October 02, 2004
Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde

Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde: the second novel in the Thursday Next series, picking up where The Eyre Affair left off.

Again, it’s 1985, England is the world’s biggest superpower and a virtual police state seemingly controlled by the mega-corporation Goliath. Thursday Next, Special Operations Literary Detective, has managed to infuriate Mr. Schitt-Hawse, a Goliath executive, by imprisioning his half-brother Jack Schitt in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven.” Schitt-Hawse proceeds to blackmail Thursday into getting his half-brother back by eradicating any trace of her new husband so that she’s the only one who even remembers him.

To make matters worse, a bunch of bizarre coincidences have resulted in accidents that almost take her life and she still has to figure out if the newly discovered Shakespearean play was really penned by the bard and save the world from turing into a ball of pink sludge.

As with The Eyre Affair, one has to have a certain suspension of disbelief, but I completely loved the book. The literary references and jokes were wonderful and trying to figure out how Thursday’s going to deal with everything that’s going on is both interesting and fun. I really look forward to reading the next book in the series, The Well of Lost Plots

September 30, 2004
The World According to Garp by John Irving

The World According to Garp by John Irving: a novel about the illegitimate son of nurse and feminist, Jenny Fields, and the people that inhabit his world.

T.S. Garp was born to Jenny Fields, an independent minded woman and young nurse during World War II. Jenny becomes a nurse at the Steering School for boys and raises Garp there. After Garp graduates, he and Jenny move to Vienna where she writes the novel that will make her popular as a feminist leader and Garp begins his writing career.

I don’t want to give anything away, so I’m going to keep this review intentionally vague. The book covers Garp’s life as a writer and a father, his marriage, and the lives of his family and friends, including Roberta, a former Eagles tackle who is now a woman after having a sex change operation.

The World According to Garp was both funny and sad, reflective and exciting. I found the writing style to be very inviting and I’m not surprised that this book made Random House’s Modern Library 100 Best Fiction Books of the 20th Century. I highly recommend it.