I have just finished Neil Gaiman's very new and really nice book Anansi Boys, and I'll quote him from the postscript:
"... I'd like to go on record grumbling about the current complexities of the copyright system, which means that you're quoting four words of a song and you have the publishers suddenly saying, 'OK, we'd like two thousand dollars for that, please.'
And you're going, 'You must be joking,' and have to rewrite a line or two in the book instead."
... I couldn't agree more. Although I don't think it is so much "complexities" in the copyright system as probably simply big corporations these days being very, very greedy and over-possesive and super-protectionist.
I've noticed it happens in films too. Film producers wants a character to sing a verse from a song, and it can't happen because the copyright owners of the song wants a lot of money for it! I am sure it happens also with art work seen in the background of films and all kinds of things.
It is ridiculous, people, OK? If we don't let the other kids play with our toys, just a little bit, then all of us will be stuck with only our own toys and we will all be poorer for it.
... Oh, and the book is good too. Although I think Neil Gaiman is not the strongest in the world regarding creating suspense/plot in a book (he usually fakes it by hinting at a great conflict ahead which never really appears*), he is great at quirky humor and equally quirky characters, and lots of, uh, quirky ideas and concepts kicking about. I recommend his books American Gods, Anansi Boys, and Coraline, as well as his comics, not the least Sandman.
*This may get challenged, so I better support it:
1) the storyline in the The Sandman where Morpheus went to hell to confront Lucifer. It was made very clear that there would be a frightful battle... which never happened.
2) The predicted apocopalyptic war in American Gods, which also failed to materialize in the end.
3) It is hinted a few times in Anansi Boys that things would become really bad in the end. Also never happened, except briefly.
I am not complaining, I don't need battles. It is just an observation.
I think though that Anansi boys (the first half only) needs something to make you read the story, like what is the essential problem the character has to solve... it is not at all clear. Suspense, in the classic definition: you don't know what will happen, but you do care.