Well, friends, my plan had been to get this post ready in time for the start of the Starz version of Neil Gaiman’s novel American Gods. But I failed hard at that. I also can’t tell dates or time. Ask my best friend about the time I showed up at her house a whole week earlier than she was expecting me for vacation. But maybe better late than never? Besides, the best way to make the gods laugh is to make a plan, and I’m sure Neil would agree, and then write a story about it.
Anyway. American Gods remains one of my favorite novels and I reread it every couple years. Each time, I get something new out of it, just like I do when I reread other beloved novels. Here are some of the lines that resonated in particular for me, in no particular order. I highlight and underline and doodle and mark up my books as I read. I just randomly flipped through my copy and grabbed a few. I hope you enjoy.
- What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore, it knows it’s not foolin’ a soul.
- Every hour wounds. The last one kills.
- People believe, thought Shadow. It’s what people do. They believe, and then they do not take responsibility for their beliefs; they conjure things, and do not trust the conjuration. People populate the darkness; with ghosts, with gods, with electrons, with tales. People imagine, and people believe; and it is that rock solid belief, that makes things happen.
- Gods die. And when they truly die they are unmourned and unremembered. Ideas are more difficult to kill than people, but they can be killed, in the end.
- “Not only are there no happy endings,” she told him, “there aren’t even any endings.”
- There was only one guy in the whole Bible Jesus ever personally promised a place with him in Paradise. Not Peter, not Paul, not any of those guys. He was a convicted thief, being executed. So don’t knock the guys on death row. Maybe they know something you don’t.
- What should I believe? thought Shadow, and the voice came back to him from somewhere deep beneath the world, in a bass rumble: Believe everything.
- He was alone in the darkness once more, but the darkness became brighter and brighter until it was burning like the sun.
- Tell him that language is a virus and that religion is an operating system and that prayers are just so much fucking spam.
- The shape does not change: there was a human being who was born, lived and then, by some means or another, died. There. You may fill in the details from your own experience.
- All your questions can be answered, if that is what you want. But once you learn your answers, you can never unlearn them.
- It’s all imaginary anyway. That’s why it’s important. People only fight over imaginary things.
- “Say ‘Nevermore,'” said Shadow. “Fuck you,” said the raven.
- Even nothing cannot last forever.