Why Neil Gaiman is Like a Toffee-Coated Banana

Want to feel jealous in a bookish manner? Go look at Neil Gaiman's library. The colours, the layout, the view from the windows and the mind-boggling amount of books.. I hardly ever covet anybody else's possessions but I do covet that room. On the topic of Neil Gaiman, people tend to assume that he is one of my favourite authors and I am at loss to explain why this is so. I have received emails from dear friends with subject lines like "Neil in Edinburgh!!!" (at which point I flailed happily around the house until Other Half pointed out that the email referred to Neil Gaiman and not Neil (yes, in Casa Bookish there is only one Neil and he needs no surname)). Other friends have assured me that if I run out of reading material, they have plenty of Gaiman books  they'll put at my disposal. And yet other friends approach me asking if I've read the latest Gaiman novel?

I've read two and three-quarters Gaiman books: American Gods, Neverwhere, Good Omens (co-written with Terry Prachett) and Odd and Frost Giants. None of these clicked with me - Neverwhere came closest, I think. American Gods is said to be Gaiman's finest and most complex work so far and it left me completely cold. I did like the film adaptation of Stardust.

I understand that people are passionate about their favourite author and I get that  people want to share their passion, but once I have read a couple of books by an author I am able to make my mind up about an author and decide that, nah, that guy isn't really for me. In that respect, Neil Gaiman is a bit like Ian McEwan. I read Amsterdam (still the worst Booker prize winner, in my opinion) and Atonement (horrid), listened to people going into raptures over McEwan, read a chapter of Black Dogs, and decided to choose Life over reading another page.

I suspect the "you must love Neil Gaiman' thing has to do with demography: I am in my early thirties, like geekery, am a Firefly and Doctor Who affectionado - and Gaiman just sort of goes with that territory. I still consider Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials one of my favourite reads this past decade, so sometimes I do find books within that niche that I really like. Gaiman just doesn't do it, though.

Have you ever experienced something similar? Have you read, listened to or watched something you knew you were meant to be Just Your Thing, but you just couldn't get into it? Other examples of mine include Bjørk, Tori Amos, Jonathan Safran Foer, and, well .. banoffee pie.