At Westerly Library & Wilcox Park: Open Your Mind to Everything Neil Gaiman | Guest columns

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One of the prerequisites for becoming a librarian is a mild to moderate obsession with Neil Gaiman (and cats, of course). He’s a strong advocate for public libraries, so we love him for that, but he’s also extremely talented. His books appeal even to those who don’t like fantasy. His children’s books are ageless. His comic book series, “The Sandman”, was one of the first and very few graphic novels to hit the New York Times bestseller list, garnering more attention and reputation for the genre. And finally, nearly all of his work has been adapted for the screen to rave reviews…including, most recently, the aforementioned comic book series.

If you’re a Netflix subscriber, I’m sure you’ve noticed “The Sandman” on their top 10 list. Many viewers are likely longtime fans of the comics, who have been waiting more than three decades for a screen adaptation. If you want to read the original series, which ran from 1989 to 1996, it has been compiled into 10 editions, all of which are available in the library. “What is it about?” you ask? Like most of Gaiman’s work, it’s nearly impossible to summarize. When asked to tell the story in 25 words or less, the author replied, “The Lord of Dreams learns to change or die, and makes his decision.” Not wrong, but also not hugely useful. It’s probably best to jump in and start reading (or watching)!

As I said, this isn’t the first of Gaiman’s works to be adapted for the small screen. “American Gods” (2001) is a novel about the war between the Old and New Gods, and an ex-con named Shadow who gets stuck between them (again, not a good summary). The TV series was released in 2017 and ran for three seasons, all of which are available from the library. Another is “Good Omens” (1990), which Gaiman originally wrote with famed author Terry Pratchett. The fantasy comedy series based on the novel was released in 2019, starring Michael Sheen and David Tennant, and was recently renewed for a second season. I highly recommend it. A third series, based on “Anansi Boys” (2005), is also on the horizon, having wrapped filming earlier this year.

If you fancy more from Gaiman, all of these books and more are available through our Consortium of Libraries. “Ocean at the End of the Lane”, which has thus far NOT made it to the screen, is my favorite Gaiman book ever. It’s a dark fantasy about childhood, memory and monsters, and it’s short enough that you can read it in an afternoon…that’s exactly what I did when it’s first released in 2013. It really was a very well spent evening, and I hope you will too!

Most requested books

  • 1. “The Nantucket Hotel” by Elin Hilderbrand
  • 2. “The It Girl” by Ruth Ware
  • 3. “Verity” by Colleen Hoover
  • 4. “Man 6:20” by David Baldacci
  • 5. “The House Across the Lake” by Riley Sager
  • 6. “Chemistry Lessons” by Bonnie Garmus
  • 7. “It’s Ending With Us” by Colleen Hoover
  • 8. “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • 9. “Horse” by Geraldine Brooks
  • 10. “The Summer Place” by Jennifer Weiner

Most requested DVDs

  • 1. “Downton Abbey: A New Era”
  • 2. “Lost City”
  • 3. “Elvis”
  • 4. “Last Alive Seen”
  • 5. “The Beatles: Come Back”
  • 6. “Where the Crawdads Sing”
  • 7. “Minions 2: The Rise of Gru”
  • 8. “Everything everywhere at the same time”
  • 9. “CODA”
  • 10. “Jurassic World: Dominion”

This week

MONDAY — 10:30-11:30 a.m., Zumba in the Park – A free Zumba class at Wilcox Park.

TUESDAY — 9am-10am, Yoga in the Park with Chelsea Hauck – Meet behind the pond for a yoga practice for all levels; 4-5pm, Weekly Summer Dungeons & Dragons – A teen-led Dungeons & Dragons campaign! Registration is mandatory; 5:30-7:30 p.m., Club Tricot et Crochet – The group meets on the 2nd floor of the library.

WEDNESDAY — 9:30-10:00 a.m., Essentrics Stretch in the Park – Bring mat, towel and water; 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Summer Family Storytime – A family storytime, for children from birth to 11 years old when accompanied by a caregiver; 2-3:30 p.m., Virtual Tech Social – We meet on Zoom to answer your technical questions. Prior registration is required; 2-3:30 p.m., Animation Nation – It’s the last week of our exciting LEGO stop-motion movie making program!

THURSDAY — 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friends of the Library’s ephemeral book sale – Swing by the Friends of the Library’s ephemeral book sale on the esplanade; 2-3pm, drop-in art class with Olean Center – Stop for fun crafts led by Phebe Poppins; 4:00-5:00 PM, Teen Book Club – The club will be discussing “Firekeeper’s Daughter”, as well as all the other books our club members are reading! We’ll meet at Teen Space and head to Wilcox Park, weather permitting; 5:30-6:30 p.m., Zumba in the Park – A free Zumba class at Wilcox Park; 5:30-7:30 p.m., Chess Club – Players of all skill levels are welcome.

FRIDAY — 9am-10am, Yoga in the Park with Michael Dotolo – Join us at the back of the pond.

SATURDAY — 9am-12pm, URI Master Gardener Kiosk – Get research-based answers to all your gardening questions; 10am-11.30am, walking tour of Wilcox Park | Native Flowers and Trees – On this tour you will learn about the value of the natives and learn about the park’s native perennials and trees. The visit begins and ends on the esplanade; 10:30-11:30 a.m., Zumba in the Park – A free Zumba class at Wilcox Park; 6-8 p.m., Stage Door Theater Presents: Macbeth – Please join the Stage Door Theater in Wilcox Park for a production of “Macbeth,” directed by Eugene Celico.

SUNDAY — 3-5 p.m., Stage Door Theater Presents: Macbeth – Please join the Stage Door Theater in Wilcox Park for a production of “Macbeth,” directed by Eugene Celico; 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Music in the Park – Bring a blanket or chair and listen to evening folk tunes with “Songs of the Heart and Spirit” by Geoff Kaufman!

Cassie Skobrak is the Adult Services Librarian at Westerly Library & Wilcox Park.

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