Hello again, everyone, and happy (almost) Mardi Gras! In honor of that festive holiday, I’d like to share a review of a very nonsensical book.
My book club’s theme for this year is “seventh grade reading list.” We took a real 7th grade core literature reading list, voted for our favorites, and the twelve books on the list that received the most votes are our books for the year. For January, we all read Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, and we had a tea party at our monthly meeting.
This was not the first time I had read Alice in Wonderland, but I find that I like it better each time I read it. To be honest, I think the first time I read it I was thrown off by the lack of a plot arc. The book is very episodic, so much so that many of the chapters could almost stand alone as short stories. I was also surprised to find how different it was from the Disney movie I had grown up with. (Actually, several parts of the movie are taken from Alice through the Looking Glass, the sequel to Alice in Wonderland.) The lack of a plot arc was quite intentional on Carroll’s part; the lack of structure also reflects the nonsensical nature of the book.
The thing I enjoy the most about this book is Carroll’s talent for playing with words. From poetry to puns, his playful use of language is, in my opinion, what makes this book stand out. It’s a classic for a reason, and I would recommend this book to absolutely anyone. I give it four and a half stars, because it is still so enjoyable after three readings. ★★★★1/2
I want to conclude by recommending tea parties as a great theme or activity for book club meetings. Alice in Wonderland is just one of many novels that lends itself to this theme. And while a tea party may sound fancy, it can be as simple or as elaborate as you like. You can pick up pastries from a store or bakery (scones are my favorite) and mugs with tea bags (or even hot chocolate) work just fine if you don’t have a tea set. Or go all out with tea sandwiches, little cakes, and other finger foods-whatever you prefer!