Ella Minnow Pea: A Progressively Lipogrammatic Epistolary Fable

by Mark Dunn | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0967370167 Global Overview for this book
Registered by jcm of Lisle, Illinois USA on 5/6/2004
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19 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by jcm from Lisle, Illinois USA on Thursday, May 06, 2004
This is actually an uncorrected proof for review. I picked it up at the rummage sale at the Unitarian Church 4/30. It is written as a bunch of letters.

10/14 Update: This was a very cute book! The author is very talented with words. It was a quick read... though the phonetic writing was a little tough to get through. It's funny though, I wanted to tell the people to learn sign language or Hebrew or Greek or something... there are ways around prohibited letters. :) Of course their solution was infinitely better. :)


Mailed to mes3u.

Journal Entry 3 by mes3u from Barboursville, Virginia USA on Thursday, October 21, 2004
received today! Everyone in the house wants to read it!


Journal Entry 4 by mes3u from Barboursville, Virginia USA on Tuesday, December 14, 2004
reserved for guinavev after i read it

Journal Entry 5 by guinaveve from Mason, Ohio USA on Monday, December 05, 2005

Journal Entry 6 by guinaveve from Mason, Ohio USA on Friday, February 10, 2006
I found this book very interesting. I am not one to look for symbolism in fiction. In fact, I dreaded when that topic came up in classes. The symbolism in this story is too obvious to miss though, just the kind I can handle. I thought it was really relevant to the current events going on right now involving the religious cartoons and freedom of press.

Here is a review I found that describes the plot better than I can:
It's set on Nollop, a fictional island off the coast of South Carolina named for its long-dead founder, Nevin Nollop, the "genius" who came up with "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog." A huge cenotaph of Nollop's sentence stands over the town square-and one day, the "z" falls to the ground. Nollop's elected-for-life Council interprets this as a missive from beyond the grave, "that the letter `Z' should be utterly excised-fully extirpated-absolutely heave-ho'ed from our communal vocabulary!" Other letters soon follow, and the novel becomes progressively lipogrammatic (a "lipogram" being writing in which one or more letters are forbidden), told exclusively in the form of letters from one citizen to another as they struggle to adapt (a third offense means banishment). Not even the discovery that the glue holding the letters up is calcifying sways the zealots on the Council (perhaps Nollop intended its deterioration). It's decided that only the construction of another sentence that uses every alphabet letter in only 32 graphemes could discredit Nollop's "divine" word.

I am considering starting a ray with this book, if there is any interest.

Journal Entry 7 by guinaveve from Mason, Ohio USA on Friday, February 10, 2006
I am starting an international ray for this book.
Usual ring/ray rules apply. Journal the book when received and when sent on. Try to keep it no more than a month. I read it in one sitting so it is a quick read. Hopefully enjoy the book.
Since this is a ray, I may add more people on at the end once the book start to reach the last participants.

saidenuj (Iowa, prefers US shipping)
momofap (Iowa, international shipping)
T02S03B11D20 (Michigan)
morsecode (NY, US shipping)
KarenZero (NY, prefers US, can do surface)
KimberleeV (NY, prefers US, can do surface)
genielady (WV, prefers US shipping)
mellion108 (Michigan, international shipping)
PaulsBooks aka: tostle (Utah, international shipping)
GateGypsy (Canada, international shipping)
Cross-patch (in UK, international shipping)
Miss-R (in UK, international shipping)
The-Quilt-Lady (in CA, USA)
guinaveve (in OH, USA)~~~Book is home and read to travel again~~~

Released 13 yrs ago (2/13/2006 UTC) at Fellow BookCrosser in Postal release, Postal Release -- Controlled Releases




Journal Entry 9 by juniebug from Marcus, Iowa USA on Saturday, February 18, 2006
Received in the mail this morning and finished reading just moments ago. (Amazing what one can accomplish when stuck in bed due to the flu.) The few pages near the end with phoenetic spelling were somewhat of a challenge to me, but I found it much easier if I just read it out loud and *listened* to what I was saying. I enjoyed the ending! And that's all I'm going to say about it so as not to spoil it for anyone. Very clever book!

