I didn't realize that it was a short story collection, and even though I just finished another short story collection, I jumped in to this one. I even read the introduction (something I'm usually inclined to skip), which was charming and succinct--a little background about each of the included stories. If you read this, don't skip the intro.
I warmed to the stories slowly, not really getting into the book until "Bitter Grounds" on page 85 (possibly because of the story's quasi-academic scene). After that, I found the stories more readable and more likable, though they seemed to get more gruesome. Many of the first stories (and some of the later ones) were (slightly) altered retellings of favorite childhood ghost stories; those (mostly) didn't meet my expectations for something authored by Neil Gaiman.
There are a few stories for which I would recommend the book as a whole (the joy of short story collections: you can skip what you don't find yourself enjoying): "Bitter Grounds," "Fifteen Painted Cards from a Vampire Tarot," "Strange Little Girls," and "The Monarch of the Glen." (The last story is An American Gods novella.) But if it's between Fragile Things and one of the other Gaiman works listed in the beginning, go for the other one.
A few lines I found interesting (or funny):
- I was beginning to wonder whether he had a right arm. Maybe the sleeve was empty. Not that it was any of my business. Nobody gets through life without losing a few things on the way.
- There's no making her do anything. Not her. She's Mary Poppins.
- I think the world will end in black-and-white, like an old movie.
- We save our lives in such unlikely ways.