Category Archives: Lewis Carroll

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through The Looking Glass – Lewis Carroll

I have one particular person to thank for my reading of this classic, even though when I said I was going to read this many of you delightfully said that I simply must in your comments, and that person is a fellow book mad blogger of the name Simon… Simon Stuck-in-a-Book. Had he not done his post on the wonderful images taken from various imprints of the book then it wouldn’t have become such a need to read it so soon. That and the fact I managed to find such a wonderful old copy (I have pictured the Vintage one because I think out of all the modern covers it’s the best) in a second hand store within days of his post made it all feel like the reading fates were trying to tell me something.

Now believe it or not not only have I never read these two tales of Alice before, I have also never seen the Disney version. I know it appears I had a very bereft childhood, I didn’t actually I just wasn’t really a very Disney kid and I read lots but not children’s classics oddly as my mother is an English and Classic teacher. I do remember reading a lot of Greek Myths as a child though. Anyway, I digress.

For those of you who like myself have somehow missed the treats that are Lewis Carroll’s stories of Alice I will try and sum up what happens, though if you have read the book then I am sure you will appreciate that it is quite some feat to some it up easily because frankly both stories are quite crazy. As I think is Alice. Her first Adventures in Wonderland start when out with her sister she sees a white rabbit running and talking to itself. Bizarrely not thinking anything much the matter with that it takes him pulling out a pocket watch for her to take interest and follow him down a hole which ends up in the bizarre and brilliant Wonderland. Through The Looking Glass sees her return to Wonderland… through a looking glass, I didn’t need to explain that so much, where she becomes a pawn in a very bizarre and entertaining game of chess across endless lands.

Now though I had never read the books before I found myself knowing the characters and some of the crazy plot lines and can only think that randomly throughout my life somehow I have taken these all in by osmosis. I don’t think that I can say I originally knew how unusual the book would be will plots, characters and settings changing in a sentence or even in mid sentence. Despite it being slightly confusing you understand that its because Wonderland is a place of no rules where things don’t make sense and I was totally drawn in and can see why so many children (and adults) have enjoyed it so much.

Amongst all of the nonsensical there are lessons being taught and games being played by the author. He plays with words and meanings. “Don’t all authors do this?” I hear you cry, no actually they don’t. He looks at language and plays with it turns it on its head and makes it even more bizarre and interesting all at once for example how many ways ‘I beg your pardon’ as an expression can be taken. I did feel there was a darker side to the book, the Cheshire Cat for example in my mind is frankly up to no good and shouldn’t be trusted an inch. That for me really was what made the book, I loved the characters some were rude, some were delightful but all of them were wholly believable, be the a wailing unhappy Mock Turtle, a rude Queen, a Mad Hatter, or the terrible twosome Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum I wanted to join in with Alice on her adventures.

Oh just for Simon’s benefit here are some lovely pictures from my version of the novel, sorry they arent amazing quality…

Overall if you haven’t read this book then you should I cant see anyone not falling in love with it though I would say it will be most enjoyed by those who like escapism, can completely suspend their believes and have a high imagination. If you have all those as a reader then I defy you to dislike it. It’s also getting the movie make over and as we all know that means next year everyone will be reading it and re-reading it so do it before the trend sets in. I only hope they don’t give it a new horrible movie tie-in cover, but then the idea of that happening is far more unlikely than any of Alice’s Adventures.

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Filed under Lewis Carroll, Review, Vintage Classics

Second Hand Gems

I have two new additions to my TBR pile and they are books that when I saw I knew I had to have and frankly didn’t care what they would cost me. In the end they only cost me £1.50 each. Normally in second had book shops or charity shops I don’t tend to look at the really olde-worlde books. I don’t know what it is about them that puts me off, maybe they frighten me a little, not frighten… intimidate may be more the appropriate word which is odd because I have dreamed of having one of those stately home style libraries. Now thanks to my latest two acquisitions I can actually start that stately collection.

The book that I saw first was one that I have been hankering after for ages in any form and that was Madame Pompadour by Nancy Mitford. You will all probably know by now how much I have come to love the Mitford’s and went on a bit of a collecting spree (I really want Jessica’s non-fiction books but they are really difficult to find) and this is now the latest of their works to join my collection. The second caught my eye because it’s so yellow. I have to admit that I wouldn’t have purchased this book as I have never had the urge to read it. Lewis Carroll Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (and this also has Through the Looking Glass in it) wasn’t a book I had read as a child and hadn’t considered as an adult until Simon Stuck-in-a-Book blogged all about the wonderful pictures in differing versions. This one has some wonderful images inside it.

This edition is actually from the 1920’s and to me it’s a real find. What I couldn’t help thinking was ‘I wonder who has read this book before me?’ there must have been loads of people with their own stories that have turned the pages and now its ended up with me and will be read fairly soon. By the way before you tell me off for more shopping, its my birthday tomorrow and these were little treats for me! Moving on…

What’s your best find in a charity shop or second hand book shop?

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Filed under Book Thoughts, Lewis Carroll, Nancy Mitford