It’s never Rotten in this Fforde

Toast just doesn't cut it anymore

Porridge: For those who find that toast just doesn’t cut it any longer.

The Gingerbreadman (Ginja Assasin): Someone had to replace The Windowmaker

Do you find this funny? Or do you not get this joke?

If you’re missing the humor, then you are probably missing out on Jasper Fforde, hands down one of the most fascinating, clever, and entertaining writers around. You’ll laugh all while marveling at the quick wit, puns, literary references and more.

Jasper Fforde. Brilliant writer. Talented photographer. King of the Literary Geeks.

If you call yourself a bibliophile and you haven’t read Jasper, hie thee to a book store or library posthaste.

If you don’t call yourself any kind of literary geek, go too. Fforde’s books are fantastic reads that anyone can enjoy; as a reviewer below said, the Thursday next series is Harry Potter for Grown-ups.

I suggest—as, apparently, does Jasper himself–starting with the Thursday next series. Read these in order:

The Eyre Affair, Lost in a Good Book, The Well of Lost Plots and Something Rotten

I just finished Something Rotten and found it so enjoyable I keep lifting humorous bits of it, such the toddler speaking in Ipsum Lorem (a publisher’s space filler nonsensical faux Latin language). It’s as clever and pleasureable to read as the first three in the series, and I can’t wait for the next one.

The next Next will be out this coming July, First Among Sequels. You have a few months to prepare.
Michael M. Jones, of Green Man at greenmanreview.com, says about The Eyre Affair:

Fforde has created a truly unique, fascinating new world, filled with over-the-top characters and an unforgettable atmosphere. This is the sort of book Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett might have created if they’d ground up Dickens and Lewis Carroll for some highly unorthodox cigars, and gotten schnackered one fine weekend. The humor is unconventional, the literary tributes unmistakable, and the plot highly original. This is a world where people go to Richard III in the same way they might see the Rocky Horror Picture Show in the real world, right down to the audience participation. This is a world where just about anything can happen, and seems rather likely to happen anyway. Time-traveling literary detectives, extinct species brought back as pets, a villain worthy of any hero, and enough twists to keep even the most scholarly of English majors bemused.

Cat Eldridge, also of Green Man Review, says this about Something Rotten:

Jasper Fforde has managed to be even funnier, more punning, and just plain odd than he was in the first three novels.

Entertainment Weekly’s Gregory Kirschling says:

When Starbucks tries to open another coffee shop-it’s 17th-within the pages of the Hardy Boys series, Thursday Next cracks down. She’s the literary detective keeping the peace in this fourth installment of Fforde’s hyper-imaginative sci-fi comedy series set in an England where everybody is jumping in and out of books. Facing off against an evil “escaped fictionaut” named Yorrick Kaine, Next must find a cloned Shakespeare, pronto (or else Hamlet is lost forever), and help the good guys win a climactic match of a Quidditch-y game called SuperHoop (or else thermonuclear war ensues). Fforde has churned this quartet of books out at a clip-the first, The Eyre Affair, hit in 2002-and the essential one-jokeness of the premise is starting to show. But he compensates with enough furious daft invention to sate his cult fan base.

NY Times Book Reviewer and Author Bruno Maddox says:

What we need, though, is an analogue of Harry Potter just for adults: a franchise brainy enough to feel like proper reading — playful and ironic enough to risk no confusion with the nubile elves and unbreakable swords of the appalling post-Tolkien ”adult fantasy” genre — yet as effortlessly readable and unashamedly escapist as the best children’s fiction.

Enter Jasper Fforde, whose first novel, ”The Eyre Affair,” introduced us to the winningly named Thursday Next and with boundless confidence — justified, as it turned out; the novel went on to become a surprise best seller — declared itself merely the first installment of her adventures. Thursday was presented as a ”literary detective,” doing business in a haphazardly distorted version of the year 1985 and using a machine called a ”prose portal” to enter the text of Charlotte BrontĂ«’s ”Jane Eyre” — literally, in a profound, metaphysical sense — to rescue its heroine from the clutches of a charismatic supervillain named Acheron Hades.

