So, and interesting story on why I re-read this collection. Being the Gaiman nerd I am, I purchased a 1st edition immediately when it came out and then had Neil sign it for my son who was very young at the time. That son is going to college in a few weeks and I decided to read the collection again before he leaves as a reminder of days gone by. My impression of the work has not changed, it is a good short story collection but does not reach the heights Gaiman reached with Smoke and Mirrors.
Do not misinterpret me, I really enjoyed it and there are some standouts within these pages. A Study in Emerald has been massively praised over the years and rightly so, as it is a great integration of Holmes and Lovecraft (even if the Kim Newman influence is pretty obvious). Goliath is another story I loved that takes place within the Matrix universe and does a really nice job of expanding some of the concepts within the original film.
The problem for me is that some of these stories and especially all the poems just fell flat for me. Sunbird, which was written for his daughter, just is uncomfortable after you finish the story. The Monarch of the Glen is a continuation of Shadow’s story from American Gods and is pretty predictable.
Is it worth reading? Absolutely. And there is a lot of good to be found here (and I did find it a bit surprising how many of the stories contained within have been turned into film/stage productions or graphic novels)