Posts Tagged ‘2009


Wonderland: The Zen of Alice

Wonderland: The Zen of Alice by Daniel Doen Silberberg.

Published by Parallax Press, 2009. Paperback.

ISBN: 9781888375954

From the back cover:

Hang on, for you’re headed down the rabbit hole. Daniel Doen Silberberg uses the classic tale of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as a jumping-off point for conveying the Zen Buddhist concept of ”one Mind.” With riffs on everything from Detroit to the Diamond Sutra and Kill Bill to ketchup, this is a funny, thoughtful, irreverent contribution to contemporary American Buddhism. Silberberg is a trained psychologist and musician who has been studying Buddhism for thirty years and leads an international Zen community. With stories from his own life as well as from the larger cultural swirl around him, Silberberg reflects on the differences between how we perceive our world and how it truly is. He offers important ideas on how to live fully and happily in the Wonderland we’re all already in.

From Publishers Weekly:

In this short book Silberberg weaves snippets from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with personal anecdotes, classic Buddhist sutras, koans and popular culture to illustrate Zen approaches to the true nature of enlightenment: When we get to the other shore, to what I am calling Wonderland, we may experience One Mind. Rather than using Zen to explain Alice, Silberberg playfully mingles, for example, the upside-down logic of the Caterpillar and Mock Turtle with the wisdom of the Diamond Sutra to explain key ideas. A longtime practitioner and former vice abbot of the Kanzeon Zen Center in Utah, the author is adept at explaining Buddhist teachings and ideas, such as the causes of suffering and Siddhartha’s search for the truth of existence. Silberberg’s description of the Zen path demonstrates more rigor than gentleness, reflecting a warrior approach to the search for knowledge that isn’t present in all forms of this Eastern philosophy; indeed, a little more clarification about which approaches are specifically Zen among the range of Buddhist practices would have been helpful for the novice. While the Alice analogies are thin, Silberberg’s clear writing and in-depth knowledge of his subject make this addition to the Zen of genre engaging.

Available on Amazon: Wonderland: The Zen of Alice



ArchEnemy by Frank Beddor. Cover art by Vance Kovacs.

Third part of the Looking Glass Wars trilogy.

Published by Dial Books (part of Penguin), 2009.

ISBN: 9780803731561

Hardback first edition with dustjacket.

The premise of the series is that the books as written by Lewis Carroll are a distortion of the ‘true events’. Alyss Heart (Alice Liddell) is actually the Princess of Wonderland: forced to flee to the real world when her sociopathic Aunt Redd takes over the throne. The white rabbit becomes Alyss’s (Alice’s) tutor, Bibwit Harte (an anagram), and the Mad Hatter is Hatter Madigan, the royal bodyguard.

From the publisher’s blurb:

Discover the fate of Wonderland- and imagination itself- in this riveting conclusion to the New York Times bestselling trilogy.

The Heart Crystal’s power has been depleted, and Imagination along with it. The people of Wonderland have all lost their creative drive, and most alarmingly, even Queen Alyss is without her powers. There is some comfort in the fact that the vicious Redd Heart seems to be similarly disabled. Amazingly, she is attempting to team up with her enemy, Alyss, in order to reclaim Wonderland from King Arch. Alyss might have no choice but to accept Redd’s overtures, especially when she begins to receive alarming advice from the caterpillar oracles.

I’m not overly keen on this series: the writing style isn’t to my taste, but they seem to be hugely popular, and I believe that a film is planned…

Available on Amazon: ArchEnemy (Looking Glass Wars)


Illustrated by Willy Pogany

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll: illustrated by Willy Pogany.

Published by Dover (26 Jun 2009)

ISBN-10: 0486470482

ISBN-13: 978-0486470481

Modern paperback reproduction of the book published by E.P.Dutton and Co in 1929. Black and white pictures only.

