I think it's unlikely to surprise anyone to discover that I read at work, quite a lot. And, for that purpose, Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane is almost perfectly the wrong length. There was just enough to the book that I was able to get more than half-way through it in one twelve hour shift. Less than half of a book was left, but still too much to read before bed that night, so if I wanted to finish it before starting another book, I was going to have to bring it in the next day.
This was terrible, for two reasons.
One: Because I had to spend precious minutes of my first break going to my car to put back The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and to get The Jennifer Morgue by Charles Stross, which is the book I'm currently reading.
Two: because, after finishing the book in the first hour of my shift, I then had to spend the second hour of my shift trying really hard not to weep. Because holy crap that book was so good.
I love Neil Gaiman's work, so I'm not surprised that I loved this book. But I noticed a new thing to appreciate this time around, that I hadn't caught before. In Gaiman's books, or at least in this one, he writes extraordinarily moving, transformative fiction -- while, at the same time, making the case for the importance and value of being moved and transformed by good fiction.
The other thing I keep coming back to, in the back of my mind, after reading this book, is a pair of questions: Who has made sacrifices to give me the chance at life that I have? Not just my parents, although they count. And am I living up to the fact of those sacrifices? Am I living my life in a way that's worth other people having bothered to keep me alive?
I don't really know. I do know, however, that you should definitely buy and read The Ocean at the End of the Lane. It's brilliant.