Neil Gaiman is a storyteller. That title encompasses quite a few pursuits, most of which seemingly involve writing — writing novels, writing radio dramas, writing comic books — but he also occasionally tells stories the old-fashioned way: speaking aloud, and to an audience of rapt listeners. Traditionally, such storytelling happened in a circle around the campfire, but as a storyteller of the 21st century — albeit a master of timeless techniques who uses those techniques to deal with timeless themes — Gaiman can tell stories to the entire world. Today we’ve gathered all of Gaiman’s streamable readings, both video and audio, in one place.
Nearly every type of text at which he has tried his hand appears in this collection, from novels (The Graveyard Book) to novellas (Coraline) to poetry (“Instructions,” above) to manifestos (“Making Good Art”). Suitable as his voice and delivery are to his own work, Gaiman’s live storytelling talent also extends to the works of others, as you’ll find out if you listen to the selections on the second list below.
The material varies widely, from nonsense or near-nonsense poetry like Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham and Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” to the work of his friend Ursula K. Le Guin to a classic like Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven,” whose Gothic atmosphere will no doubt appeal to Gaiman’s fans.
And Gaiman certainly has his fair share of fans. If you already count yourself in that group, you’ll need little convincing to do a binge-listen of his readings here. But if you aren’t yet familiar with Gaiman’s work in all its various forms, you might consider using these pieces of video and audio as an entryway into his narrative world, with its emotional chiaroscuro, it modern-day mythology, and its unflagging sense of humor. There’s plenty of Neil Gaiman out there to read, of course, but with his style of storytelling, sometimes he must simply be heard — if not around an actual campfire, then on that largest campfire ever created, the internet. These texts will be added to our list, 1,000 Free Audio Books: Download Great Books for Free.
- “Click-Clack the Rattle Bag” – Free Video
- Coraline – Free Video
- “Harlequin Valentine” – Free Audio at Last.FM
- “How to Talk to Girls at Parties” – Free MP3
- “Instructions” – Free Video
- “Orange” (read live) – Free Video
- “Other People” (read live) – Free Video
- “Making Good Art” – Free Video
- “The Day the Saucers Came” – Free Video
- “The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury” – Free Audio
- The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains – Free Audio
- The Graveyard Book (a novel read live with illustrations) – Free Video
- The Wolves in the Walls – Free Video
- “Witch Work” – Free Video
- “A Study in Emerald” – Free iTunes
Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.