Saturday in the Stacks

Instructions – Review

Saturday is the perfect time to wander through the stacks (that’s librarian-speak for “bookshelves”) and talk about books and the people who write them. Pull up a comfy chair and settle in, because today I want to chat about a perfect little volume from two fantasy masters: Instructions, written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Charles Vess.

Instructions bills itself as “Everything You’ll Need to Know on Your Journey”. It’s a beautifully illustrated lyrical poem that guides the reader through a fantasy adventure of their very own, leading them down dark paths, glittering rivers, and back out again. You encounter eagles, ghosts, giants and so much more — you may even find yourself along the way.

Frequent readers of this blog with know that I am a huge and unabashed Gaiman fan, so perhaps its no surprise that I’m returning to his work yet again to see what it has to teach us. Charles Vess, however, may be less well-known to readers. He collaborated with Gaiman on Stardust, and is an American fantasy artist and comics artist who has specialized in the illustration of myths and fairy tales.

Why this book and why now? Well, it’s Spring, my dear readers, and with Spring comes new beginnings and the start of new adventures. This unassuming little book is, in my opinion, one of the very best gifts you can give to a new graduate, new parent, or to yourself as you start off on a new chapter in your life. The illustrations are fodder for even the most tired imaginations, and Gaiman’s words will transport you to a place where every thing is possible as long as you stay true to yourself.

Is there a book that is a ‘go-to’ for you at this time of year? That you find yourself returning to at the start of new adventures? That rekindles your adventurous spirit? Let’s chat about it in the comments!

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Published by rsjeffrey

Robin Jeffrey was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming to a psychologist and a librarian, giving her a love of literature and a consuming interest in the inner workings of people’s minds.

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