Saturday, December 13, 2014

Lewis Carroll

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on the 65 classic books I wanted to read. (Seriously? You're looking for a link? A) I'm to lazy to link it here, and B) Just scroll down) And now I have 64 books left because I just finished Alice in Wonderland. 

You see, I was just going to read it on my kindle, since it's no longer under copyright, and anyone can download the book through Project Gutenburg. But then I came across this:

And I was all:

Guess what I just spent $28 on? Plus $5 shipping, of course. The book, The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition, is stunning. Hardcover, deep maroon color on the outside, and large print on the inside, in-depth annotations by Martin Gardner, and the original Tenniel illustrations. It's huge, the size of a textbook, but only about 300 pages thick. As is evident, I've turned to reviewing the book itself rather than the story, because they're called classics for a reason. You don't mess with them. The book is great quality, though. Sturdy, and looks expensive. 

But here's my two cents on the story. Annotated Alice includes both Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, and a short short chapter that was later omitted from the published Alice books. Both are delightful, nonsensical, and just so light. Wonderland, the way the dots don't connect, the sheer silliness, the puns and wordplay, the characters. Hilarious. Also, if you happen to be writing a paper on one of the Alice books, choose Through the Looking Glass. I feel like Alice in Wonderland has a lot more non-analyzable nonsense, whereas the other book, although just as nonsensical, has more depth from a school-paper standpoint. There's quite a bit of macabre humor, which I find hilarious, esspecially because my father has a penchant for macabre humor. The stories themselves sound so innocent, yet Carroll (which is his pen name, by the way) was a very odd man, and so through the entire book, I was thinking 'how could someone like him have written something like this?'. He used to really like little girls, hate boys, and was uncomfortable around older women. The Wikipedia page is particularly interesting, as there are quite a few theories. 

I'd also like to point out that the annotations by Gardner are awesomesauce. Its not like he's doing analysis or explaining any symbolism, but instead offers the background information to things. Some jokes are only funny if you know the back story, and he explains everything from how Cheshire cat same to be to who the drawing of Alice are based on. The introduction he wrote is also hilarious. First ever book introduction I've actually enjoyed reading.