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Harry Potter & the Philosopher's Stone
J.K. Rowling
The Skillful Teacher: Building Your Teaching Skills
Jon Saphier, Robert Gower
Dan Simmons
Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman Neverwhere by Neil Gaimen is good. I particularly liked the idea that cities we know exist side by side with parallel cities under them that contain violence, uncertainty, magic, the supernatural, and derelicts. The main character, Richard, was probably my least favorite part of the book. He just was not that compelling, though his presence did not ruin my enjoyment of his adventures. Gaimen purports in an introduction that his goal was to create an Alice in Wonderland, a Narnia, a Wizard of Oz feeling for adults. Those moments existed for sure as Richard's act of kindness to a dirty, wounded girl he passes on the street results in his induction into London Below. Much of the plot revolves around the girl and her quest, which Richard joins. She's okay, a damsel in distress, who hires a female bodyguard named Hunter and also relies on a shifty fellow called the Marquis de Carabas to avoid two ancient, notorious, and extremely effective killers named Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar. The quest challenges them, in some ways foreseen, but much of it entertained me, especially when Richard crossed a bridge with an unfortunate girl, when the Marquis makes a big gamble, and during the Big Reveal.

I think of Gaiman as a good writer, capable of pulling off some amazing feats, so I was surprised to come across instances of what I thought was lazy writing, such as a few places where I thought things were told when they should have been shown. Oh well.