Neil Gaiman — comic book writer, graphic novelist, cult hero, lover of the fantastic, and now, reteller of myths — says he has one composer he listens to while he writes.
It’s Michael Nyman, creator of the “propulsively pounding scores” for the sex-and-death-obsessed films of Peter Greenaway, including “The Cook, the Thief, the Wife and His Lover,” “A Zed and Two Noughts,” “The Draughtman’s Contract,” and “Drowning by Numbers,” which were made in the 1980s. (Nyman is also known for composing the acclaimed soundtrack of “The Piano.”)
“I can play those over and over again,” Gaiman said in an interview with NewsHour correspondent Jeffrey Brown about his new book, “Norse Mythology,” which retells the dark, ancient myths for a modern age.
Gaiman said he is also listening to “50 Song Memoir,” the new, autobiographical album from indie pop band the Magnetic Fields, in which each song tracks one year of frontman Stephin Merritt’s life.
“Merritt is one of our great songwriters. Until now he’s made a point of saying: these songs are not about me. And suddenly, having done that, he writes one song for year of his life,” Gaiman said, “The first 25 years are funny, and the second 25 years keep breaking your heart, over and over again.”
Gaiman also recommended a “glorious hodgepodge of things” he is reading, including:
— Steve Erickson’s upcoming novel “Shadowbahn,” which Gaiman said was a “beautiful, moving, strange examination of apocalypse and rebirth”
— Henry Mayhew’s “London Labour and the London Poor,” a four volume study of Victorian street and working people, “like a Charles Dickens novel that goes out in all directions”
— “Our Mutual Friend,” by Charles Dickens, a dark satire of London
— Novelist Armistead Maupin’s new book of memoirs “A Logical Family,” which contains a “completely scandalous three-page sequence” featuring Armistead and actor Rock Hudson
— Ray Bradbury’s “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” a book that Gaiman loved as a boy
Get more of his recommendations below: