Lewis Carroll

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Nonfiction November Week 2: Fiction/Nonfiction Book Pairings

Published November 7, 2018 by bibliobeth

Hello everyone and welcome to the second week of Nonfiction November! If you’d like to find out what it’s all about, please see my post last week where I revealed my Nonfiction November TBR. and my post for Week 1 where I talked briefly about my year in nonfiction so far.

This week as the title suggests, it’s all about Fiction/Nonfiction Book Pairings and is hosted by Sarah from Sarah’s Bookshelves – check out her post HERE.

“It can be a “If you loved this book, read this!” or just two titles that you think would go well together. Maybe it’s a historical novel and you’d like to get the real history by reading a nonfiction version of the story.”

Today I’ve decided to choose three pairings with three very different themes, hopefully one of these pairings will be intriguing to you!

Here we go!

PAIRING ONE – Historical fiction/historical nonfiction

Fiction – The Tattooist Of Auschwitz (based on a real story) by Heather Morris

This is the tale of Lale Sokolov who is transported to Auschwitz in the 1940’s and employed as the Tätowierer, marking the prisoners with their infamous numbers, falling in love with a fellow prisoner, Gita as he tattoos her with her personal number. I read this book with my sister and fellow blogger Chrissi Reads recently and we both really enjoyed it. Check out our review HERE.

PAIRED WITH

Nonfiction – The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz: A True Story Of World War II by Denis Avey

This book has been on my TBR for the longest time! I’m intrigued by the synopsis which follows a British soldier who willingly breaks into Auschwitz and swaps places with a Jewish inmate for the purposes of witnessing and then telling others on the outside of the brutality that he saw.

PAIRING TWO – historical fiction/fantasy and biography

Fiction – The Looking Glass House by Vanessa Tait

This story, told by the real-life grand-daughter of the Alice who inspired Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland investigates what may have happened BEFORE Alice fell down the rabbit hole through the eyes of a naive and deceived governess. I received this gorgeous book through my regular Book And A Brew monthly subscription box and mean to get to at at some point in the near future!

PAIRED WITH

Nonfiction – The Story Of Alice: Lewis Carroll And The Secret History Of Wonderland by Robert Douglas-Fairhurst

This does what it says on the tin really, need I say more? This is the story of Charles Dodgson and his alter ego or other self, Lewis Carroll and the history of what made Wonderland and Alice so special to him. I’m a big fan of the classic children’s tale and looking forward to diving into this after The Looking Glass House.

PAIRING THREE – historical fiction/romance and psychology/popular science

Fiction – The Ballroom by Anna Hope

I adored this novel when I read it in winter last year! It’s the story of Ella, a woman committed to an asylum in Yorkshire in the early part of the twentieth century for a “slight misdemeanour” at work in her own words. She meets a young man called John (in the asylum on the men’s side) whilst she is there so there is some romance but what I found most fascinating was how it touched on mental health and the apparent fragility of women at this period in our history. Check out my review HERE.

PAIRED WITH

Nonfiction – Mad, Bad and Sad: A History Of Women And The Mind Doctors From 1800 To The Present – Lisa Appignanesi

What better way to explore how “madness” in women has been approached historically speaking than to read a giant nonfiction tome about it? This is the story of how we have understood extreme states of mind over the last two hundred years and how we conceive of them today, from the depression suffered by Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath to the mental anguish and addictions of iconic beauties Zelda Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe. It looks like an absolutely fantastic and illuminating read and I can’t believe I keep putting off reading it!

 

So there you have it, my fiction/nonfiction pairings for the second week of Nonfiction November, I really hope you enjoyed these and found something that interests you!

Coming up next week on Nonfiction November Week 3 – Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert (hosted by Julie @ JulzReads)

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Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit 2014 – The Round Up

Published January 11, 2015 by bibliobeth

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2014 was the second year that Chrissi and I rolled out our Kid-Lit challenge. Again, it was a really fun thing to do which we both thoroughly enjoyed. Please see below for the links to my reviews and check out Chrissi’s blog HERE for her fabulous reviews.

