Lost in a Good Book (Thursday Next Series #2)

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Overview

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


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, ...

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Lost in a Good Book (Thursday Next Series #2)

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Overview

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


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. Thursday’s zany investigations continue with The Well of Lost Plots. Look for the five other bestselling Thursday Next novels, including One of Our Thursdays is Missing and Jasper Fforde’s latest bestseller, The Woman Who Died A Lot. Visit jasperfforde.com for a ffull window into the Ffordian world!

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Tuesday Next, the hero of The Eyre Affair, is back in another ingenious adventure. In Lost in a Good Book, our delightful literary interloper ventures into forbidding classics from Edgar Allan Poe to Beatrix Potter. Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times described this novel as "part Bridget Jones, part Nancy Drew and part Dirty Harry."
From the Publisher
“[A]n analogue of Harry Potter just for, adults…effortlessly readable and unashamedly escapist…. [A]n immensely enjoy able, almost compulsive experience.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Fforde [has a] head-spinning narrative agility. His novel is satire, fantasy, literary criticism, thriller, whodunit, game, puzzle, joke, postmodern prank and tilt-a-whirl. Okay, maybe Lost in a Good Book is a creature with more than the usual number of feet. But it’s exceptionally light on all of them…[Fforde] is irrepressible good company” —The Washington Post

“Enchanting…a tale to savor. Harry Potter fans outgrowing Hogwarts should dive in.” —People

“Lost [ in a Good Book] is even more richly crammed with jokes, ideas and action. Brainier silliness is hard to find. A-.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Car chases, missing husbands, evil villains, a plucky heroine, and the Cheshire Cat. Jasper Fforde’s latest is mystery at its most fun—with a sci-fi twist.” —Marie Claire

“A joyful read, full of puns, allusions, and sheer fun. Highly recommended.” —Library Journal

“Time flies—and leaps and zigzags—while reading this wickedly funny and clever fantasy. Would-be wordsmiths and mystery fans will find the surreal genre-buster irresistible.” —Publishers Weekly

“Just what the doctor ordered now, in a world under the shadow of war, at the tail end of a long, cold winter…Lost in a Good Book resembles whipped cream—as sweet and light as the promise of spring.” —Salon.com

“Entertainingly surreal. Perhaps even more clever than its predecessor [The Eyre Affair], the new story offers a plot stuffed with enough coincidences and characters to make Dickens proud.” —Orlando Sentinel

“The book-jumping high jinks continue in Fforde’s equally whimsical Lost in a Good Book… its mix of surrealism, satire and adventure proves to be totally absorbing.” —Time Out New York

“Fforde’s wicked sense of humor and wide-ranging intelligence make every page a joy.” —The New Orleans Times-Picayune

“Fforde packs Lost in a Good Book to the rafters with sophisticated literary allusions, numerous interweaving subplots and wildly imaginative details. It’s obvious from the way he leaves things that Fforde has many more adventures in mind for his heroine; and with so many classics to choose from, Thursday will certainly have plenty of allies on her side.” —The Seattle Times

