Last month, while still in the heat of deadlines, I read Neil Gaiman’s American Gods over the course of ten days. Normally, for a book of this length (the version I read was 588 pages) it would have taken me about two days to finish, but since I was in the middle of deadlines, I didn’t have as much reading time as I would have liked.
Also, I found myself reading every single word, slowly, letting myself be pulled into the atmosphere of the book. Gaiman’s writing is like that, I find; where I’m usually one to gallop through a book, flipping pages, inhaling the story, with his books I tend to take my time. The whole thing becomes quite a joyous ramble.
Over those ten days of reading American Gods, I had two Saturdays during which I was able to devote a good five to six hours to the book. On Saturday mornings I take my son to drama class and then to dance class; consequently, I have time to read while I’m waiting for the classes to finish. That first Saturday, I continued with my reading of American Gods, and, as often happens when I dip into a good book for an extended period of time, when we got home, I picked up the book again and kept reading.
I’m normally a late riser, so another thing happens most Saturdays. By around three or four in the afternoon, I’m tired, and in need of a nap. On that Saturday, I read American Gods until I was in danger of dozing off, and then I did what I normally do on Saturday afternoons. I took a nap.
And I dreamt about American Gods. Not the characters, or the story, but the book itself, the atmosphere woven by the words, the greyness, that sense of something real underlying the not real underlying the real.
It was truly the most awesome thing ever. And, I thought, probably something that wouldn’t happen again.
Except that it did. The next Saturday followed the same pattern – I devoted another five or six hours to American Gods, and then I slept, and I dreamt, and it was the same dream. There I was, deep inside the landscape of American Gods.
I’ve never experienced this before, but I know one thing. At whatever future date I reread American Gods (and I expect I will), I’m going to sleep right after. Because that dream was amazing, and I’d love to have it again.
Gaiman’s words are really magical.