The Eyre Affair
Lost in a Good Book
The Well of Lost Plots
I love reading literature, a term that is difficult to define, but which I am using here to mean serious fiction - fiction that is heavy and makes you think and isn't easy. Happiness is elusive or complicated, endings uncomfortably resemble reality, and it can be a bit depressing. Yes, I love this, because it makes me feel real, complex emotions and often to think about life in a new way. But every so often I need a break. Enter Thursday Next, Jasper Fforde's literary heroine (literally).
Something Rotten picks up two years after the end of The Well of Lost Plots - Thursday is still hunting the Minotaur, running Jurisfiction, and raising a two-year old - and she is ready to return to reality. So she packs her bags and returns to Swindon, to find that everybody's least favorite corporation has become a religion, fictional politican Yorrick Kaine is campaigning to become dictator and lobbying against the Danish, and the local croquet team needs to win the championship to prevent the Apocolaypse. Oh, and Thursday's the only one who can do anything about it. Really, the only way you can use to describe this book is as a romp. It's ridiculous and hilarious, but still manages to make you feel smart (at least if you can kinda sorta follow the time travel rules, or lack thereof).
|Fforde is clearly a Dr. Who fan.|
I also love how self-aware this book is at all times. For example, after nearly being run over by a steamroller, Thursday explains to Hamlet:
A lot happens in the real world for no good reason. If this were fiction, this little incident would have relevance thirty or so chapters from now; as it is it means nothing - after all, not every incident in life has a meaning. (76)Of course, this IS fiction, so the steamroller incident is totally relevant (and, assuming that this isn't your first Thursday Next novel, you mark that page so that you can come back to it when your done and figure out the relevance).
Oh, and then there's the croquet, which is much more of a competitive, violent, American football-style sport than what you'd imagine, though it still has English-style obstacles, like a tea party in the middle of the field, attended by real people. It also has a trio of judges, because every game starts off with various suits by each team's lawyers, in an attempt to gain an advantage before play even starts. Because Fforde does not skimp on ridiculousness.
I would probably never read the books in this series one after the other because it would get to be a bit much, but I definitely recommend an installment every time you need a break from heavier reading. Because sometimes, you just have to laugh.