Fragile Things Readalong: Post the First

Of course I’m a day late posting my thoughts on Neil Gaiman’s first four stories in the collection Fragile Things.  Yesterday started off badly, but ended up happy.  I spent my evening hours blithely stitching away and listening to Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.  Then I crawled in bed and read a RIP read (Lady Audley’s Secret).  It was an enjoyable read, but it isn’t wise to stay up until one in the morning reading when one has a non-sleeping baby boy.

But I digress…

This morning I woke up and realized that in all my introvert retreating into books and stitchy things I forgot to post.  So here we are, belated posting. 

The first four pieces of Fragile Things are the introduction, “A Study in Emerald”, “The Fairy Reel”, and “October in the Chair.”  I’ll try to describe what I loved and what I didn’t, but with no spoilers.

  • Introduction:  I love Neil Gaiman introductions and I remember being especially delighted with the last collection’s, Smoke and Mirrors, introduction.  Gaiman goes through each piece of his collection and describes a special something; a memory connected with writing the piece, an image, the history of the writing, a significant influence…. It all makes for fascinating reading and I feel as if he is in the room across from me chatting away over a cup of coffee.  It is so lovely to feel quite chummy with an author one has never met.
  • “A Study in Emerald”:  A Lovecraft meets Sherlock Holmes meets Victorian alternative universe.  Need I say more?
  • “The Fairy Reel”:  Alas, my brain slid over each lovely phrase in this poem.  I recall that it is about fairies and dreams and it seemed sinister and I enjoyed it, but I can’t recall the details.  Yay for book remember #FAIL. 
  • “October in the Chair”:  I loved this story.  October — yes, the month — is sharing a story with all the other months as they sit around a large campfire.  The story concerns a runaway boy named Runt and a little ghost boy named Dearly.  This story drove me mad, but in a good way.  SPOILER !!!!!!!!!!!!!  Basically Runt wants to join his ghostly friend and Dearly sends him to an creepy house with the warning that “one of them may do it.”  October’s story ends with Runt entering a sinister house with rustlings and then……. NOTHING. The story ends.  I’m dying to know what happens to Runt!  

I’m already digging into the next set of stories and hopefully I’ll post on time next week. 

Happy RIP Reading!



  1. You captured the voice of the Introduction perfectly. It does read at times like Neil is just having a friendly conversation with you. Love that about him.

    A Study in Emerald is fantastic, most especially with some Doyle and Lovecraft knowledge going in. Don't blame the real heroes of the story for their actions. I wouldn't want to live under the old gods either.

    The Fairy Reel is really fun read aloud.

    I like to assume that after something terribly awful happens our young Runt gets to live with and hang out with Dearly at the cemetery. That is what I like to imagine, as long as I don't imagine what happens in the house. Yikes!

  2. Who cares if they're a day late?! I'm just so glad to get to read them! I know what you mean about The Fairy Reel being a bit easy to skim over (I had to MAKE myself read it about four or five times before I really 'got' it) but if you ever get the chance to go back to it, it's really quite remarkable! I was also left basically pulling my hair out when we didn't know what happened to Runt inside the farmhous – I JUST WANT AN ANSWER!!! But, of course, Gaiman isn't that kind of author, and I love him for it!
    – Chelsea

  3. @Carl V. I may go back and re-read the Fairy Reel. I love the language of poetry. And, I wouldn't want to live under the Elder Gods either!

    @Chelsea. I KNOW! I love filling in the blanks with that story, but at the same time I scare myself.

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