I have a bad habit of not reading lauded books until a decade later. (I also tend to not watch beloved TV dramas until their final season ends). This is one I regret putting off for so long. For a bookworm who nestled in the pantheons of every mythology as a child, this book is a true treasure, and a fantastic story besides. I like circles. I like the old stories, which circle back on themselves, showing us what was there all along. Neil Gaiman does this with several looping rings, juggling them like the master grifters he describes. You see it coming, but his distractions are deft and satisfying. As a writer, you often find it difficult to truly enjoy a book purely as a reader. You’ve seen the innards, and they are unpleasant. When you read a masterful storyteller, the mechanics are so smooth, you don’t mind. This is that kind of magical story, and one I wish I’d read ten years ago, and savored it since.