Fantasy

The Thursday Next Series by Jasper Fforde

Ahhh the great Jasper Fforde… A relatively new author (he published his first book, The Eyre Affair, in 2001), he has so far published 11 books, although he supposedly has 3 coming out this year, another one next year and another one (at least) in 2014. He´s most famous for his “Thursday Next” series, although his “Nursery Crimes” ones are brilliant too! I can´t account for the “Shades of Grey” or “Dragonslayer” series, as I haven´t gotten my mitts on those yet.

So, how do I even begin to explain the Thursday Next books? I could tell you that they are set in an alternative Swindon in, well, the first book anyway, 1985.  I could say Thursday is a Spec Ops agent with a special gift for ‘jumping’ into books. I could explain that the characters in the novels involved in the ‘jumping’ are self-aware, knowing they are in a book. However, one little post is too small to discuss all the amazing contents at length, so let´s just say they feature: time-travelling fathers and sons, giant evil corporations, the ‘Seven Wonders Of Swindon’, Neanderthals, imaginary children, real children, book-jumping heroes, book-jumping villains, FootNoterPhone, Advertext, military Mrs Danvers clones, gravo-tube journeys from England to Japan, re-engineered and dopey Dodos, a baby-sitting gorilla that is married to a colonel, clock-work butlers, grammar-eating monsters, talk shows, the Abridged Bridge, croquet ‘super-hoop’ finals, dessert-induced apocalypses, sabotaged ejecto-hats, Shakespeare characters, Presidents ‘for life’, politicians, Miss Havisham, jurisfiction, vampires, afterlife, ‘Women’s fiction’ and ‘Racy Novel’ engaged in border wars, cliffs of notes, an island of ‘Books Only Students Read’, Jane Austen landscapes, stalkers, a minotaur, and the dreaded cheese tax.

To fully enjoy the books, it´s helpful to have general literary knowledge, but not essential. Basically, if you are a fiction nerd, these are the books for you. If you are any type of bookworm, the references to all kinds of books, including the classics, make these the books are for you. If you are a first time reader and want to start enjoying fiction, these books are for you. Do you like/ love/ want to start/ enjoy/ hate/ despite/ are bored with/ don´t want to read? Then these books ARE FOR YOU!

Fforde especially has a creative mind that connects random thoughts, wishes and references to popular (and un-popular) culture, mixes them together, and churns out a story that will have you flying towards the last pages of the book. There is even an annual festival in Swindon (where else?) described as “a weekend of silliness inspired by the works of Jasper Fforde” dedicated to his work. This year, the Ffiesta will be held on 2nd and 3rd June 2012 at the Village Hotel, Swindon with a 1952 theme for those interested, I won´t be able to make it but count on me being there next year without a doubt!

So, my recommendation is to curl up with Thursday on your sofa and enjoy 🙂

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Categories: Fantasy, Jasper Fforde | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

The Discworld – Best of the Best!

One of my absolute-favourite-all-time-authors is, without a doubt the great Sir Terry Pratchett.

I ‘discovered’ him thanks to an online friend, she said he was a fantastic author so I went out and (randomly) bought “Going Postal”, the 33rd Discworld novel and my first. I read it straight away, despite having a backlog of oooohh at least 12 other books ‘to be read’, and had to admit my friend was right, he was an amazing author!

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Obviously I started collecting his works straight away (no mean feat as I live in Spain but collect books in my native English, hurrah for the internet!) and I soon picked out my favourites. Strangely, even though it was my first, “Going Postal” is not one of my favourites. I loved -and still love-  Vetinari, but my absolute favourite characters are Nanny Ogg, Granny Weatherwax, Death, Mustrum Ridcully, Sam Vimes and, of course, the unforgettable “Nobby” Nobbs.

Pratchett´s dry observations about society, our worries and our issues are hilarious, poignant and right on the ball. His books are a mix of sarcasm, wit, magic and pure genius. They can be read as a series or alone, and you can expect to find observations on ANY subject, ranging from football, dancing, foreigners, Hollywood, death, science, fairy tales, rock’n’roll, hierarchy, literature, modern-day films and much more. I couldn´t possibly pick out my favourite Discworld books, so don´t even ask! 😉

A person who since 1983 has written two books a year on average, sold over 75 million books worldwide in thirty-seven languages, has an asteroid named after them, was the UK’s best-selling author of the 1990s, and is currently still writing despite suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, is a genius in anyone´s book surely. The cherry on the top of the cake is his fabulous collaboration with Neil Gaiman (another great) with “Good Omens”, if you haven´t read this book I´d totally recommend it, Terry´s wit combines perfectly with Neil´s dark humor, you can really see a bit of each author in the story.

My Pratchett collection is sadly almost, but not yet, complete. I am missing his children´s novels, The Dark Side of the Sun, Strata, the Tiffany Aching novels, Snuff, and The Fifth Elephant. I will also be looking to add The World of Poo to my collection when it comes out on the 7th of June this year.

So, if you know of the great Pratchett, which are your favourites? And if not, what are you waiting for??

By the way, I know I said I was going to wait for a few days until I posted for the first time.. But you know what Fridays are like 🙂

Categories: Fantasy, Terry Pratchett | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

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