We are well into Richard, our hapless hero’s adventures in London Below. Chapter 10 ended on a bit of a cliffhanger so I’m keen to hear your thoughts. Below are mine, plus discussion questions and important notes about next week. Also a quick reminder to go back and check your previous posts to see if there are any replies, and feel free to reply to eachother, there have been some great discussions.
Today’s featured photo is by @writinglaraferrari whose photo of a cute little rat was accompanied by a tiny little story, make sure you check out her instagram account to read it! Your photos are incredible, choosing a feature image is the hardest part of this read-along. I can’t wait to see your photos for the next challenge, and I’m planning to make a collage of all my favourites (including some which missed out on features that I loved) once we finish reading!
Week 3 – Chapters 6 – 10
“[The Marquis] is a little bit dodgy in the same way that rats are a little bit covered in fur.”
Honourable mention to the Marquis himself: “I have always felt that violence is the last refuge of the incompetent, and empty threats the final sanctuary of the terminally inept.”
– The Earl
– Angel Islington
We have passed the halfway point! 168 pages down and 150 to go, though I know a few of you were not able to resist and have read further or even finished already. I found this section a little slower, it felt like catching my breath after the hectic first section. A lot happened though, including the Marquis stealing candy from a baby at the end of chapter 6, a visit to The Earl’s Court, Door & Richard gate-crashing Jessica’s exhibition and then drinking Atlantean wine with an angel, and of course de Carabas getting himself into the kind of trouble he may not be able to talk his way out of.
One of my favourite things about this novel, and it comes up in some of his other work is they playful way Gaiman takes things we know well and turns them on their head by interpreting them literally. In this section Richard ignores Hunter’s warning to ‘Mind the Gap’ and has to be rescued by her once again. It’s just one variation of those ubiquitous warnings you ignore, like the safety briefing on planes. To me this is an example of Gaiman poking fun at society and the disconnected lives we lead, where we are rarely truly present. Throughout this section Richard demonstrates this attitude, he is meeting amazing people (and things) and a whole other world is being revealed to him, and yet he tells the angel he wants his ‘normal’ life back, the life we saw that he wasn’t very much enjoying when he was in it. The scene where Jessica finally ‘sees’ him, and promptly tries to have him removed from the building was a wonderful representation of the relationship they had where she could never really see him for who he was, only who she wanted him to be.
I can’t wait to see what the next section will bring (especially for the Marquis, he’s so entertaining), for those who are falling behind it’s a short section of 60 pages so you should be able to catch up, or if you are speeding ahead I will try to write up the discussion post early, so keep an eye on my instagram throughout the week.
(Feel free to reply to each other, and to ignore my questions if you have something else to talk about!)
1. This section opens with Richard writing a ‘mental diary’ cataloging his experiences and how he feels about them. Do you keep a diary or journal, and if so do you use it as a way to cope with stressful situations?
2. What was your favourite quote in this section?
3. Which was your favourite thing Gaiman has interpreted literally so far?
4. Mr Croup says there is a traitor in the group, do have any theories about who it might be and why? Or do you think Mr Croup is just trying to make trouble? [For those who have read ahead please only mention things that happen in chapters 5 – 10]
Next: Week 4 – Chapters 11 – 15
Discussion date: 23th October
Photo Challenge: #whereiread – Where do you read Neverwhere? There are dozens of you from all around the world, so get creative, show me (and eachother) your reading corner, cozy bed, fav cafe or park. Share something iconic from your country, region or city or perhaps your fav reading buddy if you have a pet. Be creative!
Remember to use the tag #BabblingBooksRA on your photos, and feel free to tag me @babblingbooks in your captions. I’ll be reviewing the tag throughout the week and choosing my favourites to be featured next Thursday.