Posts Tagged ‘jasper fforde’

15th January
2010
written by Steph
I promised I would let you all know when my interview with Jasper Fforde was up on the BookPage website (I know you've all been on tenterhooks waiting), so I'm happy to let you know that the happy day has arrived!  Those of you coming down from your Shades of Grey reading highs will likely find this just the ticket to maintaining your Fforde buzz!  I think Friday just got a little bit happier! 😉 The interview can be read here!
4th January
2010
written by Steph
No greyzone here - I loved this book!

No greyzone here - I loved this book!

My review of the first book in Jasper Fforde's newest series, Shades of Grey, is now up on the BookPage website and can be found in the January issue.  I'm posting this under "books read in 2009", since that's when I read it, and it was technically launched here in the U.S. before 2010 was rung in. What can I say about Jasper Fforde here that I have not already said?  I think he's brilliant and Shades of Grey definitely does not disappoint. This one was a bit of a slow boil for me as the first half of the book can be overwhelming since Fforde is trying out something completely new here and there's a lot of worldbuilding and backstory that needs to happen.  Those who have any experience with Fforde's fiction know that his writing and speculative leaps can sometimes be discombobulating, even to those who have been initiated and where their Fforde fan badges with pride.  I promise that the disorientation passes and your efforts at the beginning will be richly rewarded.  I'll always be a Thursday girl, and I know that for many fellow book lovers, that series is beloved for a reason, but I really admire the risk Fforde has taken here; whether he intended to or not, he explores new depths both in terms of content and as a writer.  For someone who characterizes his own books as silly and whimsical, there is a lot of intellectual and emotional heft in Shades of Grey that may not necessarily surprise his readers, but will certainly satisfy them.  I went from being uncertain about this series to being completely ravenous for the next installment!  I hope that fellow fans feel the same way, and suggest that those who were not unequivocally won over by The Eyre Affair may want to try this on for size and see if it's a better fit.  Make no mistake, it's still a Jasper Fforde novel, but it is different from the Thursday Next and Nursery Crime series. If I were reading and reviewing it on this site, I would have given the book a 4.5 out of 5. [And yes, I received my review copy for free, but y'all know that something being free doesn't change how I feel about things!] Also, if all goes according to plan, my interview with Jasper should be going up sometime in the next week or so.  I'll keep you posted!
17th December
2009
written by Steph
Yesterday, my good friend Abby sent me a copy of an interview conducted with Jasper Fforde over at Shelf Awareness (and note that because she is such a good friend, she entitled the email “Your BF”, and I immediately knew who she meant… despite having a husband… 😉 ).  The interview is quite short (and can be read here), and focuses on what Fforde is reading and who his literary influences are and all that delightful stuff that gives us fans a peak into the mind of this marvelous man. Now, largely I marveled at how similar my tastes in authors are to those of Mr. Fforde (clearly indicating that we are destined), but one thing jarred me.  I’m all for authors mentioning favorite books or authors that I’ve never heard of (I love the constant realization that there are far too many books in the world for me to ever keep track of them all… and it’s always nice to think that maybe one of these books or writers will become a new favorite), but it throws me for a loop when they list someone as a literary BFF who I do have some experience with and who I just… don’t really care for.  In this interview, Fforde lists Alexander McCall Smith as one of his Top Five Authors, which is no small deal in my book.  Everyone else on his list (Wodehouse, Bryson, Twain, & Vonnegut) are all writers I can get behind (and I’ve sung at least three of their praises on this here blog), but the McCall Smith mention stopped me dead in my tracks.  I tried several times (at least thrice) to read the first book in his Ladies’ Detective Series, and I just COULD NOT DO IT.  I was bored and just didn't get what all the hoopla was about, and I eventually wrote McCall Smith off as one of those writers that I assumed I just wasn’t going to get. And now because of Jasper Fforde, I have myself second-guessing myself and wondering if I have been too hasty in my dismissal.  Perhaps Jasper is referring to McCall’s non-Ladies’ Detective Series books?  To anyone who is well-versed in the ways of McCall Smith, would I be better served in trying some of his other series instead to see what I’m missing?  If I were to only read one McCall Smith book what would you suggest? I also found myself wondering if the rest of you book lovers are as impressionable as I am.  Are there any authors out there who would cause you to do a 180 and give an otherwise neglected–by-you writer another shot?  Or perhaps you have someone else in your life who you find gives unerringly good book advice and if they say to read it, said book automatically goes to the top of your list?  I have to say, with the exception of Jennifer Johnson is Sick of Being Single, on which we have agreed to disagree, Abby has pretty much never steered me wrong when it comes to book choices (which is good since she ultimately decides which books I’ll review for BookPage, and it would stink if she was always sticking me with stuff that was not my thing… and even when she does stick me with something that’s not my usual quirky "Steph" read, she is aware she’s doing it... which counts for something, right?  And that doesn't happen all that often anyway...).  And even if I do have a massive crush on Jasper Fforde (but in a totally professional/respectable and not at all creepy way, I assure you), my darling husband has a pretty good read (ha!  See what I did there?) on whether a book will be to my liking, and it’s rare that we disagree on anything, never mind books, all that often.  After all, Tony is the one who has me convinced that I have to give my literary nemesis, Charles Dickens, another go.  Because of him, I will eventually conquer Great Expectations!  True love will out!  And then of course, there are all of you book bloggers, who add at least three or four books to my teetering and tottering mammoth of a TBR pile... No wonder I never make any progress with that thing!
8th December
2009
written by Steph
Ffantastic Mr. FForde

