I included this book in my list of 52 books this year because it is one of the two books that Tim Ferriss raves about on nearly every podcast episode. The other book is Vagabonding, book 5 of this year’s reading list, and one that I did not particularly care for. Tim says he reads between 50 and 150 books a year. So, if after reading all of those books, this one is still in the top two, well then, I had to read it.
The Graveyard Book is a children’s book about a boy who barely escapes death as a toddler and winds up under the protection of ghosts in a graveyard. The boy, Bod, short for Nobody Owens, spends his childhood (ages 0 – 15) in the graveyard and must confront fears, bullies, killers, and loneliness. He engages ghosts who died over a 2,000-year time-span, so he meets some interesting characters.
It’s a very entertaining book. I was completely engaged and it was hard for me to put it down. It was also neat to read a book that twists your thinking in the sense that it takes place in the land of the dead instead of the land of the living. The ghosts in the graveyard seek to keep Bod alive while outside forces in the land of the living want him dead. It was also a good reminder that there are things beyond what we can see.
Every time a dead person is introduced in the book, we get to see what is written on their tombstone. That was a cool feature of the book. My favorite one was:
“What she spent is lost, what she gave remains with her always. Reader be Charitable.”
I liked that this book came up in my reading order just around Halloween. Tim Ferriss says he returns to the audiobook version of this book (narrated by the author, Neil Gaiman) while taking hot baths and pairing that with cold showers. It seems to be a familiar story for Tim, one that allows him to tune out and think and just enjoy the story. Although being thoroughly entertained by The Graveyard Book, it would definitely not be in my top two favorite books or even my top 50 for that matter. This would be an enjoyable book to read to your children in their middle school or early high school years.