Neil Gaiman Will Perform Dr. Seuss If We Raise $1 Million For Refugees

Katherine Brooks
(Photo: Michael Kovac via Getty Images)
(Photo: Michael Kovac via Getty Images)

The Cheesecake Factory’s menu is the In Search of Lost Time of the restaurant industry, in that it is far too long and probably includes a madeleine or two.

Neil Gaiman is a very famous author (American Gods, Stardust, Coraline) with a notably soothing British accent, who has nothing to do with the Cheesecake Factory but has been dared to read its convoluted bill of fare anyway.

How’d this happen?

It all began with writer/comedian Sara Benincasa, a self-professed cheesecake addict, whose Twitter bio now reads “Neil Gaiman Will Read The Entire @Cheesecake Menu If We Raise $500K For @Refugees.”

In a Crowdrise campaign launched today, she outlined her mission to coax Gaiman into performing a dramatic reading of the menu ― which, according to Benincasa, consists of at least “8,000 pages,” representing what we feel is a very reasonable estimate.

The campaign states plainly:

I asked Neil Gaiman if he’d do a live reading of the Cheesecake Factory menu if I raised $500,000 for a charity of his choice. And because he’s not just a great artist but a great person, he said yes. He chose UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency. I want to hit this goal by World Refugee Day on June 20.

Why? Well, why not?

Gaiman has already agreed to comply with the absurd Cheesecake challenge. If, you know, his fans are capable of scrounging together half a million dollars before June 20. Plus, he’s since upped the ante, offering to read Dr. Seuss’s Fox in Socks if fans pledge an additional $500,000 ― that’s $1 million total ― for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

So far the campaign has raised just over $17,00, so Gaiman’s readers certainly have some donating to do. Go ahead, make your strange, seemingly arbitrary, Cheesecake-laced (or Seussian!) dreams come true here.

And don’t forget the incredibly necessary hashtag: #neilcake.

This piece has been updated to reflect Gaiman’s more recent charity pledge.

Related...

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EXCLUSIVE: First Look at the Comic Book adaptation of Neil Gaiman's AMERICAN GODS

This Couple Loves Cheesecake Factory So Much They Took Engagement Pics There

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Buckminster Fuller, the inventor and artist known for his love of geodesic domes, his faith in Dymaxion cars, and his desire to “make the world work for one hundred percent of humanity,” is a fascinating subject. He was both an intellectual and a character straight out of a sci-fi novel, who believed so deeply that collaboration was necessary to combat our planet’s changing circumstances. Jonathon Keats manages to bring the 20th-century ideas of Fuller into the 21st century, arguing that the visionaries’ utopian proposals are more possible than ever. -KB

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Modern women may bristle at the idea of a book that wrestles with the pros and cons of sex-positive feminism. Fair enough. But as a mother, Orenstein finds the question working its way into her personal life. So, as a journalist, she pursued it fervidly, interviewing over 70 college girls, getting to know the gritty details of their sex lives thus far. In doing so, Orenstein has created an illuminating ethnographic study of feminine youth. Sections of the book are dedicated to hook up culture, to rape culture, and to the celebrities upheld as emblems of sexual expression. Orenstein confronts a generation that seems foreign to her with openness and kindness, and in doing so shows us a thing or two about ourselves. -MC

Read our review of Girls & Sex.

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Allow yourself to be drawn into this memoir by Mara Wilson-as-Matilda's sweet cover photo, stay for the well-wrought insights on fame and loss. Wilson, the rare Hollywood scribe who is as compelling on the page as she was on the screen in her heyday discusses the death of her mother, mental health and — yes, of course — fascinating tidbits from the "Matilda" set and beyond. -JC

"Agnes Martin and Me" by Donald Woodman

Donald Woodman describes himself as "assistant, friend, and sometime adversary" to the late, great Abstract Expressionist Agnes Martin, for whom he worked for seven years . Martin lived in isolation in New Mexico, producing minimalist canvases and concise, meditative mottos summarizing her practice. She said things like "No, I am not any of those stereotypes that are placed on women. I am an old woman, but I insult the male ego so men don't like me around." If you love the artist, you'll love this quiet recounting of her life and influence. -KB
Donald Woodman describes himself as "assistant, friend, and sometime adversary" to the late, great Abstract Expressionist Agnes Martin, for whom he worked for seven years . Martin lived in isolation in New Mexico, producing minimalist canvases and concise, meditative mottos summarizing her practice. She said things like "No, I am not any of those stereotypes that are placed on women. I am an old woman, but I insult the male ego so men don't like me around." If you love the artist, you'll love this quiet recounting of her life and influence. -KB

"Adnan's Story" by Rabia Chaudry

If you listened to "Serial," the smash hit podcast that investigated the harrowing case of Adnan Syed, a man convicted under peculiar circumstances of murder in Baltimore back in 2000, then you'll fly through <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Adnans-Story-Search-Justice-Serial/dp/1250087104" target="_blank">this book</a>. Rabia Chaudry certainly provides a biased recounting of Syed's story -- she believes thoroughly that he's been denied justice, a foil to the critical lens provided by Sarah Koenig. But if you can't let the case go, here's your extended reading. -KB
If you listened to "Serial," the smash hit podcast that investigated the harrowing case of Adnan Syed, a man convicted under peculiar circumstances of murder in Baltimore back in 2000, then you'll fly through this book. Rabia Chaudry certainly provides a biased recounting of Syed's story -- she believes thoroughly that he's been denied justice, a foil to the critical lens provided by Sarah Koenig. But if you can't let the case go, here's your extended reading. -KB

"Land of Enchantment" by Leigh Stein

Land of Enchantment is the official nickname of New Mexico, where writer Leigh Stein lived briefly when she was in her early 20s and madly in love. She met Jason at a play audition, and the two moved to New Mexico together so he could work while she wrote; the plan was that after a year they’d move to LA so he could audition while she worked. Instead, he became abusive and the relationship fell dramatically apart. Several years later, by then a professional with a new boyfriend and living in New York, she got a phone call from an unfamiliar number: Jason had been killed in a motorcycle crash. <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1101982675/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=thehuffingtop-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1101982675&linkId=ed8e83be55a65c2e7d320582f16d1e73" target="_blank">The elegiac, poetic memoir</a> Stein wrote about their tortured relationship, her grief for him, and her lifetime of depression and isolation hits on resonant notes for anyone who’s unexpectedly lost a loved one, been through an abusive or unhealthy relationship, or struggled with mental health issues. That means if you’re prone to weeping while you read, you should have a hanky ready. -CF<br /><br /><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/leigh-stein-land-of-enchantment_us_57e3deebe4b0e28b2b527820"><i>Read our interview with Leigh Stein.</i></a>
Land of Enchantment is the official nickname of New Mexico, where writer Leigh Stein lived briefly when she was in her early 20s and madly in love. She met Jason at a play audition, and the two moved to New Mexico together so he could work while she wrote; the plan was that after a year they’d move to LA so he could audition while she worked. Instead, he became abusive and the relationship fell dramatically apart. Several years later, by then a professional with a new boyfriend and living in New York, she got a phone call from an unfamiliar number: Jason had been killed in a motorcycle crash. The elegiac, poetic memoir Stein wrote about their tortured relationship, her grief for him, and her lifetime of depression and isolation hits on resonant notes for anyone who’s unexpectedly lost a loved one, been through an abusive or unhealthy relationship, or struggled with mental health issues. That means if you’re prone to weeping while you read, you should have a hanky ready. -CF

Read our interview with Leigh Stein.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.