Another week has gone, and another book has sat unread on my shelf. Well, if I’m going to be honest, it’s more like a few hundred books have gone unread, but this week I’m talking about one in particular: American Gods, by Neil Gaiman.
American Gods was the first Neil Gaiman book I ever acquired. I saw it on a list of “books you need to read for whatever awesome reason,” and immediately put it on my Christmas list. I currently own five of his books, and have read three of them: Neverwhere, Stardust, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I’ve also read Coraline and The Graveyard Book, and am keeping my eyes peeled for used copies of these to add to my collection.
I’ve adored everything I’ve read by him so far. Gaiman’s stories have made me laugh and cry, and he’s one of few authors that my partner and I both love reading and talking about. Having a shared favourite author is great, because neither one of us will get upset about bringing another one of his books into our house. We need the whole Gaiman canon.
So why haven’t I read American Gods yet? It’s only been sitting on my bookshelf for the past three (or so years), so what’s the hold up? Well, when you love an author’s stories as much as I love Gaiman’s, you just never want them to end. This might sound silly, but hear me out.
When you read a book, you only get to read it for the first time once. Sure, you can re-read books, but it’s never the same experience as the first time you read it. Once you read a book, you go through all the emotions, you deal with whatever the characters throw at you, you recover from the ending and tell yourself everything will be alright, and then it’s over and you have to move on to the next book.
I don’t want that to happen to American Gods! I’ve had numerous people tell me that it is arguably his best book, so I want to read it and love it and cherish it, and never have to worry about the inevitable end. And I don’t mean the end of the plot itself, but the end of my reading experience.
I’ll only get to experience reading American Gods for the first time once, and I want it to be perfect. I want to hold on to every scene and dig into the beautiful prose that Gaiman always writes, and really appreciate all of those fantastic lines. I will read this book one day, but it has to be the right day.
That might sound like a terrible excuse to some people, but I have a feeling that fellow book nerds will know what I mean. Has anyone else ever delayed reading a book because they don’t want it to end?