The New York Times
It may be that Fforde has succeeded in doing for the anxieties of 21st-century book lovers -- nagged by the feeling that perhaps they aren't getting as swept away by books as they used to -- what Helen Fielding did for the anxieties of the 30-something single urban female. In attempting to come up with an adult Harry Potter, he may also have stumbled across that other Holy Grail of modern fiction, the male-friendly (or at least the gender-neutral) Bridget Jones -- which, for everyone but Fforde's accountant, is a fairly terrifying prospect. — Bruno Maddox
The Washington Post
In the long and fabulous tradition of British nonsense, Jasper Fforde, though only on his second book, has already earned a place of honor. — Lloyd Rose
Publishers Weekly
Det. Thursday Next is back for another round of time traveling and bookish sleuthing after Fforde's successful debut, The Eyre Affair. Like his earlier novel, this one is set in the U.K., in an alternate version of our universe-one in which time travel is possible and the boundaries between life and literature are porous. Thursday works for Special Ops in the Literary Detectives division. She's made an enemy of the corrupt Goliath Corporation, which manufactures absolutely everything, by imprisoning one of its executives, Jack Schitt, in the pages of Poe's The Raven. In return, the corporation eradicates her new husband, Landen. Since no one really dies in this chronologically fluid universe, Landen could be restored-but Goliath won't do it until Thursday brings back Schitt. But rescuing Schitt is easier said than done-Poe's oeuvre is dangerous territory. Thursday enlists the help of Great Expectations' Miss Havisham, who works for the intra-literature police force, Jurisfiction, and the two leap into the pages of Kafka's The Trial, Austen's Sense and Sensibility and Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. Thursday also finds time to authenticate Cardenio, a newly discovered Shakespeare tragedy, and save the world from being engulfed by an oozing pink sludge. Time flies-and leaps and zigzags-while reading this wickedly funny and clever fantasy. Would-be wordsmiths and mystery fans will find the surreal genre-buster irresistible. 12-city author tour. (Mar.) Forecast: Are there enough English lit lovers to send this book aloft? If the author is as funny in person as he is on the page, his book tour may increase the cult that began with rave reviews for The Eyre Affair. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Fear not, literature lovers! Thursday Next is back with another romp through Fforde's alterna-England, where books are followed as closely as we follow J. Lo, dodos are friendly pets, and it is truly possible to get lost in a book; fortunately, Next and her cronies in law enforcement will make sure one gets out before one ruins the plot. Picking up where The Eyre Affair left off, this book finds Thursday caught up in a new adventure that pops her through time and literature, including works by Poe, Austen, and Beatrix Potter. This time she must not only find a way to get her husband back from the clutches of the Goliath conglomerate but also save the world from destruction by a mysterious pink goo. Though slightly less buoyant than its predecessor, this is still a joyful read, full of puns, allusions, and sheer fun. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/02.]-Devon Thomas, Hass MS&L, Ann Arbor, MI Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-In an alternate 1980s England, woolly mammoths migrate through the countryside, Tunbridge Wells has been given to Imperial Russia as Crimean War reparation, and the prevailing culture is based on literature. Due to her adventures in The Eyre Affair (Viking, 2002), newly married Thursday Next has become a media darling, but when an unknown work by Shakespeare surfaces, she is happy to be back to work. However, the megacorporation Goliath hasn't finished bedeviling her: Thursday's husband has been "time-slipped" and exists only in her memory. Further complicating matters, her Uncle Mycroft gives her an entroposcope-a jar of lentils and rice-revealing that the chaos in her life is rapidly escalating. So once again, Thursday jumps into a surreal literary world. This time, she has joined the "Jurisfiction" division and is paired with Charles Dickens's Miss Havesham, who has a penchant for leather jackets and driving recklessly. Absurd and amusing scenes take readers through discussions on theoretical physics, geometry, literature, art, and philosophy. Fforde not only tilts at ideological and insipid corporate windmills and human foibles, but can also make the naming of minor characters hilarious, as in the two unfortunate members of the dangerous SO-5 division, Phodder and Kannon. Reading this novel is like being at a fabulous party of phenomenally funny and wickedly profound guests. Teens will delight in the satire and wit.-Jane Halsall, McHenry Public Library District, IL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A lively, pun-packed sequel to the Welsh novelist's debut, The Eyre Affair (2002). Here, his lissome literary detective once again prowls the mean streets and elusive texts of classic English literature. We're back in Fforde's Alternate Wales, 1985, when previously endangered species (e.g., dodos, woolly mammoths) thrive, the vast and sinister Goliath Corporation fulfills every imaginable need, and literature has replaced pop culture as the people's chosen opiate. As "Baconians" wreak havoc defending their favorite's authorship of Shakespeare's plays and Richard III draws Rocky Horror Picture Show-like participatory audiences, Thursday, a veteran of the never-ending Crimean War, finds herself enmeshed in numerous baffling intrigues. Her new husband, writer Landen Parke-Laine, has been "deleted" (perhaps by Goliath bigwigs revenging themselves on Thursday for imprisoning their op Jack Schitt in the text of Poe's "The Raven"). And Thursday, aware that "without entry to books I would never see Landen again," goes bravely off into bookdom-abetted and hindered here and there by her hardboiled partner Bowden Cable, her time-traveling dad, and post-centenarian "Gran" (condemned to live until she has read "the ten most boring classics"). Denied access to the normal means of entry to literary works (the Prose Portal), Thursday finagles her way inside such texts as Kafka's The Trial and Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, enduring meaningful encounters with such worthies as a bookwormy Cheshire Cat and an unusually extroverted Miss Havisham (from Great Expectations, of course). And, oh yes, Thursday must also deal with a newly discovered Shakespeare play (Cardenio) and a mammoth stampede. Just as shedid in Eyre, Thursday preserves the integrity of embattled masterpieces, ending up gracefully poised for the next forthcoming sequel (announced in an endnote), The Well of Lost Plots. Fans of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels should check out Fforde's engagingly skewed comic utopia. As one of his characters predicts: the likely result will be "paroxysms of litjoy." Author tour. Agents: Eric Simonoff & Tif Loehnis/Janklow & Nesbit
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142004036
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/24/2004
  • Series: Thursday Next Series, #2
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 176,948
  • Product dimensions: 5.08 (w) x 7.72 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

