Saturday, February 6, 2016

8. Alice in Wonderland

3 posts in 3 days. I told you I could do it ;) I admittedly need to buckle down if I'm going to get 4, 5, and 6 done as well, but I'm expecting big things from myself, haha.

Before I get into review number 8, I want to talk about a weird coincidence that happened today! So, as the title gives away, today's review will be of Alice in Wonderland. I'm now reading Through the Looking Glass, so it's been a Carroll-centric week for me! I am also a subscription box lover...and I currently receive a subscription box called The Best Damn Book Box, which is amazing.

So...I come home from work today, and my January box is unexpectedly sitting on my front step. And what's the theme of this month's box? Alice in Wonderland, of course! What a weird coincidence! The box is awesome...maybe I'll take time on Wednesday to do a bonus post and show you all what's came inside, because it's probably something readers of this blog would be interested.

All that being said, I have a review to get to! As I mentioned a few moments 8 of Project 84 is...

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
By Lewis Carroll

It's hard to believe that I have never read this book.
I love the story of Alice in Wonderland. I love the Disney movie. I used to watch the Disney Channel TV show. I even liked the Tim Burton one a few years ago (I refuse to be ashamed of that). I also must have had a short storybook version of it as a kid? Though I might be making that up...
But, for some reason, I'd never read the original. And I was missing out.
I don't feel like I really need to go into the plot of Alice in Wonderland. At this point, if you're not sure of the plot, you've been making a conscious choice not to find out and, thus, would probably not read this post. I'll write for the other 99% of people.
Instead of the plot...I want to talk a little about the history of Alice in Wonderland. While doing a bit of research to flesh out this post, I came across the real story of how Alice in Wonderland came to be. Evidently, Lewis Carroll was on a boat trip with 10-year-old Alice Lidell and her family (including two sisters). Alice asked Lewis Carroll (real name Charles Dodgson) to tell her a story...and thus was born Alice in Wonderland.

The story itself is a sort of nonsense tale that I found appealing as a child, and am still drawn to today. I like when I a story makes no sense when you apply wordly logic to it, and only works within the internal logic of the story. Alice's fall down the rabbit hole, her interaction with all the characters (I, personally, always found her conversation with the caterpillar most enthralling), the ultimate realization that it was "all a dream" (or was it?) may not make much sense if we transplanted Alice into our world, but within the world of the story it all seems to work.
Since I spent most of my last post complaining about the writing style of The Shipping News, it feels only right to praise Lewis Carroll's brilliance. I don't know why I was surprised...perhaps because I'd never read anything of his before...but I responded so strongly to his imagery and storytelling. No wonder this book is such a classic, it's absolutely beautiful.
A personal favorite passage, which somewhat illustrates my point:
"'Come, my head's free at last!' said Alice in a tone of delight, which changed into alarm in another moment, when she found that her shoulders were nowhere to be found: all she could see, when she looked down, was an immense length of neck, which seemed to rse like a stalk out of a sea of green leaves that lay far below her." - page 45
There's so much going on in that passage that it's hard to pinpoint exactly what I respond to so fervently, but it's somehow also a perfect example of what made the book so amazing.

If you're like me and never got around to reading this book, now is a great time to pick it up. It's not long - my version was about 110 pages - but there's so much going on. So much intrigue and fascinating characters that it would be hard to find something to dislike in this book. I would recommend it to anyone who hasn't read it (and who doesn't have an Alice in Wonderland aversion). It's a great read.

Another happy post about a 1001 Books to Read Before You Die book. I confess to including a few books on my list that are easier reads...but part of the deal is that nothing will be shorter than 100 pages. Alice in Wonderland slides in right where I need it to.

Over the next few days, expect more posts...including a Weekly Update tomorrow that will outline everything that's coming this week. Until then...happy reading!

**All page numbers and annotations refer to this version of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, published by Penguin Classics in 2003**

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