Our New Book Club Pick: Neil Gaiman's 'Anansi Boys' This month, the Bryant Park Project Book club will be reading a novel by cult hero Neil Gaiman. Anansi Boys is the very tall tale of a hapless bookkeeper named Charlie Nancy, whose dreary life in London is turned upside when his father dies.
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Our New Book Club Pick: Neil Gaiman's 'Anansi Boys'

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Our New Book Club Pick: Neil Gaiman's 'Anansi Boys'

Our New Book Club Pick: Neil Gaiman's 'Anansi Boys'

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It's time to announce the next BPP Book Club selection. So, we started a couple months of ago with the Book Club, and we inaugurated with a read by Hisham Matar. It was called "In the Country of Men." Then we read Aryn Kyle's "The God of Animals." They were both debut novels, both coming of age stories, both, frankly, a little sad. Now we are...


The titles are similar, linguistically.

MARTIN: There you go. They have that in common. And now we are going to change things up a little bit. Book Club moderator Sarah Goodyear is here to announce the new pick. Sarah, welcome!

SARAH GOODYEAR: Thank you very much.

MARTIN: So, drum roll.


MARTIN: The new book is, what?

GOODYEAR: The new book is Neil Gaiman's "Anansi Boys."

MARTIN: All right.

GOODYEAR: Yes, and it's...

MARTIN: Never heard of it.

GOODYEAR: Never heard of it! Well, there are those who think that Neil Gaiman just is the most fabulous person in the world. He has written a lot of graphic novels, a lot of comics. "Sandman "is one of his most famous things. This is, I think, his second adult novel after "American Gods," and it's just completely different from what we've been doing, and that's what I wanted to do. And I had been wanting to read him for a long time, and that's one of the reasons, selfishly...

MARTIN: Totally.

GOODYEAR: That I picked this book.

PESCA: Yes, but we should say, selflessly, we all come up with a bunch of them, and you read a lot of books that we don't pick.

GOODYEAR: And that's true!

PESCA: But, you put your reading time on the line, but could you explain the time? What is an Anansi boy?

GOODYEAR: Well, Anansi is a figure from mythology, or legend. He is a trickster spider, and he's sort of like the coyote in that he plays tricks, and there are stories, the tar baby story, the Br'er Rabbit tar baby story.


GOODYEAR: That is also told with Anansi, and the book is not so much about Anansi as it is about Anansi's son, Fat Charlie Nancy, who is a sad sack guy who lives in London, and has a bunch of adventures that suddenly he's taken into this supernatural realm, and I'll read you a little bit from the book to let you know a little bit about Fat Charlie.



GOODYEAR: (Reading) It is possibly worth mentioning that, in Fat Charlie's world, women did not simply turn up. You needed to be introduced to them. You needed to pluck up the courage to talk to them. You needed to find a subject to talk about when you did, and then once you had achieved those heights, there were further peaks to scale.

You needed to dare to ask them if they were doing anything on Saturday night, and then when you did, mostly they had hair that needed washing that night, or diaries to update, or cockatiels to groom, or they simply needed to wait by the phone for some other man not to call.

GOODYEAR: So, fat Charlie is kind of a sad sack, but he finds his long lost brother Spider who turns out to be a god, and together they set out on some amazing adventures that change...

PESCA: Well, don't give too much away! Don't give too much away!

GOODYEAR: That change the world, and Fat Charlie's life.

MARTIN: To change the world!

GOODYEAR: Anyway, it's great stuff, and I think we're going to have a lot of fun reading it.

MARTIN: Cool, very much looking forward to that. Thanks to our Book Club readers. As always, thanks for coming in. So, that's our Book Club book, folks. Neil Gaiman's "Anansi Boys." You have until Wednesday, June 4th, to read it.

PESCA: Hard deadline.

MARTIN: That's right, folks. Go to the library, go buy on Amazon, find it wherever you need to.

PESCA: It's in paperback, which is one of our requirements.

MARTIN: In the meantime, keep checking in our blog for updates about the books. Sarah moderates a conversation there, always compelling stuff. That's npr.org/bryantpark. Thanks, Sarah.

GOODYEAR: Thank you.

(Soundbite of song "Reading Rainbow Theme")

Ms. TINA FABRIK: (Singing) Butterfly in sky. I can fly twice as high. Take a look, It's in a book, Reading rainbow!

I can do anything...

PESCA: Well, that's it for this hour of the Bryant Park Project. We are online all the time at npr.org/bryantpark. I am Mike Pesca.

MARTIN: And I'm Rachel Martin. Happy Friday. This is the Bryant Park Project from NPR News. Read a book!

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