Jasper Fforde

Jasper Fforde traded a varied career in the film industry for staring vacantly out of the window and arranging words on a page. He lives and writes in Wales. The Eyre Affair was his first novel in the bestselling series of Thursday Next novels, which includes Lost in a Good Book, The Well of Lost Plots, Something Rotten, First Among Sequels, One of Our Thursdays is Missing, and The Woman Who Died A Lot. The series has more than one million copies (and counting) in print. He is also the author of The Big Over Easy and The Fourth Bear of the Nursery Crime series, Shades of Grey, and books for young readers, including The Last Dragonslayer. Visit jasperfforde.com.

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    1. Hometown:
      Brecon, Powys, Wales, United Kingdom
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 11, 1961
    2. Place of Birth:
      London, United Kingdom
    1. Education:
      Left school at 18

Read an Excerpt

I didn’t ask to be a celebrity. I never wanted to appear on The Adrian Lush Show. And let’s get one thing straight right now – the world would have to be hurtling towards imminent destruction before I’d agree to anything as dopey as The Thursday Next Workout Video.

The publicity surrounding the successful rebookment of Jane Eyre was fun to begin with but rapidly grew wearisome. I happily posed for photocalls, agreed to newspaper interviews, hesitantly appeared on Desert Island Smells and was thankfully excused the embarrassment of Celebrity Name That Fruit! The public, ever fascinated by celebrity, had wanted to know everything about me following my excursion within the pages of Jane Eyre, and since the Special Operations Network have a PR record on a par with that of Vlad the Impaler, the top brass thought it would be a good wheeze to use me to boost their flagging popularity. I dutifully toured all points of the globe doing signings, library openings, talks and interviews. The same questions, the same SpecOps-approved answers. Supermarket openings, literary dinners, offers of book deals. I even met the actress Lola Vavoom, who said that she would simply adore to play me if there were a film. It was tiring, but more than that – it was dull. For the first time in my career at the Literary Detectives I actually missed authenticating Milton.

I’d taken a week’s leave as soon my tour ended so Landen and I could devote some time to married life. I moved all my stuff to his house, rearranged his furniture, added my books to his and introduced my dodo, Pickwick, to his new home. Landen and I ceremoniously partitioned the bedroom closet space, decided to share the sock drawer, then had an argument over who was to sleep on the wall side of the bed. We had long and wonderfully pointless conversations about nothing in particular, walked Pickwick in the park, went out to dinner, stayed in for dinner, stared at each other a lot and slept in late every morning. It was wonderful.

On the fourth day of my leave, just between lunch with Landen’s mum and Pickwick’s notable first fight with the neighbour’s cat, I got a call from Cordelia Flakk. She was the senior SpecOps PR agent here in Swindon and she told me that Adrian Lush wanted me on his show. I wasn’t mad keen on the idea – or the show. But there was an upside. The Adrian Lush Show went out live and Flakk assured me that this would be a ‘no holds barred’ interview, something that held a great deal of appeal. Despite my many appearances, the true story about Jane Eyre was yet to be told – and I had been wanting to drop the Goliath Corporation in it for quite a while. Flakk’s assurance that this would finally be the end of the press junket clinched my decision. Adrian Lush it would be.

I travelled up to the Network Toad studios a few days later on my own; Landen had a deadline looming and needed to get his head down. But I wasn’t alone for long. As soon as I stepped into the large entrance lobby a milk-curdling shade of green strode purposefully towards me.

‘Thursday, darling!’ cried Cordelia, beads rattling. ‘So glad you could make it!’

The SpecOps dress code stated that our apparel should be ‘dignified’ but in Cordelia’s case they had obviously stretched a point. Anyone looking less like a serving officer was impossible to imagine. Looks, in her case, were highly deceptive. She was SpecOps all the way from her high heels to the pink-and-yellow scarf tied in her hair.

She air-kissed me affectionately.

‘How was New Zealand?’

‘Green and full of sheep,’ I replied. ‘I brought you this.’

