Genre Benders
1,545 Likes, 40 Comments - Strand Book Store, NYC (@strandbookstore) on Instagram: “What time is it? ⏰ Time for a new booklist 📚. Here are some genre benders to remind you that genre…”

Here to Remind You That Genre Is a Malleable and Arbitrary Category. Comment with some of your favorite genre benders!

The "had had" and "that that" problem

“Good. Item seven. The had had and that that problem. Lady Cavendish, weren’t you working on this?”

Lady Cavendish stood up and gathered her thoughts.

“Indeed. The use of had had and that that has to be strictly controlled; they can interrupt the ImaginoTransference quite dramatically, causing readers to go back over the sentence in confusion, something we try to avoid.”

“Go on.”

“It’s mostly an unlicensed usage problem. At the last count David Copperfield alone had had had had sixty-three times, all but ten unapproved. Pilgrim’s Progress may also be a problem owing to its had had / that that ratio.”

“So what’s the problem in Progress?”

“That that had that that ten times but had had had had only thrice. Increased had had usage had had to be considered but not if the number exceeds that that that usage.”

“Hmm,” said the Bellman. “I thought had had had had TGC’s approval for use in Dickens? What’s the problem?”

“Take the first had had and that that in the book by way of example,” explained Lady Cavendish. “You would have thought that that first had had had had good occasion to be seen as had, had you not? Had had had approval but had had had not; equally it is true to say that that that that had had approval but that that other that that had not.”

“So the problem with that other that that was that—?”

“That that other-other that that had had approval.”

“Okay,” said the Bellman, whose head was in danger of falling apart like a chocolate orange, “let me get this straight: David Copperfield, unlike Pilgrim’s Progress, which had had had, had had had had. Had had had had TGC’s approval?”

There was a very long pause.

“Right,” said the Bellman with a sigh.

—Jasper Fforde, The Well of Lost Plots, pp. 256-257 (paperback)

More people need to read the Thursday Next books.

The first one is The Eyre Affair.

It’s set in an alternate version of Earth where literature is taken very seriously, time travel is normal, ducks are extinct, werewolves, vampires, and demons lurk in the dark places, genetic clones and mutations are common place, a massive multi-national corperation controls almost everything, and a sect of the police known as the SpecOps, split into over 30 divisions(if I remember correctly), keep the streets safe.

The main protagonist is a badass literary detective known as Thursday Next. Her father is an ex-ChronoGuard agent who was erased from existance but managed to survive due to his prowess as a time traveller. Her mother seems to be your typical middle-aged widow. Her uncle Mycroft is a genius inventor 

You like puns? They’ve got puns.

You like satire? They’ve got satire.

You like classic literature jokes? Then hang on to your socks, because the Thursday Next series has got them in droves.

And I’m not even done talking about the first book of this seven book long and running series.

Fucking EL James
  • Person: What's your favorite book?
  • Me: Hmmm, that's a difficult question but I might have to say Jasper Fforde's Shades of Grey.
  • Persom: Isn't that the one....
  • Me: Yes, except instead of being erotic Twilight fanfiction, it's a dystopian novel where people can only see one color and live in a hierarchy in which the specific color that they see and how much of it determines their place in their society which is run like a British boarding school. And instead of a seriously unhealthy portrayal of a BDSM relationship, there are man-eating trees and a spoon shortage.
The Thursday Next series.

I just realized how much the people I follow/my followers would genuinely love this series. I’ve been sitting here reading it for so long and it’s just never occured to me. So! Here are some reasons why everyone I know should read this series:

  • BookWorld. A world where fictional characters are actually real. You ever wonder what your favorite characters are doing when you’re not reading them? Well, you’re wondering now, aren’t you?
  • Puns. So many word puns. And writing puns. And puns about letters. PUNS.
  • Everything is important to the story. If the punctuation is incorrect somewhere, it means something. If something is misspelled, it means something. Footnotes? Yeah, they mean something.
  • Miss Havisham. Just…Miss Havisham.
  • Time travel.
  • The way fictional people operate. It’s different from how real people operate and it’s fantastic.
  • Coincidences and mnemonics.
  • Thursday Next, our main character.
  • Thursday’s pet dodo, Pickwick.
  • Mycroft Holmes.

The first book isThe Eyre Affair, and by God I swear none of you will regret picking that thing up. It. Is. GLORIOUS.

After all, reading is arguably a far more creative and imaginative process than writing; when the reader creates emotion in their head, or the colors of the sky during the setting sun, or the smell of a warm summer’s breeze on their face, they should reserve as much praise for themselves as the do for the writer - perhaps more.
—  Jasper Fforde, The Well of Lost Plots