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review 2018-09-21 03:12
A little too zany for me
Lost in a Good Book - Jasper Fforde,Gabrielle Kruger,Hodder & Stoughton Audiobooks

I didn't post about The Eyre Affair a couple of months ago when I listened to it, because I just didn't know what to say about it. I was hoping that a second book would help. I'm not sure it did.

 

Let's just start with the Publisher's Summary (because there's just no way I could do justice to this book):

 

The second installment in Jasper Fforde’s New York Times bestselling series follows literary detective Thursday Next on another adventure in her alternate reality of literature-obsessed England—from the author of Early Riser.

 

The inventive, exuberant, and totally original literary fun that began with The Eyre Affair continues with New York Times bestselling author Jasper Fforde’s magnificent second adventure starring the resourceful, fearless literary sleuth Thursday Next. When Landen, the love of her life, is eradicated by the corrupt multinational Goliath Corporation, Thursday must moonlight as a Prose Resource Operative of Jurisfiction—the police force inside the BookWorld. She is apprenticed to the man-hating Miss Havisham from Dickens’s Great Expectations, who grudgingly shows Thursday the ropes. And she gains just enough skill to get herself in a real mess entering the pages of Poe’s “The Raven.” What she really wants is to get Landen back. But this latest mission is not without further complications.

 

Along with jumping into the works of Kafka and Austen, and even Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies, Thursday finds herself the target of a series of potentially lethal coincidences, the authenticator of a newly discovered play by the Bard himself, and the only one who can prevent an unidentifiable pink sludge from engulfing all life on Earth. It’s another genre-bending blend of crime fiction, fantasy, and top-drawer literary entertainment for fans of Douglas Adams and P. G. Wodehouse.

 

There's simply too much going on. This is Douglas Adams (mostly the Dirk Gentley novels) meets Terry Pratchett meets Doctor Who meets . . . something else, but it's not just those elements -- it's those influences without restraint (not that any of those are known for their restraint). It's just too zany ,too strange, too unmoored from reality.

 

There's cloning to bring back extinct species, time travel, vampires, werewolves, interacting with fictional characters, rabid literary fans, characters walking into novels/other written materials to rewrite them, travel, or just to meet with someone else -- and that's just scratching the surface.

 

I realize that this is tantamount to complaining that there's too much of a good thing, and I recently talked about what a foolish complaint that is. But this is different, somehow. The sheer amount of ways that reality can be rewritten/rebooted/changed in this series is hard to contemplate, and seems like too easy for a writer to use to get out of whatever corner they paint themselves into. One of the best emotional moments of this book -- is ruined, simply ruined by time travel unmaking it just a few minutes later.

 

Emily Gray's narration is probably the saving grace of this audiobook -- I'm not sure I'd have rated this as high as I did without it. Her ability to sound sane when delivering this ridiculous text (I mean that as a compliment) makes it all seem plausible.

 

I enjoyed it -- but almost in spite of itself. I can't see me coming back for more. I do see why these books have a following -- sort of. But I've got to bail.

 

2018 Library Love Challenge

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2018/09/20/lost-in-a-good-book-by-jasper-fforde-emily-gray-audiobook-a-little-too-zany-for-me
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review 2018-09-20 02:59
First half to see good, then the shots are fired
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil - John Berendt

When I was around two thirds in, I started idly concocting a review in my brain, about how the almost surreal elements and characters was what gave this narrative such a verisimilitude. Cue me over the 80% mark, just going to search for a detail, and finding out this is nonfiction. Sure, there are artistic licenses, but in essence?

 

I love it when knowing absolutely nothing about a book pays up in such ways.

 

As I mentioned previously in an update, the general tone reminded me a lot of latinoamerican writing. This has a lot to do with the conservative (and quirky) societies that brew in relatively small, isolated towns. You have the sedate and beautiful surface, and the decades, generations, long ugly undercurrents. Everyone "behaves" in public out of a certain need for society and peace, and whomever "pops" may as well go the whole nine-yards and wear it like a flag.

 

So, that's basically the aim: to illustrate Savannah. The plot as it were serves the theme. We go into the deep ugly undercurrents. Almost every ugly you can imagine. Sometimes you are enraged and amused at the same time from the sheer hypocrisy rampant. I spent most of the book in some queer state of entertained stupefaction because it is so grotesque you almost can't believe it. But you do. You recognize it. It is your hometown.

 

 

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text 2018-09-19 05:08
Reading progress update: I've read 260 out of 386 pages.
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil - John Berendt

“No. As a matter of fact, when I think about it, it suits me fine. See, with all these weirdos you got filling up your book, I figure somebody’s gonna have to play the good guy, and it’s beginning to look like it’ll be me.”

 

My genre-savvy self doubts it.

 

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text 2018-09-17 04:24
Reading progress update: I've read 170 out of 386 pages.
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil - John Berendt

OK! Took half the book, but here we are.

 

Onto part two.

 

Joe keeps reminding me of Ana Karenina's brother

 

 

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text 2018-09-15 00:16
Reading progress update: I've read 86 out of 386 pages.
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil - John Berendt

“Anyhow,” he went on, “my two newest naked friends got dressed. The boy had tattoos on his arms—a Confederate flag on one arm and a marijuana plant on the other. He put on a really swell T-shirt. It had ‘Fuck You’ printed on it. At this very moment, both he and the girl are in the kitchen helping make shrimp salad for forty polka dancers. Jerry’s in there too, cutting Mandy’s hair, and that’s why I say I ain’t bored yet.”

 

Well, I still don't know what this book is driving at, but that stealth thread-cross felt enough like a punch line that it surprised a laugh out of me. And reminded me of the "cousinly" remark. I'm not getting bored either.

 

And of course, I'm reading to Johnny Mercer's music

 

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