When I was little, I had a book that if you read it one direction, was Peter Pan, and if you flipped it over and read it the other direction, was Alice in Wonderland. I loved that. Two books! Upside down! Forwards and backwards! It was pretty cool. So, several years ago in NY, when I encountered a book that was, in one direction, The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists and, in the other direction, The Pirates! In an Adventure with Ahab, I was pretty excited. And that was before I even knew how funny it was. It's always hard to quantify "amount of funniness" so let's just say, very, very funny. The only drawback I could identify was that I did not actually know the author, Gideon Defoe, because I was pretty sure we would get along famously (though, clearly only one of us was a celebrity of any sort).
Years went by during which Gideon Defoe wrote several other amusing pirate books and, unsurprisingly, continued to be entirely unaware of my existence/our potentially fantastic relationship. And then, last winter, I saw a preview for a pirate movie. This pirate movie. I recognized the source material straight away. I was sufficiently excited by this development in the career of my imaginary friend that I went to his website and sent him a star-struck, laudatory email. And you know what? He wrote back. And that, dear readers, is how my imaginary friend, Gideon Defoe, author of very droll pirate-based fiction, became my slightly less imaginary friend.
Now, movies are all very well, but the books are closer to my heart. They have footnote humor. Movies do that poorly. Fortunately, he continues to write and to footnote very liberally indeed. His most recent book, The Pirates! In an Adventure with the Romantics may well be my favorite. Have you secretly yearned to read a book in which jokes are made about the boringness of Switzerland? And Byron and the Pirate Captain compare the magnificence of their hair? And Mary Shelley secretly finds poems kind of tiresome? Of course you have. Now is your big chance.
You may remember that I recently (and rather ineptly) joined Twitter. In my second tweet of all time (I am now up to 29, I believe. Amazing.) I tried to be flattering and helpful. I did it wrong.
this book immediately. When you do, I urge you to read the Table of Contents and the List of Illustrations. You'll be glad you did.
In fact, for your benefit, allow me to quote, entirely illegally, my favorite illustration title:
Eliza burst into tears. The world's largest parsnip--and it was ruined!Go buy the book. Unless you are my closest friend, in which case, you'll probably be getting it for Christmas.