My friend Richard put me on to Jasper Fforde. I'm halfway through his second book in the Tuesday Next series, Lost in a Good Book, and am just loving it. Watch this space for a thoughtful review—but make sure you set a timeout interval or you're liable to expire before one appears.
For now, let me just say that I've seen comparisons to Terry Prachett and Douglas Adams, but neither seems quite right to me. These books are meatier. They are full of literary allusions; I'm madly taking notes of things I should read or re-read or research to see if they're real or made-up as I work through them. Right after reading The Eyre Affair, I beelined for a copy of Jane Eyre in the bookshop. I meant to buy it and read it, thus filling one of many embarrassing (but not unexpected) gaps in my literary education, but I'll sheepishly tell you that instead I just flipped straight to the end to see whether or not Jane actually ended up with Rochester. (She did! Hoorah!)
I'll do my best to marshall my thoughts about these books into something sensible for my next post.