Released 13 yrs ago (2/20/2006 UTC) at USPS in to a fellow bookcrosser, a postal release -- Controlled Releases



mailed to momofap - next up in the bookring

Journal Entry 11 by momofap from Sheldon, Iowa USA on Monday, February 27, 2006
This book arrived in the mail today safe and sound. I hope to start reading it by mid-week. I need to finish a library book first.

Journal Entry 12 by momofap from Sheldon, Iowa USA on Friday, March 03, 2006
I think this story was really unique. It blows my mind how much work went into the correspondences so the fallen "letters" do not appear in them. I really enjoyed reading this book cover-to-cover. The ending of the story was well thought out and made me feel like the circle of the story was complete. As soon as I get the address of the next person on the ray, I will send this book out.

Journal Entry 13 by momofap from Sheldon, Iowa USA on Monday, March 06, 2006
This book was mailed to the next person on the list today! Happy Reading!

Journal Entry 14 by wingT02S03B11D20wing from Springport, Michigan USA on Saturday, March 11, 2006
Received this book today...have to read and review Deadly Housewives first for Harper Collins First Look and then will get right to this. Sounds like it will be funny!

Journal Entry 15 by wingT02S03B11D20wing from Springport, Michigan USA on Friday, March 17, 2006
I have finished this book, and as soon as I hear from Morsecode, it will be on its journey again. I thought this was a quick read, pretty cute.

I was wondering if anyone else discovered what I did about the title? When people say the alphabet, and they get to the L-M-N-O-P part, they usually say it kind of fast and all together, rather than indiviual letters. If you try it, you will see that it says the title of this book: Ella Minnow Pea

Journal Entry 16 by morsecode from Woonsocket, Rhode Island USA on Tuesday, March 21, 2006
This book arrived safe and sound in Buffalo today!

Journal Entry 17 by morsecode from Woonsocket, Rhode Island USA on Sunday, March 26, 2006
I finished reading this book last night and I can safely say that I've never read anything like it. It's actually a very quick read. It's much shorter than it looks because of all the white space inherent in the epistolary novel.
The book gets progressively more difficult to read (especially toward the end of the book), which mirrors what the characters are experiencing in their daily lives.
This book works on so many different levels.
Mark Dunn... What an achievement for a first novel! First the coming up with the idea for the book and then executing it. I'm just blown away...

[posted to next participant, 28 March]

Journal Entry 18 by wingAnonymousFinderwing on Sunday, April 09, 2006
just arrived and sitting on my newly cleared desk. I just read the dedication and it said "for Mary" What are the odds-- a book written just for me? ;-) tee hee ♥
On another note--I knew a man who was obsessed with re-writing the phonetic alphabet to simplify it for non-english speakers learning elnglish. Somehow this reminded me a bit of him. I was curious anyways. Thanks for including me.

Journal Entry 19 by busybooklover on Sunday, April 09, 2006
Previous journal was me *rolls eyes* I forgot I moved my desk and re hooked up everything... will have to re sign into EVERYTHING!

UPDATE 6/5/06
<-----The caption here reads... "the quick brown DOG jumps over the laxy FOX." LOL. The book is very entertaining and I was immediately invested as my last name begins with a "Z"!!!! =) Sorry I've held onto this beyond requested guideline.. :( I REALLY enjoyed it and am PMing next in line now. Clever and wonderful writer-- A fun story within a bundle of letters which which remind me of letters that my Great Aunts and Uncles wrote... before snail mail & email. What a treasure.

