The Well of Lost Plots

well of lost plots

The Well of Lost Plots
A Thursday Next novel, Book 3

Jasper Fforde
Viking, 2003

From the dust jacket, “Thursday Next definitely needs some downtime. After two rollicking New York Times-bestselling adventures through the Western literary canon, Britain’s Prose Resource Operative was literally and literaturally at her wit’s end – not to mention pregnant. So what could be more welcome that a restful stint in the Character Exchange Program down in the hidden depths of the Well of Lost Plots?

“But a vacation remains elusive. In no time, Thursday discovers that the Well of Lost Plots is a veritable linguistic free-for-all where grammasites run rampant, plot devices are hawked on the black market and lousy books (like the one she has taken up residence in are scrapped for salvage. To top it off, a murderer is stalking Jursifiction personnel and nobody is safe, least of all Thursday herself.

“Once again, it’s up to the ever-resourceful gal detective to track down the killer, save her pulp novel-slash-temporary abode from being chucked into the Text Sea, and get back to her “real” life with her body (and memory, if it’s not too much to ask) intact.”

I enjoyed this book the 4th time around as I have the 1st time I read it years ago! It’s a bit crazy – no, make that a lot of crazy but, crazy-fun! I’ve never read Great Expectations, so I’m not familiar with Miss Havisham’s story line but in this book she is stern, yet kind; she is also a direct, no-nonsense speed demon who likes to take souped-up fictional vehicles into the real world and drive them faster than they’re designed to go. Also included in Thursday’s band of comrades are ibb and obb, two Generic Characters who stay with her while they attend school and gradually become fictional characters with personality.  Thursday has a new nemesis, the sister of Hades from the first book. With a new villain there’s someone new for her to battle with – this time it’s a battle for Thursday’s sanity.

Rating 5 out of 5 paws because I laughed, I cried, I thoroughly enjoyed this book!

Reviewer: bobbiesue-locBobbieSue

The Five Chinese Brothers

5 chinese a

The Five Chinese Brothers

Claire Huchet Bishop and Kurt Wiese
Coward-McCann, Inc., 1938, 1965

Summary: “Five brothers who look just alike outwit the executioner by using their extraordinary individual qualities.”

In the same vein as the pre-Disney-sanitized versions of Grimm’s fairy tales were full of death and triumph, this old Chinese tall tale weaves a fantastic story with a foolish boy losing his life and four brothers who prevent the fifth brother from being executed for murder. There’s a moral lesson to this tale – one that teaches kittens to listen to adults to stay safe (and alive!) and one that teaches adults to not go to extreme measures to prove a point.

Of course this book has been challenged – any time there’s a book with one view there’s a ton more with opposite views. Some readers have taken exception to the illustrations of the book:

The Five Chinese Brothers was banned when parents expressed concern at the Salem Public Library that the book’s “racial stereotypes were demeaning to Chinese People (1990).” The book was also challenged in a California grade school because “it contains descriptions of violent plots to execute five brothers (1998).”” And another blogger had this to say, “Chinese faces carry a yellow-orange hue; the eyes are often reduced to stereotypical slits.  There has been some discussion of the book as an endorsement of capital punishment and a celebration of violence in general.”

Nevermind this classic of children’s literature was published in 1938 and may have been reflecting the general views of the day. Even if those views are not acceptable by today’s standards (i.e., obsessive adherence to political correctness), perhaps the book should be read as a cultural example of ‘days gone by’ and past thoughts and interpretations taken into consideration to be learned from not banned.

Rating 3 out of 5 paws because although it is a classic, we don’t care for stories about cheating and executions.

As we’ve stated before, The Library doesn’t like all banned books and wouldn’t read them – except for the fact that they’ve been banned or challenged. We read to protest censorship and to give a voice to those beleaguered books & authors.

Reviewer: loc jackJack

Lost in a Good Book

lost in a good book

Lost in a Good Book
A Thursday Next Novel, Book 2

Jasper Fforde

Viking, 2002

From the dust jacket, “If Thursday thought she could avoid the spotlight after her heroic escapades in the pages of Jane Eyre, she was sorely mistaken. The unforgettable literary detective whom Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times calls “part Bridget Jones, part Nancy Drew and part Dirty Harry” has another think coming.

