“What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore, it knows it’s not fooling a soul.”
— American Gods
I really liked the idea of the One Book, One Twitter book club, which I’ve previously written about: One Book, One Twitter and American Gods selected for #1B1T. Anything that combines social media with encouraging people to read sounds like a brilliant idea to me. And I had good intentions about writing regular blog posts documenting my experience reading American Gods and engaging with the Twitter community to discuss it, through the use of the chapter-by-chapter hashtags (a great idea to allow people to read at their own speed and join the conversation, without fear of spoilers).
So what happened? I was on track for the first week, and wrote a blog post in which I mentioned that I was having a hard time immersing myself in the book and making sense of the many (MANY!) allusions to mythology that are a central element of the story. And unfortunately, it just didn’t get any easier. The poor American Gods paperback sat on my bedside table night after night, often bypassed in favour of newer fare until a niggling sense of obligation would make me pick it up and slog through a few chapters.
Which isn’t to say that I didn’t like or appreciate American Gods; in fact, I was blown away by Neil Gaiman’s command of words and his descriptive ability. I have a sneaking suspicion that if I had read American Gods at the height of my hard-core sci-fi/fantasy phase in my late teens, I would have absolutely loved it and gotten so much more out of the book.
I also think if I had read the entire book over a single weekend, I would have been able to follow the story better and — this was the big stumbling block for me — keep track of the large cast of characters, many of whom have more than one name/persona. I often found myself thumbing back through the pages, trying to remember who was the dude with the buffalo head again? And which one is Ibis and which is Jacquel?
So I fell way behind, and never really found a convenient way to get involved in the conversation with other readers. For me, personally, it was a failed experiment, but I still think the idea is great, and I’m glad to hear rumours of another round of One Book, One Twitter coming up later this summer.
Anyone else take part in #1B1T? What was your experience like?