The Thursday Next series of novels by Jasper Fforde are delightfully comic adventures set in an alternative version of Swindon, UK in which the printed world reigns supreme and people are excited by productions of Richard III. Everyone reads and literature is the main source of entertainment and diversion. What most people don't know there is that literature in this universe has a very real life of its own, a life that must be protected, for if anything is changed in the inner book world, it changes in every book in the outer real world as well.
If you slept through American and British lit class, you might have a little trouble keeping up with the action of these books. For those whose classical education was a bit thin or it's been a few years and the memory of details are fuzzy, Fforde provides enough background information and makes the characters come so alive, that you might find yourself wanting to pick up an old classic and see what you missed or didn't quite get the first time. Aside from the literary references and all the characters from so many novels floating around in the plots, the world that Jasper Fforde has concocted is delightfully unlike any other I have found in literature. His stories are innovative and I never know in what direction he is going to take Thursday or where she will end up.
The novels have brought attention to Swindon, UK, which in time may even name some streets after characters from the books. The author and his fans have created their own universe where Thursday next is occasionally "spotted" at one party or another or walking down the streets of Swindon. He has a whimsical and extensive website I encourage you to explore by clicking on the title of this post. Here is a video in which the author talks about the world of Thursday Next.
The Thursday Next books in order of publication:
The Eyre Affair
Lost in a Good Book
The Well of Lost Plots
First Among Sequels, the next Thursday Next novel
came out in July 2008.