Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Alice I Have Been

This is what I am reading now. I wanted to show the cover, but the library has its big bar code right in the middle of the book.....duh. I read a review about this book awhile ago in a magazine. It intrigued me then, and I made a note to read it as soon as I was able. I meant for it to be my first E-reader download, but, it was never available when I needed to read it. I found it one night as a hardcopy at the library. It is written by Melanie Benjamin. Melanie spent a great deal of time researching all known facts and papers available regarding Alice Liddell Hargreave's life, who is also, the real Alice, the one written about in the Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

This book is her research in story form. She has tried to remain true to what is known, and hinting at possiblities of what is not. The axis of the research remains: what was Alice's relationship regarding Lewis Carroll.

She spins a believeable set-up of how the rumors begat. She knows an innocent child who only living honestly finds herself involved in a scandal that changes her life forever, and she cannot figure out why or how, or how to regain what once was. She is not allowed to consult with the involved parties, as children were not considered part of adults consult. Therefore, nothing could be proved or tried, nothing could be sure or not, yet, people suffered. The child suffered greatest of all, not knowing what the adult mind could make of a child's innocent freedom.

Like Alice in Wonderland, one day, Alice, the real Alice, did find herself falling down a rabbit hole and not being able to stop, and not knowing when it would stop.

Well written. I could easily identify all the thoughts Melanie was able to capture and illustrate. I loved that not only did she write, but she wrote truth. Not necessarily, that it was true in Alice's world, but that it was truth in general. Things are not always as they seem, and yet, they may be very much what they seem, just yet not discovered.

Melanie does not leave you bored. Even though she can be verbose, it is an interesting play of words. Time moves slowly through the book, but I found myself so absorbed I didn't care. I have not finished it yet, but I know it ends how life almost always does. A little disappointing, a little sad. I feel sorry for Lewis Carroll, although, I wonder in the back of my mind if I shouldn't. I really feel sorry for Alice, who fell into it. Who was wooed, cooed and courted, without her really knowing it. I feel sorry that it damaged her so, but I think it was mostly because no one would talk of it.

I will come back and tell more. But so far, I give this a very good rating. I suspect this book isn't for everyone. There are those who have escaped the things in childhood Alice saw, and therefore, would think the book not interesting. It is a contemplative book, not a rollercoaster. It leaves you with thoughts long into the night after reading.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Minimalizing Your Books?????

Found this interesting site via StumbleUpon. I bookmarked it because there is so much truth in it, and its where I am right now in Life. Too much input, I am afraid. Here is the link: and really, I didn't find anything that I dont want to read of this blog.....

I have lots of books, for lots of reasons. I could easily become a book hoarder......or, maybe I already am.......I have carried boxes and boxes of books that I have collected for 40 years to the Library, to a fund-raising book sale, to the thrift shops, to whoever would take them......

Seriously, I could set up a living space surrounded by tall shelves of books and be quite content.

I don't enjoy our library anymore. They have replaced it with a new building. It's carpeted and metal and steel shelving, and too much space, and too much light and all the old volumes have been replaced. It's not fun anymore. I don't enjoy reading classics in the new jackets. I don't know if I can purchase a Kindle. That said, I have found some e-book sites and have read on-line and find that quite satisfying-----however, if I really like the book, I must have it in my hands, and feel it, and write in it, and carry it around with me to meditate on it.....

I recently won some old G. H Pember books on ebay. Can't imagine anyone parting with them, they are so rich in expository commentaries of the Bible. Reminds me of Nehemiah searching for lost and old volumes because the truth had gotten so buried that it was no longer available. The old paths, find....scripture tells us.....I see why, today.

I think that is my fear of electronic books. The limitations of what is available to read. A sort of self imposed censorship, without even really realizing it. Only what the Kindle people think is popular and classic is available. I have always had an aversion to popular.....anything. And, like I said already, classics just don't read well in aluminum and glass........

I decided after reading the article on minimalist book keeping that I need to make a list of my favorite authors and see if I can keep the collection to what I would take on a deserted island......helpful?

I probably wouldn't take my collection of Alice in Wonderland books, because I am mainly collecting them for one of my sons. He can take them to his deserted island.......

The book illustrated at the beginning of this post is one that I am offering on ebay right now and its a beautiful volume, but I have no other interest in it except that. I decided that keeping books because they are beautiful is not one of my criterias.

I resisted putting any new volumes on my shelves for a very long time, but some books I haven't been able to find in an old volume, and some are just recently published, so, I have to compromise there.

And you know one of my weaknesses is, if I find my favorites a second and third time, I might have to purchase them in case I want to give one away....or....just because. I did that with my William Barclay commentaries. I found some at a rummage sale for 50 cents each, and although I already had them, I could not resist purchasing them at that sale. I think I tried to give a few away....but learned--my love isn't everyone else's love......

The kids love Roald Dahl. I buy anything Roald Dahl I can find. Even if I already have it, because I have four boys that all love to read him. I can pass them on, and they can have them for their new libraries.

Well, I have a new project. Minimalizing my book collection. It should be quite an adventure. I get to list 100 items on ebay right now for free. I only pay if I sell them. It's a good time to purge 100 books that I liked at one time, collected for some reason, but now, feel no need to hoard them. Let's see how I do.