The Browser's Bookweb
Fantasy Shelf

The Sandman by Neil Gaiman

Preludes & Nocturnes, The Doll's House, Dream Country, Season of Mists, A Game of You, Fables & Reflections, Brief Lives, World's End, The Kindly Ones and The Wake

The Death Miniseries: Death: The High Cost of Living and Death: The Time of Your Life

"After all, there are a thousand other sights to see here in the dreaming. And many things to learn..."

There isn't any jacket text that can sum up The Sandman—it's a 10-book, 2000+ page epic tragedy comic book that ran for seven years (1989-1996) in 76 monthly issues. "Graphic novel" is usually just a fancy way of saying comic book, but in this case it's a decent description. Sandman is the story of Dream of the Endless and his six siblings, Destiny, Death, Destruction, Desire, Despair, and Delirium. None of them are what you'd expect—Death is a teenage punk rocker worth dying to meet. The series has been used in several college literature classes, and each book is prefaced by an introduction by various illustrious authors attesting to Gaiman's genius. The series also has quite a following on the web: The Dreaming is a great general site. Once you've started reading the series, make sure to visit the Sandman Annotations, a project documenting the myriad of historical, mythological, literary, and just downright obscure references in Sandman. Even if you never read comic books (I usually don't), this series should not be missed. It's one you'll remember forever.

"...And then, fighting to stay asleep, wishing it would go on forever, sure that once the dream was over, it would never come back,
...You woke up."

"Nothing less than a popular culture masterpiece, and a work that is braver, smarter and more meaningful than just about anything 'high culture' has produced during the same period."
—Mikal Gilmore

"These are great stories, and we're luck to have them. To read now and maybe again, then, later on, when we need what only a good story has the power to do: to take us away to worlds that never existed, in the company of people we wish we were...or thank God we aren't."
—Stephen King

"Along with all else, Sandman is a comic strip for intellectuals and I say it's about time."
—Norman Mailer

"One of the most stunning stories of the last half century...Gaiman has invented, out of whole cloth, a mythology not just of the comics but of storytelling itself."
—Frank McConnell

Also recommended: anyone who likes Neil Gaiman's books will love Only Forward, and vice versa.