Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Love Books? Need a Good Laugh?

I can honestly say that the Thursday Next books by Welsh author Jasper Fforde are some of the most intelligent gut-busters I've ever read.

Detective stories don't normally do much for me - but crime thrillers set in an alternate universe where characters from famous books can (and do) get kidnapped, cloned dodos and neanderthals wander and people can get arrested for fooling around with Shakespeare - now that's entertainment.

The Thursday Next books (The Eyre Affair, Lost in a Good Book, The Well of Lost Plots and Something Rotten) are kind of a cross between hard-boiled crime novels, literary exposés, and the silliest political statements you'll ever find. Thursday (yes, that's her real name) is a "literary detective" in (as the book jacket copy calls it) "a surreal version of Great Britain, circa 1985." Her job involves tracking down the bad guys who perpetrate crimes against books - such as kidnapping Jane Eyre right out of the pages of her own novel.

I'm convinced Jasper Fforde must have a very interesting mind to think up all of this stuff. He's recently moved on to a second, equally-loony series based on crimes against nursery rhyme characters.

If you've ever wanted to jump into the pages of a favorite book, you need to give these a try. My favorites are actually number 2 and 3.

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