I handed her a fluffy toy lamb that bleated realistically when you turned it upside down.

‘How adorable! How’s married life treating you?’

‘Very well.’

‘Excellent, my dear, I wish you both the best. Love what you’ve done with your hair!’

‘My hair? I haven’t done anything with my hair!’

‘Exactly!’ replied Flakk quickly. ‘It’s so incredibly you.’

She did a twirl.

‘What do you think of the outfit?’

‘One’s attention is drawn straight to it,’ I replied ambiguously.

‘This is 1985,’ she explained, ‘bright colours are the future. I’ll let you loose in my wardrobe one day.’

‘I think I’ve got some pink socks of my own somewhere.’

‘It’s a start, my dear. Listen, you’ve been a star about all this publicity work; I’m very grateful – and so is SpecOps.’

‘Grateful enough to post me somewhere other than the Literary Detectives?’

‘Well,’ murmured Cordelia reflectively, ‘first things first. As soon as you’ve done the Lush interview your transfer application will be aggressively considered, you have my word on that.’

It didn’t sound terribly promising. Despite the successes at work, I still wanted to move up within the Network. Cordelia took my arm and steered me towards the waiting area.

‘Coffee?’

‘Thank you.’

‘Spot of bother in Auckland?’

‘Bronte Federation offshoot caused a bit of trouble,’ I explained.

‘They didn’t like the new ending of Jane Eyre.’

‘There’ll always be a few malcontents,’ observed Flakk. ‘Milk?’

‘Thanks.’

‘Oh,’ she said, staring at the milk jug, ‘this milk’s off. No matter. Listen,’ she went on quietly, ‘I’d love to stay and watch but some SpecOps 17 clot in Penzance staked a Goth by mistake; it’s going to be PR hell on earth down there.’

SO-17 were the vampire and werewolf disposal squad. Despite a new ‘three-point’ confirmation procedure, a jumpy cadet with a sharpened stake could still spell big trouble.

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Table of Contents

Lost in a Good Book1. The Adrian Lush Show
2. The Speical Operations Network
3. Cardenio Unbound
4. Five Coincidences, Seven Irma Cohens and One Confused Neanderthal
5. Vanishing Hitchhikers
4a. Five Coincidences, Seven Irma Cohens and One Confused Thursday Next
6. Family
7. White Horse, Uffington, Picnics, for the Use of
8. Mr. Stiggins and SO-1
9. The More Things Stay the Same
10. A Lack of Differences
11. Granny Next
12. At Home with My Memories
13. Mount Pleasant
14. The Gravitube™
15. Curiouser & Curiouser in Osaka
16. Interview with the Cat
17. Miss Havisham
18. The Trial of Fräulein N
19. Bargain Books
20. Yorrick Kaine
21. Les Artes Modernes de Swindon '85
22. Travels with My Father
23. Fun with Spike
24. Performance-Related Pay, Miles Hawke & Norland Park
25. Roll Call at Jurisfiction
26. Assignment One: Bloophole Filled in Great Expectations
27. Landen and Joffy Again
28. "The Raven"
29. Rescued
30. Cardenio Rebound
31. Dream Topping
32. The End of Life As We Know It
33. The Dawn of Life as We Know It
34. The Well of Lost Plots

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Reading Group Guide

INTRODUCTION TO LOST IN A GOOD BOOK

Thursday's hopes for a quiet life with her new husband, Landen, are dashed when a seemingly impossible string of coincidences involving a falling car, a disgruntled Neanderthal, and a mysterious young woman leads to some extremely close brushes with death. Her jumpy ChronoGuard father rescues her just in time, only to reveal to her that the world is destined to become one big, pink blob of Dream Topping in a matter of days unless they can figure out how and why it happens. And just when Thursday discovers that she is pregnant with Landen's child, the Goliath goons eradicate Landen from existence, threatening to make it permanent unless Thursday retrieves her nemesis Jack Schitt from his imprisonment in a copy of "The Raven"—this time without the help of her now retired uncle Mycroft's mad machinery. Thursday's loved ones are disappearing, while her list of enemies appears to be growing steadily.