JANUARY – Aesop’s Fables by Aesop

FEBRUARY – Through The Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There – Lewis Carroll

MARCH – Little Women – Louisa May Alcott

APRIL – The Magician’s Nephew – C.S. Lewis

MAY – Peter Pan – J.M. Barrie

JUNE – The Wind In The Willows – Kenneth Grahame

JULY – The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz – L. Frank Baum

AUGUST – The Swiss Family Robinson – Johann Wyss

SEPTEMBER – Swallows And Amazons – Arthur Ransome

OCTOBER – Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery

NOVEMBER – White Fang – Jack London

DECEMBER – The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

So, in the style of the “Talking About…” reviews we normally do, we thought we’d answer a quick few questions about our second year of blogging in Kid-Lit.

1) What was your favourite Kid-Lit book of 2014 and why?
BETH: I am totally torn between three… Little Women, Anne of Green Gables and The Secret Garden. I was delighted to find that I loved all three as an adult as much (if not more) than I loved them as a child. Little Women is an undeniable classic, Anne is just one of those characters you completely fall in love with and I love the style of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s storytelling.
CHRISSI: Little Women. When Little Women is an option out of books, I’m always going to mention it. Oh yes!
2) What was your least favourite Kid-Lit book of 2014 and why?
BETH: I think it would have to be The Swiss Family Robinson I’m afraid. I was bitterly disappointed with this book and expected so much more from it. Some passages sent me into complete boredom and it felt slightly too “preachy” for my liking.
CHRISSI: I’m the same as Beth for this answer. Unfortunately I found The Swiss Family Robinson DIRE! Such a shame.
3) What was the Kid-Lit book that surprised you the most?
BETH: Perhaps The Magician’s Nephew. This was one of my old favourites from childhood (along with the rest of the Narnia series) and there were whole parts of the story that I had forgotten so it was exciting to re-read and remember them all over again.
CHRISSI: Anne of Green Gables. I hadn’t read it prior to this challenge and I was surprised at how charming it was.
4) Have you been inspired to read any other books from a Kid-Lit author of 2013?
BETH: Once again, the writing of Frances Hodgson Burnett has made me long to read another of her books – perhaps we can put her on the list for 2016 Chrissi? Otherwise, I think I’m definitely going to read The Making Of A Marchioness this year.
CHRISSI: Oh yes. Let’s read more of Frances Hodgson Burnett! ❤

Splintered (Splintered #1) – A.G. Howard

Published August 13, 2014 by bibliobeth

Splintered (Splintered, #1)

What’s it all about?:

This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

What did I think?:

I’ve been wanting to read this debut novel, which is part of a series for a while, and again, Chrissi’s Cupboard Month in June provided the perfect opportunity. The cover art is absolutely beautiful and this continues within the book with purple pages and flowery illustrations along the sides of the pages. I love any book that takes a classic fairy tale and puts a new spin on it and A.G. Howard has written a perfect re-imagining of Alice in Wonderland with a twist, as we get to see the dark side of Lewis Carroll’s famous world down the rabbit hole. It tells the story of a teenager called Alyssa who is the descendant of Alice Liddell, whom in turn was the muse for Lewis Carroll, and the reason behind the weird and wonderful tales of Wonderland. Alyssa is a bit different from your average teenager, she hears the whispers of insects and flowers but is trying to keep it under wraps and bury her head in the sand, desperately hoping she is not afflicted with the same condition that led her mother to be admitted to a psychiatric institution. Alyssa is also very creative, and uses insects as her inspiration for her artwork. It’s perhaps not for everybody as she pins bugs to canvases, but she is clearly gifted and passionate about what she does, if only she could silence those pesky bugs!

‘I’ve been collecting bugs since I was ten; it’s the only way I can stop their whispers. Sticking a pin through the gut of an insect shuts it up pretty quickly.’  

The story really begins to pick up pace when a visit to her mother in the institution leaves her witnessing a particularly awful mental episode. Alyssa starts to wonder whether there may be some truth in the old stories and memories her mother used to tell her and the daily whisperings she has to endure from the bugs and plants. Another tumble down the rabbit hole with her friend (and crush) Jeb is definitely required as she attempts to lift the curse on her family that has passed from generation to generation. But this Wonderland is far darker than you can imagine with well-known characters like the White Rabbit and the Caterpillar appearing er… slightly differently is all I will say! Alyssa also meets Morpheus, a strange and mysterious character who has appeared to her regularly in her childhood in the form of a moth. Alyssa is told that she must complete several tasks before the curse on her family will be lifted and she can return home. One for example, is clearing up the sea of tears that Alice so annoyingly left during her adventure and which has made several of the inhabitants quite cross. Morpheus also completes a love triangle with Jeb who is beginning to realise his feelings for Alyssa, despite having a girlfriend in the “normal” world.

