Art matters, by Neil Gaiman

I’ve had a pretty busy week, but today, I got to read a 5 stars book ! It’s called Art matters, by Neil Gaiman, and with illustrations by Chris Ridell, published in September 2018. This review might be a bit messy, because I’m writing it while procrastinating right before a final exam, but this book is EXCELLENT so I hope you’ll stay to read it 🙂

When I got the library copy of this book, I only knew two things about it :

  1. That Neil Gaiman wrote it.
  2. That one of the sentences from this book was :

The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before

I’m 100% convinced that anything by Neil Gaiman is worth reading. This book, which is a compilation of texts that have already been published separately – Credo, Why our future depends on libraries, dreaming and daydreaming, Making a chair and Make good art – , is no exception to that rule. It’s about creativity, and the power of words and art in our lives, and in our world.

The text I liked the most in this book is the last one : Make good art. When I was a child, I dreamed about writing books one day, and Gaiman’s words in this essay hit really close to home :

Sometimes, the way to do what you hope to do will be clear cut, and sometimes it will be almost impossible to decide whether or not you are doing the correct thing, because you’ll have to balance your goals and hopes with feeding yourself, paying debts, finding work, settling for what you can get.

My dreams of writing are still there, and I hope to realize them one day, but I still have to balance that goal and the hundred other things I want to do, should do, and have to do in my life. It’s a difficult topic to think about, but a necessary one, I think, for anyone who wishes to make art, whether it’s photography, illustration or writing : if you can’t dedicate every hour of your day to your art, that doesn’t make you any less of an artist, and it doesn’t diminish the value and quality of your work.

Choose art. It matters.

Other things in this book are very meaningful for me : I’ve been struggling with imposter syndrome for a few years now, in university, because every time I pass an exam with a good grade, I feel a bit like what he describes in the next few pages – that one day, the fraud police will come to my door and tell me they noticed I wasn’t in my place, that I had been given too many opportunities to do things I shouldn’t have been allowed to do.

The fact that such a famous and successful author acknowledges this, and talks about his own experience with impostor syndrome, is very important to me, and it’s one of the many reasons why I would definitely recommend this – as a gift for a friend, for a sibling, or for yourself !

This is a book that reminds you that yes, this idea that you have, this project you would like to do, this thing you want to make – you should do it.

Take a chance, and make art that’s yours. Make good art. It matters.

Breaking up is hard to do… but you could’ve done better.


Breaking up is hard to do, but you could’ve done better is a book by Hilary Campbell (who is also the co-illustrator of Feminist fight club), published in January 2019. I received a digital copy of it from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is a really funny collection of short breakup stories, and I liked it a lot. A breakup is generally painful, sad, and sometimes a mess, whether you’re dumping someone or you’re the one being dumped by your (now ex-)significant other, but the author manages to make you laugh all the way through her book, starting with the dedication, in which she writes :

To that one dude, for being such an inspirational dick.

From “the guy who throws his gameboy at his ex when she dumps him” to “the one that demands she give him back the underwear he got her as a gift”, all 100 pages of breakup drama have their own cute little illustration, and even though some of those don’t add a lot to the story in itself, they do add to the humor in the harsher breakups.

All those stories come from different people, which explains the slightly different tones between the various texts, but the drawings serve a double purpose here, and help the author give to this collection a feeling of consistency.

A critic could be made that the premise of the book is a pretty simple one, and that it doesn’t require much effort (or time) to read it, but if you’re looking for something light and fun to read on a sad, rainy day, this is the book you want !