Tag: Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday: Alice in Wonderland

This week’s Teaser Tuesdays is another classic I’m reading for the first time- Alice in Wonderland (actually 2 novels- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass).

I have been wanting to read Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll for some time but somehow never got around to it.  I wasn’t that into fantasy as a kid so didn’t really bond with the animated film or have a desire to read the book.  Now as an adult I love the animated film and am reviewing it on my youtube channel on Wednesday.  I am also reviewing the Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland which I hate and everyone kept excusing it because ‘it’s more accurate to the book’.  I figured I better read it and decide for myself.

Well, I’m delighted to tell you aside from character similarities there is much more in common with the animated film than the Burton.  I found no chosen one, prophecy, battle or anything of the kind!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm.

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page (or I like to do the page I’m currently reading)
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers.

alice bookThis week my sentence is on page 29 of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Chapter 4- Advice from a Caterpillar).

“Who are YOU?’ said the Caterpillar.

This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, `I–I hardly know, sir, just at present– at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.’

`What do you mean by that?’ said the Caterpillar sternly. `Explain yourself!’

`I can’t explain MYSELF, I’m afraid, sir’ said Alice, `because I’m not myself, you see.’

`I don’t see,’ said the Caterpillar.

`I’m afraid I can’t put it more clearly,’ Alice replied very politely, `for I can’t understand it myself to begin with; and being so many different sizes in a day is very confusing.’

alice and caterpillarWhat I like about this scene is it pokes fun at the silliness of philosophy and people who think they are asking such deep and thoughtful questions when in reality it can be just as much nonsense as anything else.

I was really surprised how much I liked Alice and Wonderland.   For some reason I was expecting all the nonsense and whimsy to be a bit annoying in book form but I liked it.  It’s charming and Alice is an inquisitive, curious character to bring us into this world.
It’s really more a grouping of short stories more than a traditional narrative and I liked that approach. Through the Looking Glass has a little more structure with the chess pieces and the queens, but I liked meeting all the characters and hearing their stories. There’s a lot of humor in there and it’s just very enjoyable. I can see why it is a classic and a favorite of so many people.

I really liked the inventiveness of Wonderland and not knowing what kind of story was coming around the bend.  Was it going to be the Queen of Hearts playing croquet, a Dodo in a caucus race, or Humpty Dumpty having his great fall.  It all clipped along very well and was engaging and funny.  I think it holds up quite well.  Like I said, I liked it much more than I thought I would.

Teaser Tuesdays: A Year of Magical Thinking

This week’s Teaser Tuesdays is a book I had to re-read for book club and I must own it is not a favorite of mine.  I thought I might like it better on the reread but still find it more of a clinical exercise than actual prose. It is Joan Didion’s A Year of Magical Thinking.  Let’s just say I could use with less of Joan’s magic…

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm.

year of magical thinking

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page.
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers.

I listened to The Year of Magical Thinking and am nearly finished.  My quote is from 3 hr 36 min in :

“When the twilights got long in June I forced myself to eat dinner in the living room where the light was.  After John died I had begun eating by myself in the kitchen. The dining room was too big and the table in the living room was where he had died but when the long twilights came I had a strong sense that he would want me to see the light

I guess there could be some magic in where Joan eats but this quote is emblematic of the blandness of Joan’s insight.  It’s the kind of book that you feel bad for not liking because it clearly meant so much for her to write, but it just didn’t do it for me on this read through or last.

Every journal does not make a good book and that’s essentially what Joan has done.  It feels like her therapist told her to write out her thoughts on the death of her husband and coma of her daughter and she published it.  It seems like she is working out these experiences but not in a compelling way, at least for me.  It’s just I went here, dreamed about this, and look at this study  I found…  There’s a lot of stats and quotes about grieving and typical human responses to things which made it feel oddly detatched from a human response. Joan often felt robotic instead of a mother and wife.  It felt very clinical like something you’d tell a therapist.
I kind of think of it like several books about addiction I’ve read.  Overcoming addiction is one of the hardest things anyone can do. I’ve seen it ravage and take the lives of 2 of my cousins.  However, as narratives go, addiction isn’t a gripping topic for most books.  It’s such a self-contained, even selfish time and to a reader it can feel like wallowing in problems rather than surmounting them.  That’s kind of how Joan’s book feels.  What should be dramatic and moving feels flat, lifeless and boring.
Again, I feel bad criticizing a heartfelt book, but I have enough issues in my life without slogging through the nuts and bolts of Joan’s problems.  It’s all too safe.  Too clinical and not enough of a story for a compelling read. I certainly didn’t find any magic in Joan’s journey.  Sorry… I wish her all the best though and hopefully she eventually has some happiness in her life.
It will be interesting to see what people at book club think.  I know at least several have found it to be rough going.   Have you read it? What did you think?  It won National Book Award so clearly others found it moving.  Just not me.