Jasper Fforde and Shades of Grey

Shades of Grey

Shades of Grey

Please forgive me for playing the “Jasper Fforde Role-Playing Game”. You see, I am going to try to tell you why you should read some of Jasper Fforde’s books and what they’re about. The game goes something like this.

Me: “You should really read this book, The Eyre Affair”
You: “What’s it about?”
Me: “Well, there’s Thursday… and she’s got a dodo. No, that’s not really it, well, Jane Eyre… literary detective… books, pages… Err, Miss Havisham tries to break a land speed record*…ARGH. Just read the book!”

*Ok, technically, Miss Havisham and her speed record are not in The Eyre Affair, they’re in The Well of Lost Plots, but it read well.

That is the Jasper Fforde Role-Playing Game. You can’t really describe his books with any standard categorization. After attending his talk and reading at Third Place Books tonight, I’m not sure you can describe the man with any standard categorization either. Well, that’s not really true. He’s smart, funny, and (shhh, don’t tell my husband) darn cute. Tonight’s reading was entertaining and funny. As you can probably tell from the little role-playing game above, reading a random section from one of his books isn’t exactly easy. In fact, as my husband put it, we would gladly pay for Jasper Fforde to read his books aloud to us if they always included the commentary as he went along. There was lots of “Well, you have to know that…” and “you see in this world, colors are used…”. He couldn’t get through two sentences without stopping to explain something or other in the book. But that’s why you should read the book. There is so much depth to his books, and the plots are well thought out and intricate, that they are a joy to read.

He confirmed that there will be another Thursday Next book. In fact, he’s working on it right now. On average, he told us that the Thursday Next books take him about 100 days to write, but this book, Shades of Grey, took over 400 days to write.

He showed his intelligence in more than just his talk though. My husband stood in line to get our book signed and as per the norm, the attendants put a post-it on the page with the dedication. My husband asked for “John and Patricia” and Jasper Fforde asked him, when he got up in line, “Are you sure you don’t want Patricia and John?” Smart man, that Jasper Fforde. I need to go back and read The Eyre Affair, particularly since he gave us some insight into the writing process.

The only negative part of the evening was the seating. I really love Third Place Books. The book selection is fabulous, the staff is helpful and pleasant, and even the food court is pretty nice. However, they packed the chairs in so tightly that I was touching the shoulders and thighs of the people on either side of me and my knees were practically touching the back of the chair in front of me (and I’m a relatively small person). Next time Third Place… add just a bit more space around all of the chairs. Just a touch. Please.

3 Comments so far

  1. Zee Grega (zeegrega) on January 11th, 2010 @ 10:13 am

    I love Fforde’s writing and I’m glad to hear that he is as entertaining in person as he is in prose. (It’s always odd to me when a good writer is a boring talker, but it does happen.)

    Honestly, though, while I liked all the Tuesday novels to one degree or another, I’d really rather have a new Nursery Crimes book. Two books is too few books, it’s such a great series.

  2. Patricia Eddy (patriciaeddy) on January 11th, 2010 @ 10:17 am

    There will be at least one more Nursery Crime book. He confirmed that as well. As well as a sequel to Shades of Grey.

  3. teresue (unregistered) on January 12th, 2010 @ 10:58 am

    I was there and couldn’t agree more with everything you had to say – including the seating situation. It occurred to me during the reading and was confirmed when I went home to watch Hugh Grant on the Graham Norton show – if you close you eyes when listening to Jasper Fforde he sounds EXACTLY like Hugh Grant – adorable stutters included.

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