American Gods by Neil Gaiman

This book was intense and obscure. I feel like there was more to it than I was able to take away.

On one level of things, there's the novel and fantasy aspects of the book. The conflict between this guy Shadow, his world, and the gods and schemes that inhabit it. That part of things is interesting, but it drags and it's a bit simplistic. The whole main plot, with Wednesday recruiting people and his devious plan to cause chaos for his own sake, probably could've been done just as immersively in 50 pages. The intertwining of all these other gods' backstories into that plot can seem arbitrary. The mechanics of why Wednesday's plan work are difficult to follow and can seem inconsistent. Is this a fantasy book or is it philosophy? If the former, then I want a consistent schematic for how the games in the book get played. If the latter, then perhaps a bit more depth as to what is trying to be explained. I feel like the book got stuck in the middle, a bit. That's for me why it gets 3 stars.


The reason the book is really interesting is the more subtle explanation of what belief is and why it's important or rather what it does for the patterns that manifest it: society, individuals, etc. How does belief integrate with reality? Is reality independent of belief?

There are things explained in the book that I feel had a lot more meaning than I was able to extract. This, I think, was more my problem than the book's. It makes me want to go back and try again, as there seems to be something to learn lurking in there. I can feel it.

Glad I read it.