I haven’t really checked this thoroughly, so I may be wrong, but I’m pretty sure Neil Gaiman is the most popular author on the list with no less than five entries. This blindsided me a bit as I know he’s popular, and I’ve read this, Stardust and American Gods before, but I really didn’t think he was that popular. And I like his books, but I’m not sure I’d place them in my top ten, as so many people obviously have. Still, I definitely don’t mind reading Neverwhere again; it’s a good, entertaining read.
Gaiman’s books are really good in a different kind of way to the others on the list. His characters are straight out of fairy tales and the settings are outlandish, but the themes are universal. Neverwhere in particular has a very strong sense of time and place: young professional Richard Mayhew’s life is recognisable to thousands of readers because it is their life. When he is plunged into a part of London he’s never seen before, London Below, this becomes something of a coming of age journey for him, interspersed with some fish out of water comedy, extreme violence and clever puns.
I say read this, and when you’re done, give it to the Londoner in your life. They’ll love all the place related puns, and also they’ll never be able to hear the announcer say ‘Mind the gap’ without shivering slightly. Ha.