TBR Guillotine is a monthly meme created at vicariously&voraciously where we are taking the oldest book on our TBR and either cutting it from the list, or reading and reviewing it. This meme is an effort to go through the older additions to our TBR’s and see if we are really still interested in reading these books, and if we are then we are getting it done. Feel free to join us in this attempt to clear up our extensive TBR lists and maybe even find some backlisted favorites!

2213661The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Added to TBR February 11, 2010
Decision: Read and Review

What took so long to read this:

Honestly, I always knew that I would eventually pick this up because I am a big Neil Gaiman fan but it seems that here lately I have been so caught up in new releases and continuing series that I’ve already started and so this kept getting pushed to the back burner.

Why Read instead of Remove:

I decided to read this instead of removing it from my TBR because like I said above, this was always one I knew I would eventually get to one day. This prompt helped me to go ahead and make that decision and read it instead of putting it off any longer and I am happy to say it was a great decision because I loved it!

When reading books its easy to get caught up in your interpretation of the story and let your imagination take you away. Its not very often that you know what inspired the author to write a book or what their thoughts about the message that they wanted to portray within the words on each page. I tend to blast from one book to the next and take little time to find the inspiration behind the words. That is something I am going to start working on changing because in this case the muse for this book was what actually drew me to become so interested in the book as I read it. The author wanted to write a story like one we’ve all heard before, The Jungle Book. But in this case the jungle is a graveyard and the animals are ghosts. Just the premise of a child being raised in a graveyard by ghosts is nothing like anything I’ve read before, and probably nothing like anything I’ll read again. With such an original idea and intriguing inspiration I couldn’t let my curiosity down and pass this book up.

I ended up loving every bit of this book, from the gruesome beginning to the tender moments in between to the heart wrenching ending, I was hooked. It started off in true horror fashion with a murder of an entire family except for one small child who manages to escape his death only to end up in a graveyard surrounded by the dead. But its thanks to these ghosts that baby Nobody grows up to be the slightly odd, but brave and honest young man he becomes.

The setting mostly takes place among the graves that Bod grows up amidst with a few other locations around the small town that surrounds the graveyard.  Its a dark and dreary setting, living in the shadows never to leave the grounds for fear of the man who hunts him down. When Bod arrives as a nameless baby the ghosts of the graveyard call forth a meeting and decide that they will keep him as their own and name him Nobody Owens, Bod for short. Along with the ghosts, there is another who has agreed to be Bod’s guardian and he belongs to neither the living nor the dead, therefore he is able to visit the world of the living to get Bod what he needs in order to grow up somewhat educated.

There’s just one problem, although Bod has a family of sorts, and lessons to learn, and food and clothes he is still rather lonely being the only living being in his life. So when a girl shows up one day to play in the graveyard, Bod is instantly drawn to her and befriends the girl. Thinking that he must be imaginary the girls parents let her return to play with her friend on a regular basis. Good things never last and in this case when Bod’s new friend must move away he is once again left to his ghostly family.

This book was interesting in a way that we learn about how as humans we are always in need of companionship, and we gravitate towards other humans. We are not meant to be alone, and no matter what kind of company we keep, we yearn for those like us. Not only that, but even in the toughest of circumstances with a murdered family, and ghosts as guardians, we can still grow to be courageous and kind. Bod was the example of someone with morals and who looked out for others. He was not afraid of being bullied, and he did not wish ill towards others even though he was given such unfortunate circumstances for most of his life.

This is a middle grade book and so it definitely read as such which is probably why I was able to read it in one day. But that didn’t take away from the big message it was meant to portray. I felt like I was right there with Bod through his whole journey to adulthood. I was rooting for him at every twist of fate. I wanted him to find a life among the humans but you don’t want him to lose his ghost family either. It was so much more of a heartfelt book than I originally thought it would be and I ended up loving it. I highly recommend giving this one a read when you have that little bit of time between all the other books on your plate. It was quick and enjoyable.

If You Liked This Book:

35403058If you’ve read and enjoyed The Graveyard Book, then definitely read City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab. These books reminded me so much of each other. Both eerie a little bit on the dark side, but since both were also middle grade books, they kept the lightheartedness that appeals to a younger audience. I love that in both they are next to impossible to put down because you are instantly swept away in the creepy tales that both books tell. City of Ghosts has a sequel coming out this year so this would be the perfect book to gobble up before the next comes out!

Let’s Discuss:

What books are on your TBR that you have had on there for so long that you’re not even sure if you want to read it still? Its hard to keep up with all the books you want to read when there are so many more that are constantly being published that sometimes I look at my TBR and just want to cry, There aren’t enough hours in the day, and days in the week to ever finish the amount of books I want to read! What are some of your biggest backlisted books on your TBR? Let me know!

Next Book on the Guillotine:
Coraline by Neil Gaiman – What are your thoughts, should I chop this one or read it?!


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