A blog of full of arbitrary yet splendiferous things, just like one might find in my brain. My name is Esme and you can find me in other excellent places on the internet like: Instructables HitRECord Ravelry
Hungry Goat Precariously Balances on Accommodating Donkey In Effort to Reach Low Hanging Fruit
Would you like to read a book in which this happens?
It’s one of my all-time favorite books. It’s called Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn. He describes it as an “progressively lipogrammatic epistolary fable.”
It is written in the form of letters between the citizens of the fictional island of Nollop, an independent nation off the coast of South Carolina and home of Nevin Nollop, who invented the phrase “the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.” That phrase is written in tiles over a statue of Nollop in their town square, and when one night a storm causes one of the tiles to fall, the council decides that it’s a sign from Nollop that they are no longer allowed to use that letter, in speech or writing, on pain of progressive punishments including public beating and up to banishment.
Then another tile falls. Then another.
The citizens, who are all very attached to their words and writing, mount a campaign to come up with a phrase that uses all 26 letters but is shorter than Nollop’s, thus proving that he was not divine and negating all the edicts.
Because the novel is told in the form of letters the citizens write, and this is the genius part…the author must also stop using the letters as they fall. So the book gradually stops using letters until at one point I think they’re down to just five.
The resolution literally made me get up and dance around the room.
It’s clever, creative, and a not-really-veiled-at-all parable about monotheistic oligarchy. It’s not a long book, you can read it in an afternoon.
GO READ IT RIGHT NOW.
I strongly endorse Ella Minnow Pea. One of my absolute favourite books, which definitely influenced my love for pangrams/lipograms, epistolary novels, and books that do interesting meta things with the narrative. You can read a sample here.
Or for an even more ambitious example of a lipogram, there’s Eunoia, a book which uses only a single vowel per chapter.