I'm kind of a pessimistic sort and can usually find the bad in anything, but I'll admit, when it's 60 degrees and sunny in mid-January (rare, even for Atlanta), I'm able to put aside my fears about climate change for a bit and revel in the ability to go sit in the sun, drink Pilsner Urquell, and write for a bit. Unfortunately, #3 on that little list turned into "staring helplessly at an empty page," which hampered my enjoyment of #s 1 and 2, so I read, instead.
#2 -- "Good Omens" by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
I read this when it first came out, back when I was young and skinny, and didn't really think about in the intervening years until last year, when I thought "hey, I bet a first American hardcover of Gaiman's first book goes for lots on eBay." Wrong, as it turns out, so I left it alone. Then Tapeleg mentioned it in the comments of another post, and I made a mental note to (rather than sell it) read it again sometime.
After reading "In Europe," and sort of afraid to start on "Mason & Dixon," I told anyone who would listen¹ that I needed to read something escapist. And thus, I found myself blowing the dust off of "Good Omens" yesterday.
When I got this, I'd never heard of Terry Pratchett, and Gaiman was just starting to become known for his comic work on Sandman and Black Orchid. I probably bought it because of Gaiman's DC Comics connection and because (I dimly recall) it was described as "like Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but about God" or somesuch. In the intervening years, I've gone through and ended a Pratchett phase, gone through and ended several comic collecting phases, and Gaiman's become a best-selling author and hero to millions. I've gone from being a gawky 17-year-old to a moody 34-year-old. How would "Good Omens" hold up?
Pretty well, as it turns out (and honestly, I didn't expect it would). I laughed a lot -- I'm not one to laugh out loud too much, being a man of serious thoughts, but I cracked up a few times sitting out on the Pilsner Urquell-supplying patio this afternoon. I probably get a few more of the jokes, the occasionally saccharine tone doesn't bug me like it probably did at 17. I feel a bit of guilt for reading it instead of something I haven't read before, but not enough that it'll prevent me from enjoying the NFL playoffs (go Seahawks) this afternoon. In short, if you like Hitchhiker's, and haven't read this (unlikely, I admit), pick this up.
¹ Not as many people as you might think