Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll

alices-adventures-in-wonderland-and-through-the-looking-glass-and-what-alice-found-thereYou might remember that I read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderlandlast year and fell in love head over heels with it. It actually became one of my favorite books, ever!

Unfortunately I cannot say the same with Through the LookingGlass. I’m not sure if it was the timing or if it’s really a less piece of work, but the magic I found in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was a bit lost in the sequel. It was still a pretty good read, but I did not love it as much.

I read the Vintage edition on the right which has both Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the LookingGlass, both with illustrations by John Tenniel-the original illustrator. I decided to wait a bit for the second book after reading the first one, hence the gap (they were actually published with 6 years gap anyway).

In Through the LookingGlass I found that characters often appear and disappear too suddenly (literally–like poof!) which I don’t remember happening as much in the first book and kinda baffled me a little bit. I laughed reading the first one a lot more too. Lots more. The second book is probably supposed to be smarter because it integrates chess moves throughout the entire story, but I never have much interest in chess unfortunately!

What I found interesting was a few key events or characters that were taken from Through the Looking Glass and get adapted into the Disney’s version of Alice in Wonderland, like:

alice live flowersalice live flowers

the garden of live flowers (John Tenniel’s illustration on the right)

bread and butterfly

bread-and-butterfly

tweedledee tweedledumtweedledee tweedledum

tweedledee and tweedledum (John Tenniel’s illustration on the right–as if you’re gonna get it wrong..)

mickey through mirroralice-emerging-from-the-looking-glass

and Mickey Mouse short where he goes through mirror and finds world on the other side of it is an obvious tribute to Through the Looking Glass!

My super favorite passage:

‘Well, in our country,’ said Alice, still panting a little, ‘you’d generally get to somewhere else — if you ran very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.’
‘A slow sort of country!’ said the Queen. ‘Now, here, you see it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!’” ~ p196

which I think so reflects the fast pace of our modern life.

4 stars
1871, 170pp

Kicking and Screaming into my 30

I survived my 30th birthday several days ago without too much agony. Phew.

I hate birthdays (and I mean mine!). There’s so much pressure to be happy and social and get confirmations of love from people around you. And often the birthdays fall on work days, people ask whether you’d do anything special so you feel like you really have to even though you may not feel to do anything after a long day at work. On top of that you get older another year, forcing you to think whether you have used your years on earth in the best way possible. The clock is ticking, you get less time and more things to do in life.

In other words, birthday is exhausting! So exhausting that I often get sick on my birthdays (oh heat of the pressure!). And worse than the rest of my other birthdays, this year I hit the big 30. I have spent almost the entire year of my last 2, thinking that this is it, this is the last twenties. Have I done everything I wanted to do before I turn 30? Where is my checklist? What do I need to prepare to be 30 and beyond?

Actually I’m not sure why I even write this post. Half of me really just wanted to close my eyes hoping the day goes by quickly and to emerge on the other side of the decade totally indifferent and unscathed. But the other half of me want to acknowledge that yes no matter how you think about it, it is a pretty big milestone (though completely arbitrary in the big scheme of things), so a bit of reflection is called for. I mean, really, 30 is a big deal. You jump to a different age bracket! Even visa and residency rules are getting harder when you turn three-zero (important for me who is citizen of the world).

Going back to the checklist. Honestly, it wasn’t carved on stone. In fact it was never written on paper. I’m guessing everybody has this mental list about things they want to do before they reach certain age. Some you manage to do some you don’t, and I guess the part of growing up is to accept that life is what happens when you’re planning to do something else. Looking back I do tick all the major points that I want to do by the time I’m 30, some I never thought I could do but happened anyway (love the surprises of life!). I have lived in 7 different cities in 4 different continents, married my high school sweetheart, taken a mortgage, done a month of backpacking trip, credited for 3 video games and 1 animated movie, published a piece in a magazine, and gone for lots and lots of traveling and road trips. Sure I have not jumped out of a plane or been to Japan, but they’re easily achievable within a year or two. I have not had a dog (not since I was a kid)–that’s probably one of the hardest to achieve with my nomaden style of living. Some things I thought I wanted to do, I no longer do. That’s the great thing about the list. It’s fluid and it’s changing all the time as the wheel of life goes on.

But if I was to learn anything in my 30 years of living, it’s that friendship and relationship is the hardest of them all. Probably especially for me who in the past 13 years never stays in one place longer than 3 years continuously. Despite my (sometimes their) best effort to keep in touch, physical distance does make a big difference. Friendships fade away. If I used to believe that the best of friends would always be there for you though you may not hold hands all the time, I learned it the hard way that it’s not true. That you do need to hold hands, keep in touch, nourish the friendship, and if you don’t the day you need them the most you’ll turn back and find they’re no longer there. So yes as you can tell, though I make new friends every time I go to a new place, I lose friends too. I lost a couple of important ones for reasons I cannot fathom. I don’t regret it as such because I guess part of growing up is to accept that people do grow in different directions and to let things go. If anything it does make me appreciate those who do stay and those who might come into my life in the future.

Here’s to another decade of life and surprises!

No I didn’t get sick this year. And had a lovely day too :). Like I said, I survived!

Bookie Mee for Top 10 UK Literature Blogs. Really?

Yes that’s exactly my reaction when I got the email from Cision today. And look who else is on the list! Lil’ mee alongside Jackie, Kim, Claire, and Simon. NO WAY! Yes yes I know I never heard of Cision too, but at least their site looks half legitimate, they were able to dig my email address, their email was nicely formatted, and they spell my blog title and address correctly. Also, someone actually checked out the list, got my site, and emailed me asking if I’m on twitter. So there are real people reading! In any way, I feel a bit flattered that their robots picked up my blog and put me in the same list as the big names! (in fact I know all the blogs on the list) Cision boasts of using their in-house methodology. I wonder if my blog got picked up because I mentioned ‘London’ a lot in the past three posts.

Well, at least the list nudged me to write this little post, right? I’m not staying long now, but I do have a couple of books I want to talk about so I’ll come back soon. In news of reading, you might have noticed on my sidebar that I started to read Jane Eyre months ago. Well I’ve been neglecting it a lot (all books really) and so far I’ve only got to around page 150ish, just when Jane meets Mr Rochester on the street when he falls from his horse. Now yesterday I was watching my foodie hero Jamie Oliver on the web, when somehow the newest Jane Eyre movie ads just showed up again and again (the movie was out months ago but I think the DVD is coming up soon hence the ads), and I was panicking everytime the ad showed up, because I hate spoilers! So imagine me frantically trying to mute the ad on my laptop and not see the clip at the same time (MUTE! MUTE! I don’t wanna hear what Mr Rochester is saying to Jane! I don’t want to see them kissing! Aarrgghh!). On a hindsight I probably should’ve just pressed the mute button on my laptop keyboard instead of trying to click the mute button on the small web video window with eyes half closed. Anyway, all that made me start to read the book again today as I want to find out what happens next.

Be back soon!

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