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 "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.

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.

52 in 52 (Year 2): Book 39

Title: Lost In A Good Book: A Thursday Next Novel

Author: Jasper Fforde

Pages: 414 (Kindle! My first!)

Start Date: 9.5.17

Finish Date: 10.4.17

Reason Reading: It’s the sequel to The Eyre Affair, which I LOVED.

Genre: Fiction/Mystery/Fantasy/Alternative History/I don’t know

Rating: 4 out of 5

Better than Lord of the Rings? Sequels probably don’t even qualify here.

Thoughts: I finally found a series I can disappear into, no pun or spoilers intended. I tend to read high-intensity science-fiction novels that drain my energy and time. The second book in the Thursday Next series was the perfect way to escape and thoroughly relax between…those other books.

Very few books are as good as The Eyre Affair, but Jasper Fforde keeps the adventure fresh and exciting in book two. Thursday finds herself in a bind when Goliath Corp eradicates her husband from history and blackmails her in exchange for his return. She must learn how to jump into Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven and quickly.

If you liked the first, keep reading. Thursday is a character for the ages and her book-hopping, alternative history adventures are unmatchable.

I moved quietly to the French windows and stepped out into the garden to release the Lost Positives that the Lady of Shalott had given me. She had a soft spot for the orphaned prefixless words and thought they had more chance to thrive in Fiction than in Poetry. I let the defatigable scamps out of their box. They were kempt and sheveled but their behavior was peccable if not mildly gruntled. They started acting petuously and ran around in circles in a very toward manner.
—  Jasper Fforde (One of our Thursdays is Missing, p.84)
‘Are all our dates going to be like that?’ said Perkins.
  'I hope not’, I replied with a smile, 'but it was quite fun, wasn’t it? I mean, it’s not like we were killed or eaten or anything, right?’
  'If your idea of a good date is not being killed and eaten, you’ll never be disappointed.’
—  Jasper Fforde, The Eye of Zoltar (The Chronicles of Kazam Book 3)