I don’t want to say too much more about the plot, but believe me, you’ll never look at Alice in Wonderland in the same way again! The characters were beautifully drawn with a clearly vivid imagination – the spider women gave me more than a few chills and the mysterious Morpheus both intrigued and delighted me. I also appreciated that the author didn’t go overboard with the romance element of the plot, there was so much going on anyway that I think it would have been too much, so I found it was excellently written and not shoved in the face of the reader. The world-building is incredible – I’ve already mentioned the imagination that must have gone into writing a book like this but I feel I have to mention again that it was written in such a way that you could lose yourself quite easily in a fantastical place. I’m really looking forward to the next novel in the series, Unhinged to re-join Alyssa and…hopefully Wonderland?

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit 2014 – FEBRUARY READ – Through The Looking Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll

Published February 28, 2014 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

In 1865, English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-1898), aka Lewis Carroll, wrote a fantastical adventure story for the young daughters of a friend. The adventures of Alice-named for one of the little girls to whom the book was dedicated-who journeys down a rabbit hole and into a whimsical underworld realm instantly struck a chord with the British public, and then with readers around the world. In 1872, in reaction to the universal acclaim *Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland* received, Dodgson published this sequel. Nothing is quite what it seems once Alice journeys through the looking-glass, and Dodgson’s wit is infectious as he explores concepts of mirror imagery, time running backward, and strategies of chess-all wrapped up in the exploits of a spirited young girl who parries with the Red Queen, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, and other unlikely characters. In many ways, this sequel has had an even greater impact on today’s pop culture than the first book.

What did I think?:

The two books which tell the story of Alice in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass always bring back happy memories for me as I was given for my seventh birthday a beautiful hardback of The Complete Illustrated Works of Lewis Carroll by my aunt, and spent many a happy hour in Alice’s weird and wonderful world. When Chrissi Reads and I decided to do a Kid-Lit challenge in 2013, I knew Alice in Wonderland had to be on there, and now we are repeating the challenge this year, Through The Looking Glass was also a dead cert for the list.

The World of the Looking Glass is even more stranger than Wonderland, if that is possible? When Alice first steps through the Looking Glass, she is faced with a chess board and tiny chess pieces which are very much alive, and a bit wary of this giant “volcano” (Alice) which lifts them up onto a table, giving them a terrible fright. Alice herself remains very much unchanged from the little girl in the first volume, still slightly irritating and incredibly proper, but completely compelling to read about at the same time. Once she becomes immersed in the new world, she realises things are very backward – quite literally – when she finds a book, she has to hold it up to the Looking Glass so it can be read properly. This is the famous and fabulous poem The Jabberwocky which begins:

 Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.’

There does seem to be more of a goal for Alice in this book compared to Wonderland, as she takes the place of the White Queen’s pawn on the chessboard, and is told she must pass through a number of squares, meeting a host of colourful characters before she can become a Queen on the Eighth Square. So Alice’s journey begins, and this is where Lewis Carroll’s imagination really ran riot. We have the peculiar Tweedledum and Tweedledee, a meeting with Humpty-Dumpty (is he wearing a tie or a cravat? Well, it IS hard to tell on an egg I guess!) and an encounter with a rather sinister knitting Sheep. These are just the stand out moments for me, but everything is so unique, a little bonkers, and completely surreal that I think children today might still enjoy this fantastical world. There is quite a lot of poetry in the story, apart from the Jabberwocky there is a lovely little poem about The Walrus and the Carpenter which I remember from my childhood quite vividly. Probably because I felt so desperately sorry for the poor gullible little oysters?

Since reading this book as an adult (and still finding the knitting Sheep quite sinister), I have fallen in love all over again with the magic of Lewis Carroll’s world. I recommend to anyone that hasn’t read it, or hasn’t read it for a while, to give it another shot and enjoy being taken on a radically different journey where flowers squabble between themselves, we have 364 “un-birthdays,” and nonsense is so much better than being sensible!

For Chrissi’s take on Through The Looking Glass please see her fabulous post HERE

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

WWW Wednesday #32

Published February 26, 2014 by bibliobeth

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Click on the image to get to her blog!

Welcome to another WWW Wednesday, and thanks as ever to MizB for hosting.

To join in you need to answer 3 questions..

•What are you currently reading?

•What did you recently finish reading?

•What do you think you’ll read next?

