Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Alice in Wonderland

So, there's a new photo. It's very recent. 5 minutes ago recent. Also, I split up the blogrolls. There's the bookish ones and other cool ones. A lot of the other cool ones are ones my friends do. I have cool friends (dunno why they hang out with me ;) ) and their blogs are very cool. Check them out.

But, I promised you some books, right? These are both Alice-y. Check out this Alice jewelry that I'm lusting after (she has other great stuff too. Check it out.)

Here's a little story. I was hanging out at ALA, looking for ARCs, when some lady by me picked up a book to show her manly companion. I might have maybe shrieked. A little bit. When I saw the book. She said "you obviously need this" and gave it to me (there was a big pile, she still got a copy).

The book was Frank Beddor's Seeing Redd, the second in a trilogy and the follow up to last year's most awesome The Looking Glass Wars.

So, Alyss has regained her queendom, but peace is uneasy. The suit families don't trust the new queen and she doesn't trust them. There are factions all over trying to take advantage of the queendom's fragility in this time of rebuilding. And someone is plotting with the kingdom next door to invade Wonderland. Where is Hatter Madigan when you need him? And will Alyss ever get a moment alone with Dodge?

An excellent followup to the first that leaves even higher hopes for the third. The ending, like the second installment in all good trilogies, is a bit
Empire Strikes Back. What intrigued me most was the depiction of King Arch's kingdom-- a bastion of sexism and machismo. He despises Wonderland because he doesn't believe women can rule. Boarderland uses drug delivery systems to keep women under control, lets women be used as currency, and has slogans of manliness carved into the cliffs such as Boarderland men do not cry when watching sentimental crystal-vision programs with their wives. Boarderlandmen do not watch sentimental crystal-vision programs with their wives. But what promised to be an interesting examination of the sexism, gender roles, and machismo, puttered out after being rather strongly introduced. I'm hoping that it will come back in the third book.

Overall though, I actually liked this book better than the first (and I lurved the first one) because here Frank can really break through the constraints of retelling a story. He has his version of Alyss's world firmly in hand and can now let his imagination loose. I can't, can't, can't wait for book 3. Also! Beddor put out a soundtrack for these books!A Soundtrack! I can't wait to listen.

Full disclosure: As made obvious by the above story, this was a publisher provided ARC...

Alice In Sunderland by Bryan Talbot.

Do you know who would absolutely love this book? My dad. (Did you hear that Dad? Go to the bookstore and pick this up. Tonight-ish.) I think Fuse originally turned me onto this one.

Still, it was totally not what I was expecting what-so-ever. This is a rather madcap love letter to Sunderland, England. Giving us a tour of the town, teaching us its history, and outlining all of Lewis Carroll's and Alice's connections with the area. But he jumps all over and you're never entirely sure if he's telling the truth... you're also treated to a guide to the great pubs of Sunderland and an interesting history of comics. (He makes a compelling case for the Bayeux Tapestry as an precursor to the comic.)

Here's the text off a sample page: (he's discussing the village of Washington on County Durham)

Washington is derived from the Anglo-Saxon hwaes, meaning chieftain and ton meaning village. Here the Saxon thane has his wooden hall, later replaced by a medieval stone manor. Hail to the chief! In 1180, the Norman landowners take the name of their village, becoming the first Washingtons, the direct ancestors of George Washington, the first constitutional president of the U.S.A. Rebuilt in 1623 upon the foundations of its medieval predecessor, Washington Old Hall still displays the family coat of arms... three mullets over two bars: The Stars and Stripes "There's glory for you", says Humpty Dumpty. Old Glory, to be exact. It's also in the heraldic display of Hylton Castle... and is George Washington's personal crest. Not only is Washington related to the Lambtons and the Lumleys, but also to Alice Liddell and Queen Elizabeth II.

But what makes this utterly fascinating account most unforgettable is the artwork. This is, after all, a graphic novel. (Even thought I think Talbot would call it a comic book.) Talbot flawlessly mixes styles and mediums-- comic-style hand drawing with paintings with old newspapers and photographs, and with what looks like photoshopped pictures to look painted. A visual feast to go with the history and story of Alice and Sunderland.

This is a book to spend hours pouring over. Read it twice--you still won't catch everything.

And Dad? Seriously? Go get it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the local Bookaries do not have it. I will resort to the net. If I had read this earlier, it could have come with Bruce’s Live in Dublin set. Oh well..
The Un-inked Hand.