If you were just listening to him, you might confuse author Neil Gaiman for Alan Rickman, or Benedict Cumberbatch: all three Brits have very deep, slightly nasal and unquestioning authoritative voices that we associate with professors, wizards and Sherlock Holmes. So even though by trade Mr. Gaiman is more well-known for his writing–epic graphic novels like The Sandman, fantasy staples like American Gods and Stardust and Coraline– when Mr. Gaiman decides its time to start talking, everyone else shuts up.
He even managed to make the crowd at the New York Public Library fall silent for over an hour on Sunday to hear him read A Christmas Carol, from a special copy that Charles Dickens had edited himself for live performances, and which were rediscovered by Molly Oldfield in her recent book The Secret Museum, which she spoke about after Mr. Gaiman took off his top hat. (He also wore a fake Dickensian beard throughout to help get into character, which is real commitment.) Which, considering how many children were in the audience, was a miracle on par with Scrooge’s change of heart.
“It’s a wonderful time to tell stories about the dead,” Mr. Gaiman told The Observer earlier that morning over breakfast. He was referring, obviously, to Christmas. “You’ve got winter. You got the depths of winter. You have the whole peddling around a fireside thing. You have long nights.”