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I read widely and in most genres but romance and westerns. Here you'll find my reviews since 2007, with a few reviews of previously read books as well.


In 2012, I completed an "authors of the world" challenge, reading a book for every country (and a few other entities) by someone who'd lived there for at least two years. I expect to tag these books by challenge and country in the near future. I'm still refining my list by adding books that better meet my challenge criteria.

Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters

Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters - A clever novel that is probably more fun for linguaphiles than for the general reader. The premise is that a tiny island nation off the coast of the U.S. has been constituted around Nollop, the originator of the pangram "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog." The community eschews or lacks many modern conveniences (such as reliable telephone service), priding itself on its linguistic erudition. The novel is told in, and about, letters; the tiles spelling out the sentence begin to drop from Nollop's statue. The community leaders' response is more mystical than empirical and literary entertainment ensues as each fallen letter is forbidden. Though the plot mocks religious, power-grabbing governments that abrogate civil rights and freedom of expression on the basis of dogma (insert "lazy dog" joke here), it also includes much language play. As some of the citizens, including the eponymous Ella Minnow Pea, race to construct another pangram against the lipogrammatic clock, the reader may enjoy the characters' sophisticated vocabularies and circumlocutory heroics. The reader familiar with pangrams may spot the plot resolution before the characters do.My only complaint is that I do not believe that, even with the use of exempted 7-year-olds, the attempt to construct the alternative pangrams would have been permitted by the Council.Read with Abish's [i:]Alphabetical Africa[/i:] for a different kind of lipogram game, and with concordiform novels such as Marlowe's [i:]How to Stop Time: Heroin from A to Z[/i:] to increase your appreciation for the challenges inherent in presenting a coherent narrative in a linguistically constrained structure.