Anansi Boys

While on our wild, arctic adventure, Rocco and I listened to an absolutely beautiful audio book – Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman.  This audio book was particularly wonderful because the actor on the recording, Lenny Henry, did a magnificent job of mastering the many dialects of Gaiman’s characters.

I know it makes me beyond uncool to love audio books, but I still do.  I love to listen to them while I’m painting or while I’m out for a walk.  It’s like having someone whispering a story in your ear…but without the awkward hot breath issues.

You know how sometimes you have an intense, almost debilitating craving for something…but you have no idea what that craving is for?  And sometimes you aren’t even aware of the craving?  Everything just looks a little dingy?  Flat?  And you start to wonder if something has broken in you or if the world was always flat and dingy and somehow you just hadn’t noticed?

And then you stumble upon a thing that magically satisfies that craving long after you’ve stopped looking for it and finally accepted that what there is must always have been all there ever was?

Yeah.  That’s this book.

If I were to describe it in a single word, it would be delicious.

The only downside of listening to books rather than reading them is my inability to highlight the passages that make me swoon.  But there was one passage so captivating I ran home and transcribed it for you guys.  Man, am I good to you or what?

A voice from the creature, smooth as buttered oil. “He-llo,” it said. “Ding-dong. You look remarkably like dinner.”

I’m Charlie Nancy,” said Charlie Nancy. “Who are you?”

I am Dragon,” said the dragon. “And I shall devour you in one slow mouthful, little man in a hat.”

Charlie blinked. What would my father do? He wondered. What would Spider have done?…

“Er. You’re bored with talking to me now, and you’re going to let me pass unhindered,” he told the dragon, with as much conviction as he was able to muster.

“Gosh. Good try. But I’m afraid I’m not,” said the dragon, enthusiastically.  “Actually, I’m going to eat you.”

“You aren’t scared of limes, are you?” asked Charlie, before remembering that he’d given the lime to Daisy.

The creature laughed scornfully. “I,” it said, “am frightened of nothing.”


“Nothing,” it said.

Charlie said, “Are you extremely frightened of nothing?”

“Absolutely terrified of it,” admitted the Dragon.

“You know,” said Charlie, “I have nothing in my pockets.  Would you like to see it?”

“No,” said the Dragon uncomfortably, “I most definitely would not.”

There was a flapping of wings like sails, and Charlie was alone on the beach.  “That,” he said, “was much too easy.”

Go read Anansi Boys.  Or, if you’re willing to join the ranks of the woefully uncool, go listen to it.  And then tell me if things don’t start to look a little shinier.


  1. I am already terribly uncool, as I have listened to that book and many others on my ipod. It’s the only thing that makes exercise tolerable. If you like that one, you should listen to Fragile Things, a collection of Neil Gaiman’s short stories read by him. He has a yummy voice to go with his yummy stories.

  2. With such a rave review, how can I say no? With all the book recommendations I’m getting from my fellow bloggers I’m going to have to build a bigger bookcase.

  3. My friend, who loves audiobooks, also loves being read to (and reading to others). I’m not always a fan of being read to, but I love listening to a well-told story. So, maybe I’ve just been framing audiobooks all wrong…

    1. It has a LOT to do with the reader, too. Like David Sedaris is always better when read by David Sedaris. But Augusten Boroughs should hire someone else to read his writing. Like Ona!

  4. will you be my book whisperer? please, pretty please with cheesecake on top.

    also, nothing scares the bewitched out of me, too! and ennui. nothing and ennui, please don’t have them in your pockets when you come whisper for me.

  5. I love listening to a good story. Garrison Keillor is a master, the news from Lake Wobegon is therefore at the top of my list. He came to town a few years ago and his stage show (not Prairie Home Companion – which actually came later that year) is essentially a two-hour news from Lake Wobegon. So – I do love the spoken word. Unfortunately I do not frequently find myself with long stretches of time where I’m doing nothing so I can listen. Long car trips are about it.

    (Despite what SisterMaryHellish says, I do not commute – nor am I a madam.)

    1. I have no idea why this comment amused me so much, but it did. And then some. Last night I tried to explain to Rocco why I kept saying Madame Bob and giggling. I failed.

  6. I love all books – audio, e, paperback, hardback, etc! LOL Neil Gaiman is sheer genius. I loved Anansi Boys and American Gods too! I love all his works. I also follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

      1. You mean they’re not?

        The only audiobooks I don’t get are the erotica ones. There’s tons of them on itunes. I mean, are you going to listen to that on the bus? While driving across country? On the treadmill? Or is it just so you can have your hands free?

  7. I was just forced to read a book about the Kardashians so my eyes and ears have been ripped out and off. After I’ve healed emotionally and physically I will attempt this “audio book” you speak of.

    1. Why on earth would you voluntarily do that? Is there a laugh track included? Roofies? Oh pookie. Is this some sort of weird Catholic penance thing?

  8. That craving you were talking about? YES. Help. I’ve always been an avid reader, but it seems between all my other hobbies (and duties), I haven’t read an actual book since the summer. The shame! Sounds like this is just what I need in my life.

  9. Just started American Gods this vacation. I, however, am READING it. But you’re from Jersey so even listening to a book makes you like a member of MENSA. (That’s good-natured abuse for all the Long Island cracks).

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