Journal Entry 20 by busybooklover at Postal Office in San Marcos, California USA on Friday, June 09, 2006

Released 13 yrs ago (6/9/2006 UTC) at Postal Office in San Marcos, California USA



Off to next in line with my outgoing mail today =)

Journal Entry 21 by KarenZero from Maplewood, New Jersey USA on Monday, June 19, 2006
Arrived safely. Will read ASAP!

Journal Entry 22 by KarenZero from Maplewood, New Jersey USA on Friday, August 04, 2006
Wow, I didn't realize I had this book for so long. Sorry!! I just finished it and thought it was cute and amusing...it was kinda weird that SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER that some people died...not that light-hearted! Anyway, I liked this book. Thanks to jcm for sharing the book and to guinaveve for starting the bookray! I will be sending this out today.

Journal Entry 23 by KimberleeV from Yorktown, Virginia USA on Saturday, August 19, 2006
Received in the mail yesterday. I'm in the middle of another book, but will start this one as soon as I'm finished. I'm really looking forward to it! Thanks so much for including me Guinaveve!!!

Journal Entry 24 by KimberleeV from Yorktown, Virginia USA on Saturday, September 02, 2006
What an interesting book! I loved the idea of the book more than the actual story though. It was a little bit difficult to read in the end. I'm so glad I had the chance to participate in this ring! Thanks so much guinaveve!!! I sent it out in yesterday's mail to genielady in West Virinia.

Journal Entry 25 by Genielady from Harpers Ferry, West Virginia USA on Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Yay the book is here! I'm almost finished with another ring, so I'll start it soon. Thanks for sharing.

Released 13 yrs ago (11/8/2006 UTC) at for a bookray in to a fellow bookcrosser, a postal release -- Controlled Releases



Such a different book! Loved the ending. Mailing off to Mellion. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 27 by mellion108 from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan USA on Wednesday, November 22, 2006
The book is here! Thanks for sending it my way, genielady, and thanks to guinaveve for sharing.

I have one bookring that I'm currently reading (and it's taking me a lot longer than I anticipated for it). I'll read this one right after and get it moving again. Happy holidays!
Trade paperback (Advance Uncorrected Proof), 205 pages

Journal Entry 28 by mellion108 from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan USA on Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Ok, I thought I would have this book a lot longer, but I picked it up over the weekend, read a few pages, and ended up finishing it that afternoon. :)

I enjoyed the story. I tend to like stories told through letters, journal entries, etc. This one kept my interest, and I liked the tongue-in-cheek humor sprinkled throughout. How interesting to read about these people who were willing to give up such seemingly small things here and there rather than rocking the boat. Letters of the alphabet, civil liberties...we tend not to think about the bigger picture as long as our daily lives aren't disrupted too much, and then it tends to be too late to stop the snowball effect.

Anyway, thanks again for sharing the book. I have PaulsBooks's address and will get this in the mail as soon as I can.

UPDATE: Mailed via Media Mail to PaulsBooks on Dec. 2, 2006

Journal Entry 29 by tostle from Salt Lake City, Utah USA on Tuesday, December 12, 2006
I received this book, thanks mellion108...and thanks guinaveve for the bookray! (aka PaulsBooks)

Journal Entry 30 by tostle from Salt Lake City, Utah USA on Thursday, December 28, 2006
Wow! What a fun book! Thanks so much for sharing this great book with me. The thoughts, the humor, and the comparisons to politics were intriguing!
I'll be sending this on to GateGypsy.
Thanks guinaveve for the great bookring!

Journal Entry 31 by tostle from Salt Lake City, Utah USA on Wednesday, January 03, 2007
This book is on its way to Gategypsy! Enjoy!

Journal Entry 32 by GateGypsy from Ladysmith, British Columbia Canada on Wednesday, February 21, 2007
This arrived in my mail (late) this month, probably due to inclement weather. I am starting it this evening, and hope to be through it in time to ship next payday.

Thanks for sharing this, guinaveve! It looks like fun!


