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review 2020-05-27 02:33
The Constant Rabbit - Jasper Fforde

No one writes like Jasper Fforde. He has the ability to take the absurd & present it in a way that makes his version of an alternate society seems completely normal. So when you open this book & find yourself in an England where the neighbours might be 6 ft. talking rabbits, you merely shrug & think “Oh, right. Forgot that happened.”


That would be the Spontaneous Anthropomorphic Event, an unexplained aligning of elements that resulted in walking/talking rabbits joining society (along with a few other small mammals but please don’t mention the bees). Sure, there are small differences. They tend to settle disputes with duels & have a thing for dandelion brandy (“the diabolical 3-way love child of methanol, crack cocaine & U-Boat fuel”)


The MC & narrator is Peter Knox, a (human) single dad who works for the Rabbit Compliance Taskforce. Although the bunnies are technically integrated, they are subject to slightly different rules. Most live “within the fence”, approved colonies with restricted movement. But some live in town. Peter is one of the few who can actually tell them apart & it’s his job to identify any who have broken laws.


By now, this set-up should have you thinking about real life historical parallels. Now lets add in a prime minister with a secret agenda to transport all rabbits to a government facility in Wales. It’s called the Mega-Warren & PM Nigel Smethwick publicly promotes it as a wonderful place for the furballs to socialize & feel safe. But his party (UK Anti-rabbit Party or UKARP) are avid supporters of segregation. His character is portrayed as a hilariously inept idiot surrounded by henchmen & scary PR people.


Peter’s trouble begins when he bumps into Connie, a stunning bunny he knew in university. His old crush is alive & well & as he gets swept up in her life, he’ll be forced to choose sides as tensions rise.


It’s an entertaining story that can be enjoyed on a couple of levels. On the surface it’s fun, witty satire. Fforde loads it with great characters, ridiculous government acronyms & plenty of that painfully polite British gift for understatement that borders on subversive. But if you look a little deeper, there are thinly veiled jabs at issues that sadly, are prevalent in real life. Fake news, racism, xenophobia & the need for those in power to portray anyone who thinks or looks differently as being “other”.


Dialogue is dryly funny & there are many comic moments that make this a great read, especially during a time when we could all use a good laugh. If you enjoy this, I highly recommend his series featuring Thursday Next, Literary Detective extraordinaire.





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text 2020-05-22 17:24
#FridayReads - 5.22.2020
Lost in a Good Book - Jasper Fforde
Few Eggs and No Oranges: The Diaries of Vere Hodgson 1940-45 - Vere Hodgson,Jenny Hartley
Jane And Prudence (VMC) - Barbara Pym,Jilly Cooper

Currently reading:


Lost in a Good Book: I think that I am almost done with Lost in a Good Book, although because it's an omnibus edition, I can't be sure. Things seem to be heading towards a resolution. I expect to finish in an hour or so.


With respect to this series - I'm pretty sure that this is the last of the Thursday Next books that I'm going to read. While I like the idea behind the book, I feel like they are a little too aggressively high-concept for me and I find myself frustrated with them. I do plan to return the omnibus, but will keep it in the back of my mind in case I decide to read The Well of Lost Plots.


A Few Eggs and No Oranges: I didn't make a lot of progress with this one this week. I read September and October of 1940, which is right in the middle of the London Blitz.


Being in the middle of a pandemic where some Americans are throwing tantrums like spoiled children over having to wear masks into stores and other public places, this is fascinating reading. We would not survive the Blitz. "Conservatives" would be whingeing about "muh riiiiiigths" as they all got us killed by refusing to put up some damn curtains. 


Jane and Prudence: I decided that I needed a dose of Pym, so this is next up. I have the VMC edition in paperback and all I've read so far is the introduction by Jilly Cooper.


I do have a three day weekend coming up, so I'm definitely going to need to add at least one more book to the plans. I'm trying to settle on my next Christie reread. On my ATVL blog, I reposted a bunch of Heyer reviews for #Throwback Thursday, so I'm also considering diving into my Heyer digital collection and reading one of her regencies! I also have a digital copy of Tey's The Man in the Queue, which is in consideration.


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text 2020-05-15 17:28
#FridayReads 5.15.2020
Mrs. McGinty's Dead - Agatha Christie
Lost in a Good Book - Jasper Fforde
Few Eggs and No Oranges: The Diaries of Vere Hodgson 1940-45 - Vere Hodgson,Jenny Hartley
The Body in the Dumb River - George Bellairs

I have four books on the go right now, although at least two of them are nearly finished.



Mrs. McGinty's Dead: This is another one that I started last weekend and then got sidetracked away from - it's the most recent book on my Christie comfort reread. It's one of Ariadne Oliver's most delightful appearances in print, and that makes it a fun reread. Poirot leaves London for this one, and makes an early appearance in the action. There are some other fun side-characters, including Mrs. Summerhayes, who is a bit of a hoot. I'm again quite a ways into this one, and it won't take long to finish.


Lost In A Good Book: I just started this one on my kindle - I have an omnibus edition checked out from my library, and I'll likely only read this one right now. I enjoyed the first Thursday Next book by Jasper Fforde, so when I saw the omnibus available on Overdrive, I decided to read book 2.


A Few Eggs and No Oranges: I bought this Persephone edition a few months ago and I've been making my way through it rather slowly. It's quite a long book at 590 pages, and I find that it works well to read a week or two, or maybe a month, at a time. As I'm not worried about speed-finishing this one, you'll likely see it on my Friday Reads for quite sometime. The book itself is the diary of Vere Hodgson, a Londoner who worked for a Notting Hill Gate charity during the war, and who survived the London Blitz. She is described as sparky and unflappable.


The Body in the Dumb River: I've been reading this one for too long at this point - I started it last weekend and then set it aside for some other books at about the 1/3 mark. It won't take long to finish, so it's first up for the weekend. It was originally published in 1961, and I am reading the British Library Crime Classics series reprint pictured. The cover is just as lovely in person.


That should take care of most, if not all of my weekend!

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text 2020-04-18 16:33
Weird but oddly familiar....
The Constant Rabbit - Jasper Fforde


Midpoint update: so......after the Spontaneous Anthropomorphic Event, 6 ft. rabbits live among us. They have a distinct culture, facility with languages, settle disputes with duels & drink dandelion brandy ("the diabolical 3-way love child of methanol, crack cocaine & U-Boat fuel")



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review 2020-04-18 10:20
The Well of Lost Plots
The Well of Lost Plots - Jasper Fforde

Not much  of a review because I'm not entirely sure what the plot was about in this one.

Thursday goes into the book world to stay out of danger during her pregnancy and ends up in a number of adventures with lots of book characters as part of the Jurisfiction squad.


I finished it and liked it better than book #2.

The ending where Fforde takes as swing at Amazon and DRM and self-publishing without quality control made me laugh a number of times.

And of course, Pickwick was excellent in this

We also get to read about the egg hatching.

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