Luckily, Thursday's fictional colleagues in an internal book-policing squad called Jurisfiction have eagerly anticipated her return to the book world, assigning her to apprentice under the tutelage of one of their greatest agents, the abrasive Miss Havisham of Great Expectations. Thursday discovers that the sudden materialization of Shakespeare's long-lost play Cardenio, which she had been investigating for SpecOps 27, was indeed too good to be true—it has evidently been stolen from the Great Library by a rogue character from the book world. With Miss Havisham and Jurisfiction's help, Thursday must find the perpetrator and return Cardenio to its proper home in the Well of Lost Plots—the home of all unpublished works—before the thief can gain all the power and money that goes with its release in the real world.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

Lost in a Good Book

  1. Thursday's grandmother says she cannot die until she has read the ten most boring classics ever written. What do you think those are?
     
  2. What sort of impact would the discovery of a long-lost play by Shakespeare make in Thursday's book-loving world? What kind of impact would it make in our world? What kind of discovery would make an equivalent impact in our world, if not the discovery of a Shakespearean play?
     
  3. Aornis Hades is both a mnemonomorph memory eraser and a coincidence manipulator. With the former, she erases memory; with the latter, she murders people. Which is the more dangerous characteristic? Which act does the most harm to a person? Which act has the most impact on Thursday's life?
     
  4. Destiny plays an important role in the first novel and coincidence plays an important role in this one. How does Fforde define a coincidence? How do coincidences relate to destiny in a world where time travel is a reality? How would you define a coincidence?
     
  5. Thursday jumps into books, but she also visits Landen in her memories. Which world is more palpable for you, the world created when you can lose yourself in a book or the world of memory? Which world would you rather be able to jump back into?
     
  6. Thursday manages to outwit the prosecutor in a trial that takes place in Kafka's novel. What other fictional courts could she have gone before? What would be the best case to argue in the other fictional trials?
     
  7. Thursday's father says, "Scientific thought, indeed, any mode of thought whether it be religious or philosophical or anything else, is just like the fashions that we wear—only much longer-lived. It's a little like a boy band." What does he mean by this? Do you agree or disagree? Do you think it's possible to have the scientific thought equivalent to the "boy band so good that you never need another boy band again—or even any more music"? The Neanderthals are interesting new characters in the second book. How would Neanderthal clones be received in our world? Do you think it would be ethical to reintroduce extinct species like the dodo and the Neanderthal in our world? Why or why not?


ABOUT JASPER FFORDE

Jasper Fforde is the author of The Eyre Affair, Lost in a Good Book, (both from Penguin) and The Well of Lost Plots (Viking), the first three books in the Thursday Next fantasy/detective series. He lives in Wales

AN INTERVIEW WITH JASPER FFORDE

Thursday Next seems to be descended from a long line of British crime stoppers like Sherlock Holmes and James Bond, and her name is a clear homage to G. K. Chesterton's classic The Man Who Was Thursday. Who are your favorite fictional detectives and how, if at all, did they shape Thursday Next?

Actually, the name wasn't drawn from Chesterton at all; neither, as a reader suggested, from Paris's line in Romeo and Juliet:

Paris: What may be must be this Thursday next.
Juliet: What must be must be.
Friar Lawrence: Now there's a certain text.

Much as I would like to claim either as the truth, sadly not. The real influence was much closer to home and infinitely more mundane. My mother used to refer to days in the future in this manner: "Wednesday week, Tuesday next," etc., and I just liked the "tum-te-tum" internal rhythm of "Thursday Next." It intrigued me, too. What kind of woman would have a name like this? I'm not sure which detective Thursday is drawn from—perhaps all of them. My favorite detective was always Miss Marple, and perhaps Thursday has Jane's strict adherence to duty and the truth. There is undeniably a bit of James Bond, Sam Spade, and Richard Hannay about her, although as character models I have always drawn on women aviators from the golden age of aviation, as these extraordinary characters (Bennett, Earhart, Markham, Coleman, Johnson) had not just a great passion and zest for life and adventure but also an overriding sense of purpose. In a word, Spirit.

You worked in the film industry for nineteen years before becoming a full-time writer. In our society, film is a more popular and lucrative medium than books, but in Thursday's world, the novel is king. Having had a finger in each pie, would you prefer to live in Thursday's world or ours? Did your work in film affect the narrative of the novel?