This book was tonnes of fun. I really did enjoy reading it, and was grateful to have had the chance to read it. I'm a sucker for a gimmick, and a book that was written entirely in letters is right up my alley.

There was some confusion, while I had this book, but it all got sorted out. Then, I thought I'd sent it along, but today discovered it while moving dvds and books from one shelf to another!

No worries, though, I have CrossPatch's addy, and will be sending this out on Monday, most like.

Thanks so much for your patience! (And thank you again for sharing!)

(updated May 4/07)

Journal Entry 33 by GateGypsy at controlled release: bookring in Whitehorse, Yukon Canada on Saturday, May 05, 2007

Released 12 yrs ago (5/5/2007 UTC) at controlled release: bookring in Whitehorse, Yukon Canada



This book was skinny enough to be sent as a letter, and was cheaper to send that way than as a parcel. Odd, eh? Anyways, it got into the mail this morning, and so should arrive at its next stop relatively shortly. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 34 by wingCross-patchwing from Leicester, Leicestershire United Kingdom on Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Thank you guinaveve and GateGypsy. Arrived safely today. It certainly sounds different and I am looking forward to getting on with it.

Journal Entry 35 by wingCross-patchwing from Leicester, Leicestershire United Kingdom on Monday, June 11, 2007
So clever! Very Animal Farm, I thought, so in one sense disturbing but also full of charm. I have Miss-R's address so shall take it to the post tomorrow.
18 June. Posted and on its way.

Journal Entry 36 by Miss-R from Lingfield, Surrey United Kingdom on Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Sorry, thought I'd said this had arrived but obviously not! I'll finish the book I'm reading at the moment then get onto this.

Journal Entry 37 by Miss-R from Lingfield, Surrey United Kingdom on Sunday, December 30, 2007
Firastly, an apology. I've held up this ring for far too long, I am a bad bookcrosser and deserve to be beaten about the head roughly. I had a really bad summer, including resigning from my job and my brother suffering a serious head injury, which meant anything even remotely fun, such as reading and bookcrossing, fell by the wayside.
From what I remember, this was a thoroughly good read, and very clever. I would love to be so good with language that I could write a book like this. If I'd written this at the time of reading I would be able to write more about what I liked about it, but, alas, I didn't, due to circumstances beyond my control. I know, though, that I would read it again, and would recommend it to anyone with a love of the English language.

Journal Entry 38 by The-Quilt-Lady on Thursday, January 03, 2008
Ella arrived safely back in the states after her long journey. :) Looks intriquing. This will be the first book I read in 2008. Thanks for including me! More soon...

Feb. 20th, 2008
I read the book, and so did my 16 year old son. (7th grade son also wanted to read it, but too much homework, and I didn't want to hold it up...the premise of this book for one reason or another really grabs people!)
Anyway, so... we both thought it was great fun. I love books written in letter form, and this was just really intriguing. What a wacky place. Can you imagine?!!!
We have put in a request for LMNOP to be added to our local library, so more people can enjoy it.
Thanks for sharing! I mailed the book back home to you yesterday, Feb. 19th at about 3pm.

Journal Entry 39 by guinaveve from Mason, Ohio USA on Saturday, February 16, 2008
I had posted here because I was looking for the previous participant, but we were having trouble connecting with each other. Turns out my PMs weren't working properly, but it is all sorted out.

Journal Entry 40 by guinaveve from Mason, Ohio USA on Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Hooray! This came back to me today. I am hosting a bookbox for well traveled books. The participant list is all made out, the box is all set up, and this was the last thing I needed before sending the package on its way. Thank you to all who participated and shared your thoughts on this book. Ella Minnow Pea will soon resume traveling again!

Released 11 yrs ago (2/29/2008 UTC) at by postal services in Sent by mail, a fellow bookcrosser -- Controlled Releases



I have included this book in my "Well Traveled" Bookbox.

Journal Entry 42 by ariesgirl29 on Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Pulled from well traveled bookbox - thanks for sharing!

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