The Time of the Ghost, by Diana Wynne Jones, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman
These two were both re-reads, but I specifically wanted to read them together and compare. I had only read Ocean once, so it was really nice to go back and notice a lot of details that had become fuzzy or that I maybe hadn't noticed the first time around. I know Time of the Ghost very well. I have talked about both of them here before--here is my review of Ocean, and here is Time of the Ghost--so I don't want to re-state those thoughts.
When I first read Ocean, I thought it was probably Gaiman's sort-of tribute to DWJ, whom he famously thought a lot of. Jenny thought so too, and then she actually met Gaiman and he SAID SO and that he thought it was most like Time of the Ghost. I would like to know much more about his thoughts on that! Thus this pairing of reading and this post.
I'm not a dedicated Gaiman fan--I always read his books, but I don't follow him online or anything, although I am always so impressed by his speeches on libraries and books and freedom that I really ought to because he says a lot that I think too, only he says it much better--(deep breath, that sentence kind of got away from me there) so maybe he has said something about his thoughts on this and I just don't know it. (If you know of something, send me a link!) Honestly if I met him IRL I would probably want to talk about DWJ and her amazingness, and ask him about that. So.
Elements in Ocean that I see echoing Time of the Ghost include--well, most obviously, an old (ancient) female monster something from another...plane? that wants to suck the life out of people and anything else she can get. This was a thing with DWJ, hungry mothers and variations thereupon, and I don't remember Gaiman doing it much before. He softens the idea with the Hempstocks, who are at least as ancient, but benevolent. Also, a preoccupation with the local landscape and the particular homes of people, very detailed. Anybody notice anything else? Some images, I think--waving fabric, perhaps, and worms.
It's a good experience, reading them together, so I do recommend it as an interesting exercise.
One last thing--Gaiman opens Ocean with a quotation from a New Yorker article that was a conversation between Maurice Sendak and Art Spiegelman, published in 1993. I remember that article! A friend of mine was given it by his sister and I remember the dialog and the drawings on the page vividly. Here is a good copy of it.