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.


richard said...

Gosh, isn't Fforde terrific? I've read three now, I think - or maybe just two, I'm not sure - and I'm cheerily looking forward to enough time for the next one.

Frankly I think JF is a reliable sign that the world is a good place to be.

richard said...

So, um, where's the "thoughtful review" your loyal readers were promised? ;-)

Nicole said...

I've been frantically searching your blog looking for references to Terry Pratchett. I saw your comment on Richard's post on The Fourth Bear. Do you have any specific recommendations? I'd like to try Pratchett, but after looking at the list of his books, I can't imagine where to begin. I'm very interested in this character you mention, The Librarian.

Oh, and it is always good to find another Fforde fan!

fiona-h said...

@ Nicole:
I haven't written anything, really, in this blog (about TP).... but there are so many recommendations! The great thing about the Diskworld series is that the books are all about the same world, but focus in on different people in different parts of the world. There is overlap, which is fun - some characters are main characters in some of the stories, and mentioned only in passing in others.

Check out the wikipedia article for Diskworld - it breaks the series up into "Groups." The Librarian (my fave) is usually in "The Wizards" group of books, because he is the librarian at the Unseen University (where the wizards live/work).

I also quite like the witches (in "The Witches" group of books) and the city watch characters.

Death is in all (or nearly all) of the books.

I have to confess that the titles are blurring together for me -- so I can't give you specific recommendations (I can't remember what happened where), but I don't think you can go wrong :-) Maybe start by reading a couple from the same group so you get to know some of the characters first and then branch out to a different group.

It's great you're interested! But be aware that reading Terry Pratchett novels will up your geek quotient by a massive amount :-)