We are more than halfway through the year now and at the end of another quick-moving month. Most of my reading this month was spread over a series of lazy afternoons, the books I read being the sort of books that you could easily finish in one sitting.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll
I remember, vaguely, starting this book and never finishing it in high school. I am not sure why or how this came about, but I imagine I was distracted by R. A. Salvatore’s dark elves. That said, I am glad that I decided to revisit Alice and her wonderful, quirky adventures. These two volumes are incredibly easy reads and fantastic for those hot summer afternoons sipping lemonade and sitting on the deck. Like water slipping through fingers, Carroll’s prose slides over the tongue and before long the end has arrived only moments after the beginning.
Unless you have been living under a rock your entire life, you probably know Alice’s story– so I will avoid saying much about the books. However, there are a few things that I really enjoyed while reading and thought I would share here. First, I loved how the story was narrated. The majority of the story consists of Alice’s thoughts, laid out completely for the reader to experience as though they were part of the novel’s dialogue. This not only made it easy to identify with Alice, but allows the reader an in-depth understanding of the very young Alice. In addition to this, I love John Tenniel’s original illustrations. I could spend hours looking at the lines that compose these lovely pieces of art.
All in all, I am glad my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to read through these two short little novels. Carroll’s works are a light, fun, and entertaining way to spend an afternoon.
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
I stumbled across a copy of this book while packing for my upcoming move, saw that it was short, and decided to read it. When I was young, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical adaptation of the story captured my heart and imagination. Despite being told time and time again that this was a terrible book, I enjoyed it– or rather, I enjoyed parts of it.
The story is narrated by an individual who had been looking into the legend of an opera ghost that haunted the Paris Opera. At times, this became a little grating and I found myself skimming over long passages of text throughout the beginning and middle of the novel. However, the story picked up a great deal near the end and I found myself becoming quite intrigued by the supernatural characters that appear within the cellars of the Opera house and the first-person narrative of the Persian as he and Raoul confronted the Phantom.
If you are a fan of supernatural or gothic literature, then you will probably find some enjoyment from this novel. The character of Erik, the phantom, is entirely fascinating and the short glimpses of his past more than make up for his short appearances within the narrative itself. He also makes up for the rather weak characters that populate the novel. Christine is a very silly, weak damsel in distress. Raoul is a love-sick and obsessed puppy. So, if you are looking for a compelling cast of characters this is not the place to look. However, if you are looking for a good ghost story, with an interesting, tragic “ghost”, this is the place to look.