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…