I think I'd prefer to live in Thursday's world—and I do, six months a year when I'm writing the books. Mind you, if I were a writer in Thursday's world I'd be writing about a heroine who doesn't do extraordinary things at all and lives in a UK where not much happens. And when I was asked in THAT world which world I'd prefer to be in, I'd say... Oh, lawks, we've entered a sort of Nextian "closed-loop perpetual opposing answer paradox." Better go to the next question. Yes, film did most definitely affect the narrative. Because I have been educated in film grammar, I tend to see the books as visual stories first and foremost, and describe the story as I see it unfolding. That isn't to say I don't play a lot with book grammar, too, but I can't shrug off my visual origins. Mind you, I would contend that reading is a far more visual medium than film, as the readers have to generate all of the images themselves; all I do is offer up a few mnemonic signposts. I am always astounded by the number of readers who can describe the Nextian world in profound detail—perhaps this is the reason why movies-from-books tend to be such a huge disappointment.

What are your favorite classic novels?

Jane Eyre was probably my favorite of that type of "literary" classic. Dickens is great fun, too, although to be honest I still prefer Carroll's Alice in Wonderland for its high-quality nonsense virtuosity and Jerome's Three Men in a Boat for its warmth, observation, and humor. Both were written in Victorian times and are classics—just a different sort. Swift's Gulliver's Travelsis another firm favorite, as is Grossmith's Diary of a Nobody.

Why did you choose Jane Eyre for Thursday's first jump into literature?

Three reasons. First, it's a great book. The characters of Jane Eyre, Rochester, Mrs. Fairfax, Grace Poole, Bertha, and Pilot the dog are all great fun to subvert in the name of Nextian entertainment. Second, it is well known, even 150 years after publication. For The Eyre Affair to have any resonance the featured novel had to be familiar and respected. If potential readers of my book haven't read Jane Eyre they might have seen the film, and if they haven't done either, they might still know that Jane is a heroine of Victorian romantic fiction. I don't know of many other books that can do this. Third, it's in the public domain. I could do pretty much what I want and not have to worry about copyright problems—given the premise of the novel, something that had to remain a consideration!

Your novels have been described as a sort of Harry Potter series for adults. Why do you think fantasy and magic tales are enjoying so much popularity right now? Why do adults find the stories so satisfying?

I'm not really sure why fantasy is popular right now, but the tastes and moods of the book-reading public do tend to move around, so in a few years we might all be reading "Squid Action/Adventure" or "Western Accountancy," so who knows. Mind you, I've never been one to make such a huge distinction between children and adults—I have remained consistently suspicious of people who describe themselves as "adults" from a very early age. We all enjoy stories—it is a linking factor between all humans everywhere, that strange and uncontrollable urge to ask, "Yes, but what happens next?" Perhaps fantasy offers imaginative escapism more than other genres. I was very happy when I learned that Harry Potter was being sold in "plain covers" in the UK so adults could read it on the train without feeling embarrassed. "Ah," thinks I, "there is hope yet!"

The Tie-seller in Victoria says, "There are two schools of thought about the resilience of time. The first is that time is highly volatile, with every small event altering the possible outcome of the earth's future. The other view is that time is rigid, and no matter how hard you try, it will always spring back toward a determined present." Which do you think is more likely?

From a narrative point of view, the notion of time somehow wanting to keep on a predetermined course is far preferable. It makes the ChronoGuard's job that much harder. It's not easy to change things, as Colonel Next often finds out. Personally, I think time is highly volatile—and out there for us to change, if we so wish it. Most of the time we don't. Our notions of self-determination are, on the whole, something of a myth. We are governed almost exclusively by our own peculiar habits, which makes those who rail against them that much more remarkable.

If time travel were a reality, do you think it would be possible for people to visit other eras responsibly?

Of course not! When have humans ever behaved responsibly? That's not to say I wouldn't be first in the queue, but mankind is far too flawed to resist wanting to use this new technology to deal with other problems, such as radioactive waste disposal or something. Given mankind's record so far, it wouldn't be long before the criminal gangs moved in to steal items from the past to sell in the future. The ChronoGuard refer to this sort of crime as "Retrosnatch," although the upside of this is that you can always catch the person red-handed after the event. Before the event. During the event.

If you could travel in time, when would you want to visit and why?

Good question! The choice is endless. Since I'm a fan of nineteenth-century history, one of the times I would visit would be during a conversation that took place between Nelson and Wellington in September 1805. It was the only time these two historical giants met. Failing that, the day Isambard Kingdom Brunel launched his gargantuan steamship the Great Eastern into the Thames or, further back still, 65 million years ago when an asteroid hit the earth—must have been quite a light show. Closer to home, I suppose I'd like to revisit the first time I learned to ride a bicycle without stabilizers—a more joyous feeling of fulfillment, freedom, and attainment could only be equaled by the time one learns to walk or read.

