Sunday, 10 January 2010
The Sunday Salon: Reading a well known classic
I have managed very little reading this week, especially as I had a day and a half off of work due to the snow. I finished Doctor Zhivago, if you had seen my post during the week you will know that I wasn't very impressed with it. Now I have three bookrings which I need to get read, Serena by Ron Rash, The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters and Summertime by J.M Coetzee. Normally I would be rushing to read these books but at the moment they hold little appeal, so they sit looking at me making me feel guilty and therefore making me want to read them even less :(
I decided mid-week that a distraction from these was necessary and I also needed that gratification of finishing a book. I decided to pick up Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by C.S Lewis. I have a beautiful boxset of Adventures and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There which my mum brought me for Christmas whilst I was at university, its been sitting around unread for 8 years plus.
I'm sure as a child I was probably read this, but all I can remember is the film. I settled down to this on Wednesday afternoon, the snow was falling heavily outside and I was already in my pjs after a couple of hours walk in the snow. Curling up with a blanket to get sucked into Alice's world was bliss. The story was very familiar, the childlike simplicity was a godsend after the politics of Russia, and I was easily pleased. This is one of those books which pull you back into your childhood in a rush. The Mervyn Peake illustrations are simple and stunning and added to the effect. I'll be reading Through the Looking Glass in the next week or so.
As well as knocking this off mount tbr this is also my first novel for the wonderful Our Mutural Reads Challenge. When reading this I did think about the childrens books that we have today. Alice is such a simple tale, she is stuck in an imaginary world with talking animals and characters, who generally accept her into their world unless she does something to distress them. Children's books now-a-days seem so much more 'clever', but it makes you wonder if this is needed, surely all kids regardless of the generation they belong to want a bit of silliness, somewhere they can imagine dreaming themselves into.
Have you read any well known classics which you feel you know like the back of your hand without having read them before?