Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Review: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass

The Mad Tea Party by Sir John Tenniel
Review: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass
By Lewis Carroll
How can I express in words what this book has meant to me my whole life? It seems that a blog of reviews could only begin with one of my all-time favorite novels, the one that I have read more times than other's, the one whose lead protagonist I have considered "my best book friend" (more on that later).

My journey with Alice's Adventures in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass began when I was seven years old. I had seen many of the film versions such as the Disney version and a miniseries from 1985, but I had never read the whole book before. I finally ordered it in a book order form and felt myself transported to the world of madness, word plays, and goofy characters that in a strange way made sense to me. At first, I read it as an ultimate escape from the worries and problems of any normal school girl. I would read and imagine myself falling down the rabbit hole as it took me to this strange world and I could be alongside Alice having tea with the Mad Hatter, listening to the Cheshire Cat's instructions, playing chess with the Red and White Queen and having so many adventures.

As I grew older, I began to appreciate the book for its satire of Victorian conventions. I recognized the parody of Queen Victoria that could be found in the temperamental Queen of Hearts and the Duchess who was so fond of finding morals in things. I recognized the poems "You Are Old Father William" and "How Doth the Little Crocodile" make fun of poems that were meant to instill proper behavior. I also saw the lunacy behind rules such as "sentence first, verdict afterwards" and could see how they made no more sense than the real rules at the time.

Most of all, I recognize and pay tribute to the character of Alice. I have identified with her struggle going through Wonderland and Looking Glass World. She was a young lady who wasn't afraid to challenge rules that made no sense, argue with characters when they were rude to her, but she still continued to play the game. In many decisions, I feel that I have fallen down the rabbit hole or am playing an endless game of chess against opponents. I keep playing, but I hope that I can stop and think and be myself so that I don't lose sight of who I am through all the changes as Alice often does. I own a book called, "You've Got to Read This Book" in which people discuss the books that changed their lives. I know beyond a doubt that Alice has changed mine. That's why I call these books "my best book friends."

Links For Further Discussion and Activity Suggestions

Satire Through the Ages - The Alice books are wonderful examples of satire. I created this page to comment on satires through history. What conventions do they mock? How do they ridicule them? What are some other examples, either through books, music, movies, etc. What was their effectiveness in ridiculing society and what changes were made or could have been made because of them?

Logicville Puzzles and Brainteasers- Besides satire, The Alice books are known for their twisted brands of logic and word play. Try your luck on some of these puzzles and see how far your brain could be stretched. What other puzzles can you do? What are some of your favorite puzzles and games that you use to get the brain going?

Teaching Alice -This is my personal website used to describe different activities related to Alice in Wonderland? What other books could be presented this way? What electronic tools could be used to convey interest in the classics and present them in a modern 21st century fashion?

Questions for further discussion:

1.This review mentioned the concept of "best book friends." Who are some of yours? How did they change your outlook on life? How have you used those lessons or characters throughout your life? What is it about them that sticks with you even now?
2. Lewis Carroll's novels are known for their satire of Victorian mores and values. What are some of the specific elements that he mocks? Think about modern satire,  such as The Onion or the Daily Show. What aspects of modern society do they mock? Do you think that their stance isn't too far different from Carroll's? Why or why not? How is satire different then that in it is now?

Introduction to Reviews

This is the part where I tell you about myself and what you will expect on the reviews.
My name is Sara Porter and I am  a graduate student at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in my final semester of the School of Library and Information Science. I am excited about the next step not to mention a little nervous. I hope to begin a career as a reference or collection development librarian, particularly at an academic library because I love to share information and research techniques with others.
I have also been reviewing books since I was an undergraduate at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. I enjoy reading and discovering new favorites and sharing that discovery with others, so I hope to do so here as well.

There will be three sections to many of the reviews:

The reviews themselves- They present what I think about the book, spoilers will try to be kept to a minimum but I make no promises. The highlights and maybe lowlights of the book and some personal insights that I associate with each book.

Links For Further Discussion and Suggestions for Activities-These are links to topics that are related to the books in question leading to a larger context for the books. There are also suggestions for activities that teachers and librarians could use to further integrate students into these works.

Questions for further discussion- This is a good section particularly for teachers or librarians or just for members of book clubs. If these books interest you and you would like to further discussions with your students or patrons or begin projects for them, these are good places to start. (You may also include answers in the commentaries as well).

Good luck and enjoy the trip through the Library Wonderland

Please take the widget through my page at Library Thing including some of my favorite books and tags:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hello Irish Voki

My name is Sara and this is the first Blog for Sara's Library Wonderland! This blog will consist of projects for library school, book reviews, and maybe a few opinions along the way.
My first assignment was to create a short audio/video. Since I am learning Irish Gaelic, I decided to create a Voki of my voice using a brief conversation in Irish, so here it is. Enjoy:

I do apologize if it seems badly mangled. I am just learning and some words may be mispronounced.