Acheron Hades may be the third most evil man on earth, but he's also a charming, seductive adversary with some of the best lines in the book. If Acheron Hades is only the third most evil man on earth, who are second and first, and will Thursday get to face them?

The "third most evil man" device was to hint at a far bigger world beyond the covers of the book. Since I made this rash claim many people have asked the same question, and I can reveal that the Hades family comprises five boys—Acheron, Styx, Phlegethon, Cocytus, and Lethe—and the only girl, Aornis. Described once by Vlad the Impaler as "unspeakably repellent," the Hades family drew strength from deviancy and committing every sort of debased horror that they could—some with panache, some with halfhearted seriousness, others with a sort of relaxed insouciance about the whole thing. Lethe, the "white sheep" of the family, was hardly cruel at all—but the others more than made up for him.

Acheron Hades isn't the only personification of evil in your novels. Just as evil, and much more insidious, is the English government's indentured servitude to the Goliath Corporation and Goliath's willingness to sacrifice human lives for wartime financial gain. Why did you choose a corporation as the other major villain in the story? Do you think a relationship like the one between England's government and the Goliath Corporation could exist in real life?

I like the Orwellian feel of Goliath—oppressive and menacing in the background. As a satirical tool, its use is boundless. I can highlight the daftness of corporations and governments quite easily within its boundaries. Goliath is insidious, but what I like about it most is that it is entirely shameless in what it does—and that no one in Thursday's world (except perhaps Thursday herself) seems to think there is anything wrong with it. Perhaps the fun with Goliath is not just about corporations per se, but how we react to them.

The Eyre Affair, Lost in a Good Book, and The Well of Lost Plots have all been great successes, and I'm sure your fans will make a success of their follow-up, Something Rotten. If you could retire now and live in any book, which book would you like to spend the rest of your days living in?

An all-book pass to the P. G. Wodehouse series would be admirable. Afternoon teas, a succession of dotty aunts, impostors at Blandings Castle—what could be better or more amusing?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 89 )
Rating Distribution

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(44)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 89 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2009

    Second book in series

    You don't need to read the first in the series though. The author will have you caught up well in the first few pages. I enjoyed the series so much that I had to run out and get all the books. It's great reading for a summer day or just to escape the everyday. A great mixture of Sci-fi and mystery. The mystery's take place inside of books. But the book's characters are able to jump from their book world into the three-dimensional earth world. The earth world outside of the books is England but with a very different evolution than the England we know today.
    Alot of fun and very enjoyable reading.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Punny

    This is the second book in the Thursday Next series, and is every bit as good as the first. In Lost in a Good Book, Thursday Next must save the world while trying to rescue her eradicated husband Landen. Fforde’s writing is humorous, making for a quick, light read. Several reviewers said this book is darker than the first, which I suppose it is, though it never would have occurred to me. It has very little violence and given the nature of Fforde’s universe everything is reversible, so what does it matter if the attacks on Thursday are a little more personal in this book? I plan on reading the rest of the series, but I think I’ll take a break and clean the puns out of my brain before I start another one. Fforde’s humor is great, but I just can’t read punny humor continuously.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2010

    I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I loved this book. I couldn't put it down. I first read the Eyre Affair for my Literature class and I fell in love with it; so I had to get the second book in the series. I'm starting the third book in the series now!!!!!! Jasper Fforde is a genius!!!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 1, 2009

    Fun! Fun! Fun!

    The Thursday Next series is great for anyone who loves literature, adventure, detective, British humor, etc. A great read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A book lovers book

    Book lovers will appreciate Fforde's many literary references. Great great!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2008

    clever read

    Very enjoyable book with a good mix of fun and danger. An unusual cast of characters with great names that will make you laugh. It is a fun trip through the past, present and future with all sorts of quirky adventures along the way. I am listening to this book on book tape, and the narrator has truly caught the personality of Thursday Next. What a great concept - to travel through books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2014

    Skp it

    Just couldn't get into this book. It might make a much better movie than a read. I think it would help to understand it better had I read the first one.

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  • Posted October 4, 2013

    totally unique READ IT!!

    For all you book lovers out there youwill never read a book the same after you read this series. It's terrific!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2013

    Not as Good as the First

    Bur still a lovely continuation of one of my favorite series!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2013

    Great book!!!!

    OMG!!!!!! I LOVE THIS BOOK! APRIL FOOLS! BAD BOOK AND DON'T BUY!!!!!!

