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Reader’s Den, Biblio File

September in the Reader's Den: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde - Week 1

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Imagine a world where the military-industrial complex wants to control everything you do, where the media outlets seem to be competing to win an award for most inane or banal programming, where violent gangs battle over who really wrote Shakespeare’s plays, where you could find yourself trapped inside a poem, and a character from your favorite book just might save your life...

Welcome to the parallel world inhabited by Thursday Next, a government LiteraTec assigned to investigate the mysterious theft of the original manuscript of Charles Dicken’s Martin Chuzzlewit. We seem to be in 1980s Great Britain, but the Crimean War has never ended, Wales is an independent and hostile nation, and most importantly, Charlotte Brontë's beloved heroine Jane Eyre has never had occasion to use the words, “Reader, I married him.” There are also vampires, werewolves, home-cloned dodo birds, an evil villain who can only be stopped by a silver bullet, some messing around with the space/time continuum, and, yes, Mr. Rochester

Sound like fun? Then please join us in the September Reader’s Den, where we’re prolonging our summer reading to discuss The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, the first book in the Thursday Next series. I spent last summer bursting into laughter on the subway as I read my way through this hilariously quirky series, which is loaded with wordplay and literary jokes, so I hope you’ll enjoy this romp into mystery-fantasy-satire. If you’re already a Thursday Next fan, or if you tried the book and it wasn't your cup of tea, please join in the discussion, too. I'd love to know what you think!

Request a copy of The Eyre Affair, or download the eBook or eAudiobook.

More about author Jasper Fforde and the Thursday Next series next week with discussion questions to follow in Week 3.  Hope to see you then (as long as the ChronoGuard don't do anything shifty, that is.)  Please feel free to post your comments at any time. Thanks for reading!

September 2012 in the Reader's Den: Jump to Week: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Comments

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What a great series!

I read and loved Thursday's adventures too, particularly the weird (but popular) reality TV programs in her world. It gets even funnier when the literary characters are on their own time (off script) and start paying visits to the world outside their books. Think 1984 meets Alice in Wonderland, but on laughing gas and sarcastically updated to 21st century mores.

Name That Fruit!

Thanks for the comments, Lois, and for the nifty Alice in Wonderland on laughing gas in 1984 formulation! When we first meet Thursday's genius inventor uncle Mycroft (the Sherlock Holmes reference is purely intentional :-) he and his wife Polly are watching a program called "Name That Fruit." The mind boggles at the entertainment potential there. I think that the TV programs become even more bizzarely banal as the series goes on and the general public is reading less. At this stage, we have the crappy TV, but people are still passionate about literature, sometimes to extremes as when the Marlovians bomb a meeting of Baconians because of their differences over the "true" author of Shakespeare's plays. I agree that the fictional characters escaping from the pages of their assigned work to have adventures outside is one of the funniest aspects of the series. We see much more of this as the series continues, but The Eyre Affair offers plenty of entertaining breaches in the Fourth Wall. Who's your favorite character from the BookWorld?

Miss Havisham!

Gotta be Miss Havisham in the second book of the series, she's so outrageous and over the top, from her colorful wardrobe to her actions off script. Also she takes Thursday under her wing in the story. It's important to be nice to the heroine so she can live to fight another day.

Miss Havisham

Yes, Miss Havisham in her running shoes, keeping the BookWorld in order, is a really fun character. She'll appear in the second book, Lost in a Good Book, when Thursday ventures deeper into the BookWorld. Thanks for commenting.

this one's on my list

I remember people really recommending this title to me. It sounds interesting. I like the idea behind it, and the plot just sounds bananas. Thanks for linking to the eBook! Maybe next time I take that long bus ride to New Hampshire, I'll be able to put it on my nook!

Thanks for your comments,

Thanks for your comments, Ryan. Bananas is a good word...Zany, campy, surreal and whimsical are other adjectives that reviewers have used to describe The Eyre Affair. As I wrote, it made me laugh out loud many times, so I hope you'll enjoy it! We don't have the eBook to download, but we do have the eAudiobook, which might be even more fun for a long bus ride.

The Eyre Affaire eBook is available in 3M Cloud Library

Update! NYPL did have the eBook of the Eyre Affair when this post was published, but it is available in our 3M Cloud Library collection now, along with most of the the other books in the Thursday Next series. http://www.nypl.org/ebooks

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