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Jasper Fforde has stolen my life



Every now and then I come across a book that I just can’t put down, even rarer is when I get an entire series that I can’t stop reading, but this is what Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next books have done to me. For years people have been trying to get me to read them, and the other day finally I started One of Our Thursdays is Missing his newest in the series which just happened to be lying around the house. After finishing that I was hooked and I went to the library to get the rest. Which from that point onward all I did was read Mr. Fforde until there wasn’t a Fforde book left.

The books are great fun, and despite being incredibly light and quick to read they’re also insanely clever. Much of the series is spent with the main character Thursday Next hopping in and out of books in order to police them by making sure the stories of fiction run smoothly. The series is full of puns, wordplay, jokes on grammar and jokes about classical literature. This of course means these books are not for everyone, if you don’t enjoy wordplay and aren’t reasonably well read most of the jokes will fall flat. If you do enjoy those things though, you are doing yourself a gross disservice by not reading Mr. Fforde.

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2012 in Fiction

 

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Operation Mincement a review



The last book I reviewed was Winston’s War, a delightful novel of political corruption prior to WWII, once I finished the book I couldn’t wait to get my teeth into a historical account of the war. This lead me to Operation Mincement.

This book tells the story of a brilliant plan devised by British Intelligence to fool the Nazi war machine. I can safely tell you that the plan centers around a dead vagrant in commandeered military uniform carrying fake military plans and a few fraudulent love notes. This body is set in the ocean where the tides will bring the corpse to occupied enemy shores, and point the Nazis in the wrong direction.

The plan may seem a little far-fetched and perhaps it is, after all Operation Mincement was originally the brain child of one Ian Fleming an officer in Navy Intelligence but whose fame comes from authoring the James Bond Novels. I would say more, but I wouldn’t want to spoil how such a genius plot can come together and then miraculously stay together.

This is a fabulous tale the true and outrageous implementation of proper spycraft, and how a deadman easily makes the best of double agents.

Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory        by Ben Macintyre
published by Broadway
ISBN-978-0307453280

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2011 in Non-Fiction

 

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We, the Drowned by Carsten Jensen



This is one of my favorite books that I have read in a long, long time. Finally we are treated to a nautical tale that is more than just picking weevils out of biscuits and other overly tedious aspects of sailing life that many books decide to force on us. Generally I think this comes from an author who had to research what life on a boat was like, and then says if I had to research it, I had better well talk about it.

We, the Drowned however, focuses on the story of the individuals. The novel spans the course of four generations of Marstal a small shipping town in Denmark, we are regaled with tales of war, cannibals, great journeys and a man who claims to have literally flashed his bum to St. Peter and the Pearly Gates. It is impossible to put the book in any one category, it ranges from comedy to romance to high drama, and then back again. We, the Drowned keeps its pacing remarkably well and while there were times I was forced to put it down, I regretted having to, and couldn’t wait until I could get back to reading.

One of the most interesting things about it, is the perspective of the novel. We, the Drowned is written in the voice of “we” the town. There is a great line from the book expressing this. “Everyone of us has a story, but it is not the one he tells himself. Its author has a thousand eyes, a thousand ears and five hundred pens that never stop scribbling.”

We, the Drowned
by Carsten Jensen
translated by Charlotte Barslund
published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN-978-0151013777

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2011 in Fiction

 

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