“The love of her life has been eradicated by the corrupt multinational Goliath, and to rescue him Thursday must retrieve a supposedly vanquished enemy from the pages of “The Raven.” But Poe is off-limits to even the most seasoned literary interloper. Enter a professional: the man-hating Miss Havisham from Dicken’s Great Expectations. As Miss H’s new apprentice, Thursday keeps her motives secret as she learns the ropes of Jurisfiction, where she moonlights as a Prose Resource Operative inside books. As if jumping into the works of Kafka and Austen, and even Beatrix Potter’s Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies, weren’t enough, 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.

“The inventive, exuberant and totally original literary fun that began with The Eyre Affair continues with Fforde’s magnificent new adventure, the second installment in what is sure to become a classic series of literary fantasy.”

This is the 5th time I’ve read this book and enjoyed it as much as the first one! The reader bounces back and forth between the “real” world and the fiction world as Thursday continues to work toward getting her husband back and learning what it means to be a Jurisfiction agent. The advanced technology is cool – loved the Gravity Drop – where you climb inside a tube and are dropped through the center of the earth to the other side in a matter of minutes. London to Tokyo in less than an hour!! Very cool! Of course, they have airships but no airplanes! Anyway, the constant threat from Goliath, Spec Ops and Aornis, not to mention a forced overhaul of the Book World Text Grand Central keep Thursday on her toes and the reader on the edge of their seat!!!

Rating 5 out of 5 paws because it’s a page turner and then some!

Reviewer: bobbiesue-locBobbieSue

Death by Petticoat

death by petticoat

Death by Petticoat
American History Myths Debunked

Mary Miley Theobald
with The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2012

From Goodreads, “Every day stories from American history that are not true are repeated in museums and classrooms across the country. Some are outright fabrications; others contain a kernel of truth that has been embellished over the years. Collaborating with The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Mary Miley Theobald has uncovered the truth behind many widely repeated myth-understandings in our history in Death by Petticoat….

“Pregnant women secluded themselves indoors, uneven stairs were made to trip up burglars, people bathed once a year, women had tiny waists, apprenticeships lasted seven years–Death by Petticoat reveals the truth about these hysterical historical myth-understandings.”

We read about this book in a magazine from Colonial Williamsburg and were very pleased to find that our library carried a copy. If you like trivia or reading about American history, you’ll enjoy this book. It is well researched, highly readable and each myth is illustrated with drawings, paintings or photographs.

The myth of the title is “So many colonial American women died from burns when their long petticoats caught fire that it became the second-most common cause of death, after childbirth.” According to the author’s research, the leading cause of death for women during colonial times was disease; and perhaps the thought that a skirt catching fire was such a horrific death it made people think it happened all the time; in fact, it was a very rare occurrence. Most women’s skirts were cotton, linen or wool, which, again according to the author, tends to smolder rather than flame up and burn.

Other myths debunked include, “Beds were shorter back then…”; “The Dutch bought Manhattan…for $24…”; “Women ate arsenic to lighten their complexions”; and “The position of a horse’s leg on an equestrian statue tells how the rider died.” All very amusing and very interesting!

Rating 4 out of 5 paws for a enlightening view of colonial America!

Reviewer: jack-locJack

 

 

The Bad Guys

bad guys a

The Bad Guys

Aaron Blabey
Scholastic, 2017

From the back of the book, “The Bad Guys…They’re scary and dangerous and well … just BAD. But these guys want to be HEROES. And they’re going to prove it by breaking every last dog out of the pound. The Bad Guys are ready to do some good … whether you want them to or not!”

Mr. Wolf decides he’s tired of being a bad guy so he finds some very reluctant recruits to help him become one of the ‘good guys’. Mr. Shark, Mr. Snake, and Mr. Piranha are very skeptical about being ‘good guys’ but they give it a go with hilarious results! This graphic novel for youngsters is laugh out loud, roll on the floor funny! The bit with setting the dogs free was funny, but, the best part was the gang trying to rescue a kitten in a tree! Can you imagine being stuck in a tree and seeing a wolf, shark, snake and a piranha come to your rescue? All the kitten does is SCREAM!!!!! It’s just too funny!!! Your kittens will love reading this book to themselves or to their younger siblings. Check it out today and enjoy!!!

Rating 4 out of 5 paws for super laugh out loud funnies!!

Rating: peggysue-locPeggySue