Haiku summaries | bewitch, befuddle and bug: | serious humour?


A haiku is a traditional Japanese poem with some aspect of the seasons as a theme. In English it has sometimes, for better or worse, developed beyond the original concept of a seasonal link, and occasionally is found in the form of three lines of up to seventeen syllables in total with no reference to the time of year:

The conceit is this: / five, seven, five syllables? / Summative poem!

The book-cataloguing and social networking site Library Thing has provision in their listings for what they call a ‘haiku summary’ of literary works. I thought I might try to amuse readers (as I may have entertained with the Twitter hashtag #bookcheat) by inviting you to identify books by the following summaries. If you’re stuck, follow the links!

1. The first is a compendium of a series of modern classics.

Seven children’s tales | underpinned by magic, myth | and theology

2. Another modern classic by a friend of the above author is next.

Wizard at the door? | Twelve dwarves too? You’ll be telling | me a dragon’s next!

Stumped? Here’s another clue:

Nasty Bagginses | stole the Precious, yess, and we | hates them forever!

Yes, that rather gave it away.

3. Can you spot the connection with this work?

Middle Earth author | resets ancient Norse sagas | in Modern English

4. This related title is perhaps more obscure:

For hobbitomanes | fifty-one maps chart Frodo | there and back again

5. This title is by a writer who attended lectures given by that Middle Earth author:

Discover the laws | governing fantasy worlds: | beware tongues in cheeks

6. This is a wonderful illustrated listing of fictional worlds:

Atlantis, Hogwarts, | Narnia, Oz, Shangri-La: | Utopias all!

7. A non-fiction account details a missing link:

Phoenix-like, from stone | it rises, wings raised, renewed, | the stuff of legend

8. A nightmarish fiction by the late Robert Holdstock:

Adopted boy gains | gift of fetching gifts; travels |through time and space too

9. A Victorian classic now…

Life after death? Yes! | Climbing-boy now wet infant, | somehow born-again

10. … followed by an Edwardian classic:

Careful what you wish: | Edwardian children find | magic mixed blessing

11. And now a novel by a master of magic realism:

Rabid dog bites girl; | parents, priest, bishop, nuns not | bit but rabid too

12. Finally, a modern classic of fantasy masquerading as SF:

Foretold one gets dumped | in desert, then goes native. | Returns, beats baddies!

No prizes, I’m afraid, this is just a bit of fun. Or maybe frustration…

4 thoughts on “Haiku summaries | bewitch, befuddle and bug: | serious humour?

  1. I got 9 only because you reviewed it recently. 12 may be part of a series that in my humble opinion is much better on the telly than in print. 1 and 7 have me stumped.


    1. 12 is indeed part of a series, of which I’ve only read the first two — and its po-faced cod philosophising may well mean that’s where I stop. Glad you got 9 but do click on the links if your brain looks like overheating!


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