Click on the book covers to take you to a link to find out more!

What are you currently reading?:

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I’m ploughing through this beast of a book this week. I’m really enjoying it, but for some reason it’s taking me ages to read!

What did you recently finish reading?:

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I really loved this book which I did as an interview type review with my sister and fellow blogger Chrissi Reads. Check out what we both thought on either of our blogs!

What do you think you’ll read next?:

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Next up, I’m reading Through The Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll for the February Kid-Lit read which is a feature where I link up with Chrissi Reads. I’m also looking forward to reading this Icelandic murder mystery. It’s going to be part of a new feature which I’m doing on my blog and quite excited about.

What are you reading this Wednesday? Please leave your link and I’ll come pay you a visit! Happy Reading Everyone!

Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit – the titles for 2014

Published January 9, 2014 by bibliobeth

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Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit is a monthly feature I began with my sister and fellow blogger Chrissi Reads last year. We both chose six books each to represent the twelve months of the year and resolved to read and review one a month. We enjoyed doing it so much last year that we wanted to carry on the challenge for 2014, so without any further ado, here are the twelve lucky titles!

JANUARY – Aesop’s Fables by Aesop

FEBRUARY – Through The Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There – Lewis Carroll

MARCH – Little Women – Louisa May Alcott

APRIL – The Magician’s Nephew – C.S. Lewis

MAY – Peter Pan – J.M. Barrie

JUNE – The Wind In The Willows – Kenneth Grahame

JULY – The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz – L. Frank Baum

AUGUST – The Swiss Family Robinson – Johann Wyss

SEPTEMBER – Swallows And Amazons – Arthur Ransome

OCTOBER – Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery

NOVEMBER – White Fang – Jack London

DECEMBER – The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit 2013 – The Round-Up

Published January 6, 2014 by bibliobeth

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2013 is over, and so is our Kid-Lit challenge but I think I can speak for us both when I say we both really enjoyed it. Here are the twelve books we read with the links to my reviews! Please check out Chrissi’s blog HERE for her fabulous reviews.

JANUARY – Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

FEBRUARY – The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley

MARCH – The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

APRIL – Stig of the Dump by Clive King

MAY – Heidi by Johanna Spyri

JUNE – A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

JULY – Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

AUGUST – The Children of the New Forest by Frederick Marryat

SEPTEMBER – A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

OCTOBER – Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

NOVEMBER – Northern Lights/The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

DECEMBER – The Railway Children by E. Nesbit

So, in the style of the “Talking About…” reviews we normally do, we thought we’d answer a quick few questions about our first year blogging in Kid-Lit.

1) What was your favourite Kid-Lit book of 2013 and why?
BETH: This is tough, there were quite a few that I really enjoyed. I think it would have to be A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, simply because I had forgotten how beautiful the story was.
CHRISSI: This is a tough question. I’m torn between two that I thoroughly enjoyed. They are The Railway Children and A Little Princess. I think I’d have to go for A Little Princess, because it just gave me such a lovely warm feeling when I read it. The writing is beautiful.
2) What was your least favourite Kid-Lit book of 2013 and why?
BETH: There were a couple that also fitted this category! Probably The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley as I found it quite odd, and was bitterly disappointed by the story in general.
CHRISSI: We seem to have similar answers Beth! Mine would be Children Of The New Forest though. I was disappointed with it. I really thought I’d enjoy it! The Water Babies was an odd read.
3) What was the Kid-Lit book that surprised you the most?
BETH: This has to be Northern Lights/The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. I loved the imagination behind this story, and some of his ideas (like having your own personal daemon) just blew me away. That reminds me, I must put the second book on my Coming Up list soon!
CHRISSI: I was surprised at how long Oliver Twist was. I think I’m so used to the film which condensed the book quite a bit.
4) Have you been inspired to read any other books from a Kid-Lit author of 2013?
BETH: I have! After The Little Princess, I decided to look into what else Frances Hodgson Burnett has written, as I know only of this book. I then went on a trip to Persephone Books in London, and found a copy of her novel The Making of A Marchioness, which I am looking forward to getting round to at some point!
CHRISSI: I want to read more of Frances Hodgson Burnett. Other than that I don’t think I’d read books from the same authors, besides Dickens, who I will hopefully read more of on the future. It has made me want to continue this challenge, and also think about other features around children’s literature!
Coming soon…. (Thursday to be exact) Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit – The Twelve Titles for 2014!