The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman
The Rabid family road-tripped this weekend. And while most fancy-pants-parents stock their vehicles with movie-watching accommodations, we Rabid folk prefer entertainment the old fashion(ish) way. We listen to audio books.
Finding an audio book to wet each and every one of our listening whistles is quite a challenge. I mean, princess stories are out because I hate princess stories. Memoirs are out, because, let's just face it, only bad stuff happens in memoirs – at least only the memoirs with bad stuff get published and recorded for audio. Science fiction is tricky these days, because of their go-nowhere spaghetti plots, and details that are so far-out they're boring.
And so it was, on a day like today, but last week, I asked the facebook crystal ball to recommend a good audio book for us. That's what your facebook status is for... did you know that? You ask it stuff and it tells you answers. Sometimes it even provides solutions, like life-jackets, where you can have register your car AND have fun, halloween costumes... you name it! Facebook is the modern-man's crystal ball.
Through the haze of said facebook crystal ball, the recommendations came fast and furious. I received two apparitions for The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaimen. I downloaded the book and we gave it a stab. The trip to and from St. George was enough time to finish it. Sevenish hours, I believe.
The Graveyard Book is the tale of a small pacifier-sucking child who's family is murdered one night. By chance, and perhaps by some mischief, the toddler had escaped the house before the murdering. Somehow he made it to a nearby graveyard – a graveyard whereby the dead float around. Somehow the child's dead mother had begged the dead floating people to raise their child. Somehow the dead floating people agreed. Somehow they were able to get him food and schooling and other stuff. (You'll have to read the tale yourself to know about all of those Somehows.) Because the boy looked like nobody they knew, the dead-floaters decided to name him "Nobody." Called him "Bod" for short.
Each chapter is a self-contained graveyard adventure that gets tied together nicely at the end. I've since learned that the chapters are based on some Rudyard Kipling, so perhaps I'll get my meat-hooks on a printed copy and do some real research.
This Graveyard Book is a children's story, but it sounds disasterously morbid, doesn't it? It is! And it's awesome! I loved it. Spouse loved it. The Yahoos loved it. The reading was presented by the silky-smoth superbness of Mr. Gaiman himself. We want a sequel.
The segments of the audio version were separated by some fun spooky-like music. The Yahoos liked the music. It donned on my that it's That Time of Year – That Time of Year being the Spooky-Music time. And boy, do I have the Spooky Music all lined up ready, thanks to last year.
The tune on the audio book was one called Danse Macabre by Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns. It reminded me of all the classical spooky tunes that I have. Here's a sampling, for your spooking pleasure, inspired by and for, the spooking time of year. Spook it up, yo:
Danse Macabre - Camille Saint-Saens
Toccata & Fugue D Minor, BWV. 565 – Johann Sebastian Bach
Carmina Burana - O Fortuna Carl Orff
Ride Of The Valkyries – Robert Wagner
Totentanz – Liszt
Communio: Factus Est Repente – Some random old guys who call themselves "Greg"
Also Sprach Zarathustra (Opening Fanfare) – Richard Strauss
Symphony No. 7 In A, Op. 92 - II. Allegretto – Ludwig Van Beethoven
Symphony No. 9 In D Minor, Op. 125, "Choral" - II. Molto Vivace – Rossini
Requiem In D Minor, K 626 - Dies Irae – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Piano Sonata No. 2 In B-Flat Minor - III. Marche Funebre – Chopin
Le Sacre Du Printemps (The Augurs of Spring (Dance of the Girls): Igor Stravinski
Offertorium: Terra Tremuit – Other old random guys who call themselves "Greg"
Praeludium (Fantasie) & Fuge in G Minor, BWV 542 – Johann Sebastian Bach
Peer Gynt - Suite No. 1, Op. 46 - Death Of Ase – Edvard Grieg
Don Giovanni - Overture – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Violin Concerto No. 3 In F Major, Op. 8/3, RV. 293 - 'The Four Seasons': 'Autumn' – Handel (This one isn't all that spooky, but it is autumn, you know, when the spooks come out.)
The Planets, Op. 32 - Uranus, The Magician – Gustav Holst
In The Hall Of The Mountain King (From "Peer Gynt") – Edvard Grieg
Chorus Of The Witches: Che Faceste? (From "Macbeth") – Verdi
The Old Castle – Mussorgsky
Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, Sz.106: III. Adagio – Béla Bartók
Transylvanian Lullaby – (From "Young Frankenstein," Jenny Oaks Baker has the best recording, but it's not on youtube.)
Night On Bald Mountain – Modest Mussorgsky (Do you think Modest Mouse go their name from Mussorgsky? Just put those two together!)
Etude In C Minor, Op. 25 No. 12 - Chopin