November 9, 2013


I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting from The Alice Behind Wonderland but I came out of this book feeling less than impressed. The main focus was on Dodgson's photography and in particular the photos that he took of Alice Liddell (with main focus on this image). I suppose I thought that this would further my knowledge of the man behind the famous stories of Wonderland and the girl called Alice. However, its narrowed focus on only one aspect of the man (and his relationship with the Liddells) left me feeling disappointed. The book covers Dodgson's fascination with photography and the history of photography itself. Briefly, Winchester touched on the controversy surrounding his "child friends" of which he took many photographs (some of them in the nude). I do appreciate that he made it clear that during this time period (the late 19th century) this was not seen as anything more than an attempt at capturing innocence and purity onto film. Nowadays, the first thought through anyone's mind is PEDOPHILE which we can neither confirm or deny because any evidence was erased long ago (Dodgson removed several pages from his diary or at least someone removed them for him). If you want a tiny glimpse into the man behind one of the world's most famous fairytales then you should take a look at this book. However, I recommend that you delve further and pick up some supplemental reading such as Morton Cohen's Lewis Carroll: A Biography.

I guess I was in the mood for children's fairytales after reading the above so I picked up Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne. The copy I have came from a used bookstore and it is GORGEOUS. The illustrations and text placement (falling from the top of the page, circling around the illustrations, etc) make this a delightful read for readers of any age. Most of us know all about Pooh and his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood because of the cartoons and movies but have you actually read the first volume of stories that the cartoons were drawn from originally?  I haven't and I am pretty excited to rectify this oversight on my part. Already I'm enjoying the light fluffiness of the stories (each chapter is treated as a standalone). Take me along on your journeys, Pooh Bear!

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