Folklore: the traditional beliefs, customs, and stories of a community, passed through the generations by word of mouth.
Published in 2001, Neil Gaiman authored American Gods. A personal adventure from an outsider coming to America. No pun intended. He traveled the states and wrote about his adventure in the eyes of the protagonist, Shadow. Although not my favorite era or genre, this book is my absolute number one. It checks all the boxes. Adventure, romance, mystery, drama, science fiction, horror, and even comedy. All parts American folklore flow into the paper between the sleeves. The design of this edition opens with a letter from the author describing the publishing of this text written 10 years later. The cover sleeve being illustrated before the story gave the author inspiration for the book.
“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 foolin’ a soul.”
As a silent narrative, American Gods can pull a reader into the story as if you are living the characters life. Shadow is your typical American guy in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people. The quality of this narrative is different in such a way that he captures memories through places and songs that instantly put you there. Urban legends surface reminding you of past stories your family would tell you around the campfire. These fictional scenes are historically accurate in the way Gaiman describes the introduction of diversity or the haphazard of meeting strangers on a plane.
Now turned into a series, I was able to read the book before watching it. In my opinion, the series captures the author’s goals and follows closely the timeline of events. For my personal journey with the book, I also built a playlist on Spotify that helped with mood setting. This book gave me respect for other cultures not known to myself both part fiction and part history believably true.