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All Meat Looks Like South America by Bruce McCall
Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis
The Black Island by Georges Remi Hergé
The Blues of Flats Brown by Walter Dean Myers
The Bungalow Mystery (Nancy Drew #3) by Carolyn Keene
The Cave by Steve McGill
Chicka Chicka 123 by Bill Martin Jr. and Lois Ehlert
A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold
Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron
Duck in a Truck by Jez Alborough
Enemies and Allies by Kevin J. Anderson
Frozen Tears by Mary Ann MacAfee
Haven Stones: The Last Unicorn by Richard Carbajal
Humanism for Parents — Parenting without Religion by Sean Curley
Hurricane by Arnaldo Ricciulli
I Spy Christmas by Jean Marzollo
If I Ran the Zoo by Dr. Seuss
Immortality Inc. by Robert Sheckley
Mars: The Red Planet by Isaac Asimov
Monsters! Draw Your Own Mutants, Freaks & Creeps by Jay Stephens
North from Calcutta by Duane Evans
Perseverance: True Voices of Cancer Survivors by Carolyn Rubenstein
Read Me edited by Gaby Morgan
Resonance by A. J. Scudiere
Right to Remain Silent by Penny Warner
Sahwira: An African Friendship by Carolyn Marsden
The Shining by Stephen King
Son of the Great River by Elijah Meeks
The Sun by Ralph Winrich
Swann's Way by Marcel Proust
That's Not My Dinosaur by Fionna Watt
Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll
What the Hell is a Groom and What's He Supposed to Do? by John Mitchell
Wolf Willow by Wallace Stegner
You Suck by Christopher Moore
Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin
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Comments for Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There

Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (Link goes to Amazon)Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There: 11/13/09

Growing up my best friend was Alice. Not the Alice created by Lewis Carroll or Alice Liddell, his inspiration, of course. But my friend Alice was a dead-ringer for Carroll's Alice and often dressed as her for Halloween. Her older sister took it as her business to make sure she and I knew who the fictional Alice was, as character beyond the Disney film version. I honestly can't remember when I first read both Alice novels: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking Glass And What Alice Saw There (1871). What I do remember is that I read the books back to back in the course of an almost all-nighter.

In college Lewis Carroll's Alice took on new importance for me. My boyfriend (now husband) adored the books and the poems from them. Our first year of exchanging gifts we gave each other books. Ian gave me a leather bound omnibus of Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series and I tracked down two beautiful used copies of the Alice books with the John Tenniel illustrations. This was before the ease of searching online for books; it meant a day long trip to Hillcrest (the place to buy used books in San Diego). It is his copies that we kept when we married and that I'm now reviewing.

Since my husband's passion for Alice is the poetry, I tend to think now of the books in terms of their poems. The introduction to the edition we have says that everyone remembers "Jabberwocky", "Tweedledum and Tweedledee" and "The Walrus and Carpenter" is part of the "Alice book" not which one. They are all in Through the Looking Glass (and mashed into most of the film adaptations of Alice in Wonderland).

Through the Looking Glass takes the apparent chaos of Wonderland and maps it logically (more or less) against the grid of a chessboard. The moves of the game are outlined at the start of the book, right after the table of contents.

Like many a modern fantasy novel, humble Alice finds herself crowned. Now her coronation is part of chess game. I can't call Alice the first fantasy protagonist to go from nobody to nobility; let's not forget Sancho Panza who in the second book of Don Quixote ends up the lord of an island.

If you plan on reading Lewis Carroll's Alice, please get both books. Get them with the John Tenniel illustrations. Read them together. Read the poems out loud. Memorize them! They are quoted and paraphrased almost as often as much as Shakespeare's sonnets and plays are.

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Comment #1: Friday, November, 13, 2009 at 16:20:45

Jeane

I remember being surprised when I finally read Through the Looking Glass and realized the poems were from the second book, not the first (and better-known) one. Jabberwocky always gave me delicious shivers when younger. And I love the Tenniel illustrations!



Comment #2: Thursday, November 19, 2009 at 20:03:32

Pussreboots

It's been so many years since I read both books I don't remember a time when I didn't know which character or which poem belonged to which book. They are also from a very short pile of books I re-read on a regular basis.