But all, all are fragile things made up using just 26 letters arranged and rearranged again and again to form tales and imaginings

-Neil Gaiman, Fragile Things

Fragile ThingsThe inevitable commercialisation of the book industry was clear once the disparity between hard and paper back releases became a standard. To read a book on day one, you’ll have to shell out for the hard back edition which, pretty and sturdy as they may be, are somewhat overpriced. What I didn’t realise is just how high that markup is. Neil Gaiman is, as you know, one of the few authors who captures my imagine (and wallet) enough to draw me into that purchase on release. His new collection of short stories, Fragile Things, comes with a reasonably hefty retail price of £17.99. You can imagine my shock, then, to discover Amazon selling it for just £8.99! Quite how the high street chains get away with such a huge markup is beyond me, but I urge you not to buy from them at such extortionate levels — I’m reasonably confident Neil isn’t seeing any of the money.

This is, somewhat improbably, the second book I own named Fragile Things, the other being a now impossible-to-find novel about a female glass artisan. I have yet to actually read much of Gaiman’s new offering, so a recommendation would be somewhat premature. Yet simply based upon the fascinating Smoke and Mirrors collection, I feel I can nonetheless. Reading time will become more limited once term starts in earnest, but I shall endevour to highlight my favourite bits over the next several weeks. There is nothing I enjoy more than to share his fabulous arrangements of letters, words and sentences.