"I'm a writer living in the Perth Hills with my relentlessly fun seeking children.
Published February 23rd 2017
Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality
Nothing is as satisfying to me as a wonderful book. There are many things that separate a 'good' book from a 'wonderful' one. So, what qualifies a book to be a notch above the rest? I fall in love with many things, an unusual binding, glorious illustrations, unexpected content or simply just whimsical subject matter. You can keep your shoes and designer purses, give me a beautiful book, an easy chair and I'm a happy bunny.
Down the rabbit hole
The Complete Alice, with a foreword by Philip Pullman, is a stunning collection of all Lewis Carroll's writings for the young 'Alice Liddell.' It includes both of Reverend Charles Dodgeson's classic works, 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' and 'Alice Through the Looking Glass' as you would expect, but it also has a lost chapter, 'The Wasp in the Wig' that Carroll edited out of his final draft and at the end of the volume, an endearing chapter on 'The Story of Alice."
The look of this book is saliva inducing before you even pick it up. It's elegant, from its white embossed linen cover, to the ever decreasing rabbit holes cut into its introductory pages. The edges are gilded in metallic red and the illustrations are faithfully coloured and reproduced to Tenniel's original works. It's a large volume, perfect for getting lost in an armchair with.
Alice in Wonderland was an important book for me as a child, because it was the first 'classic' book that embraced the power of nonsense and unbridled imagination. The narrative was unpredictable, it left questions unanswered, why is a raven like a writing desk anyway? I loved it for Alice, my first heroine. A self-possessed little girl who bravely negotiates herself through any amount of absurdity with empathy and attitude. She has no control over her rapidly shrinking and expanding body, is surrounded by nonsensical characters and confounded by her own emotional mood swings. If that isn't an analogy for life, I don't know what is.
The Story of Alice, at the back of the book, is as inviting and curious as a little sweet shop, with history and insights on the real life Rev Dodgson, the Liddell family, the Victorian life that influenced the story and the fascinating journey into how it became such a favourite in English literature.
The white rabbit
The complete Alice is a gorgeous volume that deserves a home on your bookself, perhaps a very high one, where the children cannot get their sticky fingers on it.