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2012

    Cool girl

    I love this book you should read it

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2012

    Great read

    Very interesting concept & a great read. Definitely going to continue on in the series.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2006

    brilliantly creative

    Jasper Fforde has once again blown me away with his creative mind and entirely original plot. The Thursday Next Novels are awesome reads and they will keep you on your toes and begging for more. It's fun to read about the classics that we have all read and loved and be able to explore them in more detail. I personally didn't like Lost in a Good Book quite as much as I did the Eyre Affair, but that's mainly because I love being introduced to characters for the first time. It is still a very entertaining novel and Fforde's inventiveness is almost frighteningly blatant.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2005

    Superb!

    I find Jasper Ffordes sense of humor absolutely refreshing. ITs quirky and very unique. His imagination is absolutely remarkable. This book was my favorite in the series for the creativity. This book is perfect for a book lover, and a great way to get people into loving the classics.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2004

    A Winner

    Absolutely absurd and as such absolutely delightful. A wonderful experience.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2004

    Just Not That Great

    You know, I really wanted to like this book. When I first heard about it, I was told it was a cross between absurd humor, which I love, and Harry Potter. Unfortunately, it seems that the author is trying to be humorous and insanely funny .... but just misses the mark. I've found much better books elsewhere, but if you like your books a little different while still conforming to standard forms of writing, go ahead wand read this book.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2004

    Get lost in Lost in a Good Book

    In some ways, this book is more inventive and carefree than the author's first book, The Eyre Affair. But it is just as fun to read and humorous as the previous. I absolutely love Miss Havisham and the Chesire Cat- or rather the Unitary Authority of Warrington Cat (read it for more about that). This parallel universe is so wacky, illogical, and hilarious that I could not help from laughing out loud. Lost in a Good Book is a wonderful read that does what a book is supposed to do- transport the reader to a different place and time. Now I just need to read Kafka's The Trial to understand a part of it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2004

    Once again into Fforde's quirky world

    It is difficult to explain a Jasper Fforde book to someone else, but if you say, 'Thursday Next' in a room full of people you may soon find a person or two who instantly knows what you're talking about. Quirky is the best term I can find for his books. It takes place in an alternate reality where science and unscience exist. A place where the big bad corporate guys rule, but they just can't seem to outsmart a low level government worker by the name of Thursday Next. Whether you are a male or female, you find something comfortable about her. She isn't too smart, too suave, or too safe. She just gets the job done as she slips into a good book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2004

    Another great book from Jasper Fforde

    Jasper Fforde has written some of the most original and entertaining books I have ever read. It is a quasi-supernatural detective thriller with bits of the absurd thrown in for good measure. Thursday Next's uncle's inventions alone make it a good read :) Definately read 'The Eyre Affair' first, or this book will make less sense. And once you've finished those two, hang on...'The Well of Lost Plots' hits bookstores soon!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2003

    A Sequel that Exceeds the First - Lost in a Good Book

    At times I thought the Eyre Affair was too cute with too many oddities thrown in for a giggle's sake - a villain named Acheron Hades for instance. The second book, however, is a stunner. Now you definitely should read the first book first - there are too many things which will be puzzling without the grounding of the Eyre Affair. But Lost in A Good Book is so very very good (and The Eyre Affair attains excellence on my second read so it may have just been me) that I urge you to rush to your nearest store and purchase both. ----Both books are set in an alternate reality in which literature is an overriding passion of most people. Imagine soccer riots and you capture the intensity of the Shakespeare-Marlowe-Bacon-Oxford debates. Our heroine, Thursday Next, is a SpecOps 27, a member of the literary police. She is embroiled in defending herself (in a riotous Trial a la Kafka) on charges of having changed the ending to Jane Eyre (previous book) but also becoming an instant pop star beseiged for photo ops/promotions of dubious products/training videos for the same cause. ---Thursday loses her husband, jumps into literature, meets the Cheshire (now Unitary Authority of Warrington) Cat, begins training for Jurisfiction under Miss Havisham, protects her pet dodo and her egg, and in general, tries to set things to right and keep the Hades family and Goliath Corp. at bay. Encountered in the book are migrating woolly mammoths, artistic neanderthals, and a horrid pink slime which will be the end of earth unless Thursday can figure out who is responsible and change the time line. ----There is no way a review could ever do justice to the creativity and fun encompassed in Lost in a Good Book. I avidly await the third book which the author has promised that he has finished. Kudos to Jasper Fforde for a most intriguing, delightful set of books.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 89 Customer Reviews

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