Neil Gaiman: A reading…

Neil Gaiman, noted author of novels, television shows, comics and much more, appeared last Friday (2/21/14) at the Babcock Theater here in Billings, Montana as part of the opening celebration of the new public library.

Since the tickets were general admission Deb and I went early to get in line so we would get good seats. Since it was a cold windy night the plan was to pick up some hot beverages from the coffee shop down the street from the theater. But they happened to close as we arrived which was too bad. So we spent about 40 minutes waiting outside, listening to people talk about their favorite Neil Gaiman books and how far they had driven for the event.

Once the doors opened we funneled in and picked our seats. And we had pretty good seats, 7 rows from the stage and dead center. The crowd was really diverse from young children to older adults. People in suits to others in ripped jeans and t-shirts. One woman had dressed up as Death.

The crowd went nuts when Neil came on stage. He smiled, waved and briefly told us “I will read something. I will read something else and then read one more thing. And with the time left I will answer questions.”

His first reading was a story written for the NPR show “This American Life” which wasn’t used (they used a different one) where the theme was adventure. It was odd, and funny and Neil.

Normally he doesn’t give the same speech twice but as he had spent the afternoon at the new Billing Public Library he felt it was appropriate to give a slightly modified version of the talk he gave at The Reading Agency in the UK. He also said that he was extremely nervous during that talk so he wanted to give it the attention it deserved. Here is a link to that speech. The overall theme was the importance of reading and how libraries are key to reading. Personally it made me really think about where I got my passion for reading and how it has made me who I am today.

The final reading was of a story that he had written to Ray Bradbury’s birthday soon before he passed away. It was touching and funny, again typical Neil.

Before the show started note cards were passed out to the audience for questions to ask Neil. He wrapped the show up by going through the cards and answering some of them. Answers varied from short “Sushi or Amanda Palmer” to long answers that took minutes to explain.

Neil’s ┬áhumor is dry, unforced and natural. His talks are funny, thought provoking and emotional. His stories, written or spoken, are gateways into new places.

Thank you Mr. Gaiman for coming to Billings and sharing your stories with us.

Neil Gaiman books


One Comment

  1. Thank you, Matthew, for that report. The Iowans are envious.

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