The Constant Rabbit is a novel by Jasper Fforde.
Finished on: 17.8.2021
Content Note: (critical treatment of) racism and fascism
In 1965, an as of yet unexplained Anthropomorphising Event took place that transformed 18 rabbits into intelligent, talking human-sized beings. Ever since, they have multiplied and become a part of society. What part exactly that is, is a hotly-debated topic. The UKARP (UK Anti-Rabbit Party) that wants to see rabbit rights strictly limited has garnered much momentum. Peter Knox works for RabCoT, the Rabbit Compliance Taskforce, but sees the mounting leporophobia around him with concern. When a rabbit family moves in next door, and he realizes that he knew Connie, the mother, in college, it becomes ever more obvious that Peter will need to choose a side.
The Constant Rabbit is not subtle in its allegory, but its so supremely weird in the most wonderful way that it never feels preachy. It’s instead a deeply political, funny and revealing book.
Spellman Six (aka The Last Word) is the sixth and final novel in the Spellman Series by Lisa Lutz.
Finished on: 18.4.2021
[Here are my reviews of the other books in the series.]
After Izzy Spellman took over the family business in what could be considered a hostile take-over, her parents have started to be hostile right back. Izzy’s management has generally caused a bit of trouble for the business, and it doesn’t help that she is being accused of embezzling a client. With her bookkeeping skills, Izzy might actually have spent some money that she shouldn’t have, but that’s not the point. The question is whether Izzy will actually run the family business into the ground.
Spellman Six gives us a nice ending to the series, albeit not a simple and clean happy end. But then again, when has Izzy ever given us something clean and simple? In any case, it’s sad but also okay that the series has ended now.
The Shaved Man is a novel by Anatoly Marienhof. I read the German translation by Brigitte van Kann and Gregor Jarcho.
Finished on: 3.1.2021
Mishka and Leo have been friends for a long time. Although friends may be the wrong word – Leo has always dominated Mishka, as the more beautiful, more charming and more cruel of the two. But one night Mishka is done with it all. He murders Leo – and then tries to figure out why he did it.
I read Cynics not too long ago and I really enjoyed it. The Shaved Man didn’t work that well for me, unfortunately. I never really got into the story.
Just One Damned Thing After Another is the first novel in the Chronicles of St Mary’s by Jodi Taylor.
Finished on: 17.10.2019
Madeleine Maxwell, called Max, is a historian who – at the suggestion of her teacher – applies to St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research, an odd little institute with promising research. As usual in academia, the working conditions don’t exactly sound great. But it is only after Max actually gets the job that she realizes what it actually entails: actual time travel to observe events in real time.
A friend recommended this series to me as pulpy fun, but I have to admit that I couldn’t really get into it – I got hung up on the pulpy bits so much that I didn’t manage to get to the fun.
Sense and Sensibility the Screenplay and Diaries collects Emma Thompson‘s screenplay for the 1995 film, adapted from Jane Austen’s novel, as well as Thompson’s diaries for the production of the film.
Finished on: 20.7.2019
I really love the film (I’m rather surprised that I never reviewed it here), so when I heard that the script was published, and that there was even additional material in the form of Thompson’s diaries for the production, I knew I had to track it down. And I’m absolutely glad I did. The script itself is an extremely nice read, but the real treat are the diaries – a warm look behind the scenes with a wonderful sense of humor.
Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch is a novel by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.
Finished on: 28.6.2019
[Here’s my first review.]
Content Note: racism, sexism
The angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley have spent a lot of time on earth, doing their respective duties and have got pretty comfortable here. So when the news reaches them that the Antichrist is about to be born and the apocalypse is drawing closer, they are not really happy about it. But Crowley sets things in motion, as they are supposed to be set in motion, though coincidence seems to have a hand in it as well. But it has all been predicted by Agnes Nutter, a witch who died a while back, but still has an heir in Anathema Device who keeps up the family tradition. While the Horsemen of the Apocalypse start to gather, it turns out that the boy everybody thought was the Antichrist was actually switched at birth and nobody really knows where the Antichrist really is.
It doesn’t feel that long that I read the book, but I had forgotten a lot about it. But in this case that is absolutely great because it meant I could enjoy much of it as if I actually read it for the first time. And there is certainly a lot to enjoy.
Die verwechselten Töchter [literally: The Exchanged Daughters] is an epistolary novel by Maria Anna Sager (also written as Maria Anna Sagar).
Finished on: 26.4.2019
[You can read it here in German.]
In a rather poor neighborhood, two girls are born at almost exactly the same time, and both are called Klara. Their mothers are fast friends, and the two girls grow up inseparable and often indistinguishable. When the mother of the older Klara is called away by circumstances to acquire a more affluent position, both Klaras remain with the mother of the younger Klara. When the older Klara’s mother calls for her daughter a few years later, the younger Klara’s mother hopes to find a better life for her daughter and sends the younger Klara in the older Klara’s stead – a decision that causes troubles for all of them.
Die verwechselten Töchter is an almost forgotten classic of Austrian literature, one of the first (epistolary) novels by a woman to be published at all in German. And it is still a very good read that I can absolutely recommend.
The Help is a novel by Kathryn Stockett. It was recently adapted into a film.
1960 in Jackson, Mississippi: Aibileen is a maid who is currently working for the Leefolt family, where she especially loves taking care of Mae Mobley, the Leefolts’ little girl. Her best friend is Minny who – quite contrary to Aibileen – usually gets in trouble because she won’t hold her peace. Which is not the best course of action for a maid. But when the white Skeeter looks for a maid to talk about her life, so she can write a book about it, it’s Aibilieen who jumps at the chance.
It took me a bit to get into the book but when I did it was a really nice, flowing read with some great characters.