Flashback Friday: Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn

It’s time, once again, for Flashback Friday. My, how the week flies by!

Flashback Fridays is a chance to dig deep in the darkest nooks of our bookshelves and pull out the good stuff from way back. As a reader, a blogger, and a consumer, I tend to focus on new, new, new… but what about the old favorites, the hidden gems? On Flashback Fridays, I want to hit the pause button for a moment and concentrate on older books that are deserving of attention.

My rules — since I’m making this up:

  1. Has to be something I’ve (you’ve) read myself (yourself) — oh, you know what I mean!
  2. Has to still be available, preferably still in print
  3. Must have been originally published 5 or more years ago

Other than that, the sky’s the limit! Join me, please, and let us all know: what are the books you’ve read that you always rave about? What books from your past do you wish EVERYONE would read? Pick something from five years ago, or go all the way back to the Canterbury Tales if you want. It’s Flashback Friday time!

Add your link below — join in for Flashback Friday!

My pick for this week’s Flashback Friday:

My very own copy, fresh from the shelf! Excuse the shaky photography, please. Hey, it’s the book that counts!

Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn

(published 2001)

Simply one of the most delicious books I’ve ever read, sure to delight anyone who’s every played with words, laughed at a clever twist of phrase, or admired a quirky anagram.

From Amazon:

Ella Minnow Pea is a girl living happily on the fictional island of Nollop off the coast of South Carolina. Nollop was named after Nevin Nollop, author of the immortal pangram, “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” Now Ella finds herself acting to save her friends, family, and fellow citizens from the encroaching totalitarianism of the island’s Council, which has banned the use of certain letters of the alphabet as they fall from a memorial statue of Nevin Nollop. As the letters progressively drop from the statue they also disappear from the novel. The result is both a hilarious and moving story of one girl’s fight for freedom of expression, as well as a linguistic tour de force sure to delight word lovers everywhere.

A pangram, by the way, is a sentence containing every letter of the alphabet. This clever, clever book is framed by the famous quick brown fox pangram, and moves into marvelous insanity as the people of Nollop lose the right to use letters of the alphabet as they fall from the statue of their island’s hero. As each letter drops, author Mark Dunn drops it from the novel as well. If you think that’s an easy feat, you clearly haven’t read Ella Minnow Pea yet! The verbal gymnastics are quite magnificent to behold, and yet the story itself is engaging and dynamic, not just second-fiddle to some truly impressive wordplay.

The *uick brown fox *umps over the la*y dog

Looking back through Ella Minnow Pea is so much fun, such a great reminder of how much I loved this book when I first read it, that it may be time to dust it off and read it again. If you’re visiting Bookshelf Fantasies, I’m guessing you’re a booklover, which in my mind equates to wordlover… in which case, pick up a copy of Ella Minnow Pea and give yourself a real treat.

So, what’s your favorite blast from the past? Leave a tip for your fellow booklovers, and share the wealth. Time to dust off our old favorites and get them back into circulation.

Note from your friendly Bookshelf Fantasies host: This is my baby-steps attempt at a blog hop! Join in, post a Friday Flashback on your blog, and share your link below. Let’s get this party started!

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