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Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog

It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.

Currently reading

Station Zero
Philip Reeve
Progress: 220/282 pages
The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition
Ursula K. Le Guin, Charles Vess
Progress: 749/997 pages
The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry
Robert Chandler
The Uncertain Land and Other Poems
Patrick O'Brian
Progress: 8/160 pages
The Heptameron (Penguin Classics)
Marguerite de Navarre
Progress: 152/544 pages
The Poems and Plays of John Masefield
John Masefield
Progress: 78/534 pages
Poems Selected
Emily Dickinson, Ted Hughes
Progress: 4/50 pages
Selected Poems
U A Fanthorpe
Progress: 18/160 pages
The Penguin Book of Scottish Verse
Mick Imlah, Robert Crawford
Hainish Novels & Stories, Vol. 2
Ursula K. Le Guin
Progress: 133/789 pages

The Absolute Sandman, Volume II, Neil Gaiman

The Absolute Sandman, Vol. 2 - Neil Gaiman, John Watkis, Duncan Eagleson, George Pratt, Vince Locke, Steve Oliff, Malcolm Jones III, Stan Woch, Dick Giordano, Daniel Vozzo, Bryan Talbot, Shawn McManus, John Bolton, Kelley Jones, Todd Klein, Matt Wagner, Mike Dringenberg, P. Craig Russell, Dave McKean, Co

Volume II of this series is as gorgeous as Volume I. There are two main stories, only one of which I'd read before. The first, about Lucifer abdicating as ruler of Hell, did not appeal to me as much as the second, about The Cuckoo, with its cast of characters from under-represented groups and very mysterious goings on. Apparently I'm unusual in liking it more than the other. I still feel Sandman is at its best when it relies on Gaiman's own invented mythology of the Endless more than on any connections to the wider DC universe or obvious borrowings from elsewhere.


I keep forgetting the strong horror sensibility that Sandman has - it's not prominent in Gaiman's prose fiction. I like it.


There's heaps of bonus material in the back, most of which has not been collected before, including a very short piece featuring Desire. Presumably the original comic is quite valuable now. It's all worth reading, including the script for the issue in which Sandman returns to Hell. Hilariously, we find out what Gaiman was watching on a B&W TV whilst writing it and that if you're not fully paying attention one might mistake Boorman's self-aware, ironic and hilarious film Excalibur for rubbish...


Bring me Volume III !