Ffantastic Mr. FForde

Forgive me, internet friends, but I have to do something I try very hard not to do: today, I'm gushing.  Why?  Because this morning I got to do a phone interview with Jasper Fforde!  I'm interviewing him for BookPage, and the interview will be posted on their site in January, so I can't spill too many beans here, which I realize is horrifically cruel of me, but them's the breaks. I will say that I was super nervous up to (and including) dialing his phone number (British numbers look so weird!), but you'll all be pleased to hear that I was the consummate professional and did not: a) hang up several times before finally going through with it like a 12-year-old girl; or b) propose matrimony.  And I only mentioned my über-fan status two or three times, and not in a scary way...  I had worried going in that I might not be able to keep up with someone as dazzlingly clever and charming as Mr. Fforde, but he was really very congenial and easy to talk to, and I think that all of my questions went over really well.  He was very candid and thoughtful, and it was so much fun to talk to one of my favorite authors about how he approaches writing as well as getting the inside scoop on some of the books.   We easily chatted for about an hour – one I would happily relive over and over again, because it just went by too quickly! While there are plenty of authors I’d love to interview if given the chance, I think Jasper Fforde was the best possible person to kick things off with… and if I never get to interview another author again, well, this will be enough.  Having seen him speak a few times previously, I knew he was extremely gracious and articulate, and well, we all know how I feel about a man with an accent... but it was so nice to find him that way in a one-on-one scenario as well. Consider my author crush intensified by 10,000!  Sigh.  I hope the ladies at BookPage let me keep the tape recording of us chatting (and that Tony doesn’t “accidentally” run the Mini Cooper over it)… So as not to be totally heartless, here are a few of the things that we discussed that will hopefully make my writeup in January (anything that doesn't but is trivia-worthy, I promise to post here):
  • Why did he feel it was time to branch out from the Thursday Next & NCD books?
  • The importance of comedy in fiction
  • Where the inspiration for Shades of Grey came from
  • The joys of book tours
  • Jasper gives some glimpses into the next Thursday Next book (slated for 2011 release!), and some of the books & well-loved characters he’s trying to cram in there
  • Which Thursday Next book is his favorite thus far
  • Why you should never visit Nashville on a Monday…
So much fun, guys!  I’m seriously on cloud nine right now (and wondering if I can swing a roadtrip to Atlanta on Jan 15 where Jasper will be doing a book signing and Q&A at the Buckhead Barnes & Noble.  P.S.  You should check and see whether he's coming to a city near you!)!  Tell me, if you could interview one author, who would you pick?  Any authorial crushes I should know about?
6th September
2009
written by Steph
But you know what's not rotten?  This book!

But you know what's not rotten? This book!

Ok, so I understand that whole “different strokes for different folks” idea – books that I love will not necessarily be universally loved by everyone else, but I have to say, when it comes to Jasper Fforde, if you love reading and you love books, then I kind of can’t compute how you wouldn’t enjoy his Thursday Next books.  And I know that you people exist out there, and have read things where people said that they just couldn’t get into The Eyre Affair, and while I of course respect that whole DSFDF principle I outlined above, I just don’t understand how you can NOT like these books.  And especially the people who say that they didn’t really find them funny, because whenever I read a Jasper Fforde novel, I am equal parts enamoured by him and hella envious because he is SO clever and witty and well-read that I can hardly stand it!  And I have seen him two or three times in person at book signings and I can tell you that he is exactly the same way in person (except add charming to the mix) and it is maddening!  I don’t know – I guess it is like how there are some people out there who don’t think Arrested Development is the funniest show ever created, when that is not even a matter of opinion but purely fact (Simona, I know this includes you, but I think it is a testament to my commitment to our friendship that I overlook this HUGE flaw on your part… At least you have finally read Harry Potter (and loved it!  Also critical!) 😉 ). (more…)