In an episode of Arthur, one of the characters, Sue-Ellen, meets Neil Gaiman and embarks on creating her own graphic novel.* At the beginning of the clip, she says, “He writes novels and comics and movies and poetry—is there ANYTHING Neil Gaiman DOESN’T write?” (To which he replies, “Well, I never wrote a cookbook.” Bless.) That kind of sums up my attitude toward his work: He can write anything and does it well.Fragile Things, in my opinion, is the better of the two short collections that I’ve read. There’s more of my favorite pieces in this collection rather than Smoke & Mirrors, as well as more of a diverse range of genres, from horror to humor to fantasy to the realistic.I won’t go through every single piece in the collection, but here are the highlights. “Forbidden Brides…” is my hands-down favorite short story in this, a pastiche on gothic horror conventions and their utter ridiculousness. I have a lot fun reading it and seeing all of the jabs at classic gothic literature. Similar is “Sunbird,” although the story begins with more humor and leaves with a slightly darker turn at the end. “How to Talk to Girls at Parties” is another one that I feel sums up Gaiman’s work—light enough to be funny at parties, but with a creeping sense of darkness and horror. “Feeders and Eaters” is an outright horror story that does stay with me after I finished it. The only stories I’m not as fond of are “Pages from a Journal” and “The Problem with Susan.” I’m not familiar with Tori Amos’s The Scarlet Walk, so I don’t get a lot of “Pages from a Journal.” And then there’s “Problem with Susan,” which on its own, is a good study of what happened to Narnia’s Susan years after The Last Battle. And then we get to the flashback/dream sequences and my childhood sits in a corner, sobbing. (I’ll touch on “Monarch of the Glen” in my American Gods review.) This also has some of his better poems. I debated on purchasing the standalone edition of “Instructions,” since it’s just so beautifully written (and the accompanying illustrations of that book were wonderful). I also really enjoy reading “The Day the Saucers Came” and “Inventing Aladdin.” This is a great little collection. I don’t really recommend it for most people starting with Neil Gaiman (unless if they’re looking for horror, then I push it), but it’s highly enjoyable and showcases the man’s many talents. *Yes, I unashamedly watch children’s television.