I recently finished reading The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde. The book has many references to both Martin Chuzzlewit and Jane Eyre. Since I had previously read these two books, I was able to get the full effect of the humor from that story.

As I began reading the sequel, Lost in a Good Book, the story has begun introducing other book references to things I haven't yet read (e.g., Great Expectations, The Trial). I've stopped reading Mr. Fforde's book until I can read those others that he references, but I'm concerned about what books have yet to be referenced in the series.

Are there other books that I need to read to get the most out of the Thursday Next series?

  • Wikipedia's summaries would be a good start.
    – user56
    Aug 17, 2012 at 19:21
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    @Gilles but they are full of spoilers Feb 6, 2014 at 20:41
  • and for Well of Lost Plots, there's no mention of Wuthering Heights but you should have read it to get all the Heathcliff jokes Feb 6, 2014 at 20:51
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    Start with "The Great Samuel Pepys Fiasco" :)
    – mpez0
    Mar 8, 2014 at 23:59
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    It's been too long since I read these to offer a thorough answer, but if you haven't read the following, there are major plot points and/or characters based on them. Something Rotten features Hamlet and First Among Sequels features Pride and Prejudice. Oct 5, 2014 at 1:50

3 Answers 3


I don't think that you need to have read any of them to follow the plot.

A decent grounding and knowledge of Western literature will probably be fine, and Fforde puts in a lot of very obscure or local references (There's an ongoing joke about the British Shipping Forecast in the first book)

For Lost in a Good Book:
The Trial by Kafka (Probably only need to read the summary)
The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe (May as well read the whole thing)
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (May as well read the whole thing)
The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll (Just the summary)
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (Just the summary)

If you run into any puns or references which you don't get, ask online (or someone British) it can be a little like Pratchett in that way.


The Thursday Next books have more impact if you are familiar with the stories referred to. The Eyre Affair had 2 main books to brush up on: Jane Eyre and Martin Chuzzlewit. Lost in a Good Book has 10! I recommend Great Expectations, Adventures of Alice in Wonderland, and The Trial. But if you want to be thorough, read Jane Eyre, Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies, Sense and Sensibility, Canterbury Tales, Decline and Fall, and Once and Future King. It helps that these classics are terrific reads!


I don't think you need to have read the books to understand the references. If you know that Miss Havisham lives as a recluse, in her wedding gown, that's enough. In the original, she is deliberately bringing up Estella to be cold and heartless, to hurt men, but that has nothing to do with Fforde's Miss Havisham.

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    Yes, but that's kind of the point. Sometimes Fforde's precis of a book's plot or a character's behavior is not the same as in the book we out here read - and that is supposed to be something we notice. But if we don't know who died/married/ran away/came back then it's confusing Feb 6, 2014 at 20:35
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    @KateGregory that's exactly my worry. If you didn't know how Jane Eyre was supposed to end, reading the Eyre Affair loses so much from the story. Mar 9, 2014 at 16:42

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