m not sure you’d want to use me as your moral compass in this matter (or any matter, frankly) but I there’s a nice parallel with my coffee addiction here. I’ve been drinking coffee for as long as I can remember. My parents would put a very tiny amount mixed with milk in my sippie-cups way back when and yada yada yada now at 33 if I don’t have a cup in the morning I get a headache by 1pm or thereabouts.

    This bothered me for a while. I felt like I should have complete control of my body and would randomly think about having to forcibly detox in one situation or another (plane crashes on desert island, given the choice by a genie of an evening with Christina Hendricks or a single cup of coffee for the day, etc). Then I came to the realization that a) Coffee is completely delicious b) It’s ok to not have complete control over some of your passions.. that’s kind of one of the things that clues you into the fact that you’re passionate about them.

  51. Issy2202
    Posted June 12, 2013 at 2:04 PM | Permalink

    I just read your goodreads comment =) – and if you happen to have a CNC mill (or know anyone who has one), this is THE thing you have to make if you’re planning on having a good go at Settlers of Catan (I’d make it for myself, since I like it a lot, but I don’t have one available) – it’s so cool:

  52. gryphyn
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 8:38 PM | Permalink

    This might be my favorite quote of all time: “… because sometimes the shape a story makes is like a key turning inside me and I cannot do anything but weep.”

    I think I need to go put this on a mug or something, so I can look at it everyday and think “Yes, that’s why I read. To find the keys.”

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