Fforde’s plots don’t unfold so much as proliferate, with the author grafting on entire new dimensions at every turn, relentlessly driving the story deeper into postmodern complexity and mind-bending silliness.
”Lost in a Good Book” is a book in which one isn’t allowed to get lost. Fforde doesn’t ask that we suspend our disbelief. He encourages disbelief at every turn, while his plot comes back again and again, like a Freudian neurosis, in wild and increasingly inventive ways, to the image of Thursday Next finding yet another fantastical means of entering a work of classic literature and getting lost in it. Which for the reader, somehow, is an immensely enjoyable, almost compulsive experience.

copyright 2007 Julie Pippert

Elizabeth Lowell’s Whirlpool hits the ball right into the…foul zone

ann-whirlpool.gifThe first term that comes to mind when reading this romantic thriller is: implausible.

I realize that same term can be applied by us average joes to practically any suspense or thriller. However, in this case, it’s really applicable in a “just cannot, not matter how much I want to, suspend my disbelief.”

I think it is chiefly because I find the heroine sort of…dumb. And annoying.

When I try to imagine myself in the plot in the book—which, with my Guiness Book World Record Level Imagination I can usually do with great ease to the astonishment of my husband and to the concern of the mental health community worldwide—I think, “Pffffft, tsk, yeah, right, whatever, like that is something I’d do!”

Let me explain…

(Click MORE to read my review of Elizabeth Lowell’s Whirlpool, .) Continue reading

Corinne Bailey Rae

Corinne Bailey RaeYou may have seen her on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip crooning her romantic blues-soul ballad, Trouble Sleeping.

You may have heard her soulful yet groovin’ tune Put Your Records On on the radio.

You might have found yourself swaying to the gentle and romantic Like a Star while sipping a mocha at Starbucks.

Or you might not have heard of her at all.

And that would be a huge loss if you’re a fan of R&B, blues and soul, and even if you aren’t.

British-born Rae crosses genres for likeability. Her low-key voice runs the emotional gamut from the excitment of falling in love to the heartache of breaking up. Each lyric is relateable, and you can’t help but listen over and over to the original tunes that range from mellow and romantic to mournful to happy.

Rae writes or co-writes her own music, so each song is a reflection of her unique musical style. She not only sings, and writes, but also adds guitar and percussion.

I just can’t stop listening to this album, whether it is in the background as I clean or visit with friends, or keeping my head cool while driving. It’s enjoyable any place, any way.

If Nina Simone, Nelly Furtado and Alicia Keys judged American R&B, Soul, and Blues Idol CORINNE BAILEY RAE would be the hands-down winner.

She’s fresh. Her voice and her music is comfortable like your favorite pair of jeans, and yet new and unique.

She’s the real deal…every bit as talented and fantastic as the reviews say!

Variety says, “…combined with the natural beauty of her voice, Bailey Rae’s attitude certainly pushes her into the realm of truly special performers.”

Rolling Stone says, “Corinne Bailey Rae’s debut was a number One hit in her native England, a fact that has U.S. bizzers buzzing about its potential with the adult-alternative crowd over here…the album is occasionally more interesting than her mellow mien would suggest: “Choux Pastry Heart” is full of evocative heartache, and the funked-out “I’d Like To” is a sharp sketch of urban life with a sexually charged chorus. Corinne Bailey Rae is as pop-wise as it is overly gentle and one to grow on.”

Amazon says, “It becomes self-evident the moment you hear her sing the very first note on the first track ‘Like A Star’, that it showcases a slice of sublime Billie Holiday blues delivered with a voice that pins you, in the softest but most persuasive of ways, to the wall; a voice that floats up effortlessly, full of caress, subtlety and the very purest quality.” Their customers added many positive reviews!

RATING: 5 out of 5 stars for great singing, music, lyrics and overall enjoyability

REC: BUY!

AVAILABLE: Right now. Check out CORINNE BAILEY RAE at Amazon.com where you can listen to samples of all eleven songs from her self-titled album!

Like it if you LIKE: Sade, Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, Nelly Furtado, Nina Simone, Bille Holiday, and other great soul-blues, jazz, R&B singers

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Hang in to hang out soon and learn about books, music and art around you that you hear about—or maybe haven’t yet—and whether it’s something you’d be interested in!

I’m a writer, artist, and editor and I’ll give you my unvarnished truthful opinion about many genres.

And I’d love to hear from you…books, music and art that you love (or hate).

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