M Is for Magic
by Neil Gaiman
This is a book of short stories, so I can't really summarize much. Overall, it was sort of a mixed bag for me. Some of the stories I really liked... and some of them I really didn't.
M Is for Magic is classified as a middle-grade book, but I'm not sure that all parents would find all of the stories suitable for their kids. There was a bit of bad language (though I can't remember what it was at the moment), and a naked troll who is described... well, in detail. If you don't want your 10-year-olds reading about mythological creatures with hairy penises, then you should probably give this book a pass.
I'm not normally a huge fan of short stories. They make me feel like I'm in high school again, and I always feel like there's going to be a test later. For me, a short story is too short. I don't really get a chance to care about the characters or what happens to them. So I have to give Gaiman some credit here: he managed to make me care about a few of the characters in a couple of the stories.
The highlights here are "Chivalry", about an old lady who finds the Holy Grail at the Oxfam shop, and "The Witch's Headstone", a story about a boy who lives among the ghosts in a graveyard, which later went on to form part of The Graveyard Book (and now I must read that!). Other stories, such as "The Case of the Four and Twenty Blackbirds" and "Don't Ask Jack" didn't hold my interest at all.
I'm not really sure how to rate this one. Gaiman writes well, and when he's good, he's very good. In any case, I think I'll have to alter my ratings a bit to reflect a book of short stories.
Overall: 3.75 out of 5