William Andrew (“Willy”) Pogany was born Vilmos Andreas Pogány in 1882 in Szeged, Hungary. After studying in Budapest, Munich and Paris he spent time in London before going to the States. He remained there until his death on 30 July 1955.

As well as work as an illustrator for books and advertisements, he was art director for several Hollywood films.

From the back cover:

Generations of children have fallen down the rabbit hole with the little girl in the pinafore, to return again and again to Wonderland. Translated into more than one hundred languages, this captivating fantasy has enchanted readers of all ages around the world. This new edition of Alice’s adventures offers a fresh look at the time-honored tale, featuring an abundance of exuberant illustrations in the elegant style of Art Nouveau.
Willy Pogány, a prolific Hungarian-born artist best known for his illustrations of classic myths and legends, created these striking drawings in 1929. Pogány’s intricate black-and-white images retain the story’s playful spirit while injecting a zesty modern air to depictions of the White Rabbit, the Queen of Hearts, the Mad Hatter, and other fantastical characters. This restoration of Pogány’s long out-of-print illustrations offers a fine introduction to a classic tale, as well as splendid addition to the collections of those already acquainted with Alice’s adventures.

Available on Amazon: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland


Tales From Wonderland

Tales From Wonderland by Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco & Raven Gregory.

Published by Zenescope.

ISBN: 978-0981755038

From the cover:

When two young twin girls are pulled into another dimension their purity will not be enough to save them. Lost, scared and unable to escape, the girls must find ways to adapt as they eventually realize that being raised by madness itself isn’t all that bad…
A local hero has somehow been thrown into insanity as he attempts to adapt to a world intent on taking his mind. But he soon realizes that there is only way to adapt to the un-adaptable…
Before the horror that tore a family apart, there was a child named Alice who entered a foreign world only to return forever changed. Her sanity would be taken, but her life would not be wasted. Witness the story of the girl who lost everything only to become an unlikely hero…
A scientist discovers a portal to another realm but his obsession proves much more costly than he ever could have imagined.
Four incredible tales straight from a horror-filled realm unlike no other. Enter a place where madness and terror reign supreme…. Enter the world of WONDERLAND!

Available on amazon: Tales from Wonderland Volume 1


Alice Beyond Wonderland

Alice Beyond Wonderland: Essays for the Twenty-first Century edited by Cristopher Hollingsworth.

Forward by Karoline Leach.

Published by the University of Iowa Press, 2009.

ISBN: 978-1587298196

I’m indebted to this book for reminding me of a part of my childhood that I’d forgotten: the Goops. (There’s a picture from the Goops used on page 40).

Cristopher Hollingsworth is associate professor of English at the University of South Alabama. Karoline Leach wrote “In the Shadow of the Dreamchild” (ISBN 0-7206-1044-3), which explored and contradicted the “Carroll Myth”- the fallacious perception of Carroll as some kind of drug-addled paedophile.

Review from Will Brooker, author of Alice’s Adventure: Lewis Carroll in Popular Culture:

“Alice beyond Wonderland offers an exciting range of new perspectives on the Alice books, linked around the core theme of space. This impressive collection will make an excellent and original contribution to the literature on Alice and Carroll.”

Product description:

“Alice beyond Wonderland” explores the ubiquitous power of Lewis Carroll’s imagined world. Including work by some of the most prominent contemporary scholars in the field of Lewis Carroll studies, all introduced by Karoline Leach’s edgy foreword, “Alice beyond Wonderland” considers the literary, imaginative, and cultural influences of Carroll’s nineteenth-century story on the high-tech, postindustrial cultural space of the twenty-first century. The scholars in this volume attempt to move beyond the sexually charged permutations of the ‘Carroll myth’, the image of an introverted man fumbling into literary immortality through his love for a prepubescent Alice. Contributions include an essay comparing Dantean and Carrollian underworlds, one investigating child characters as double agents in untamed lands, one placing Wonderland within the geometrical and algebraic ‘fourth dimension’, one investigating the visual and verbal interplay of hand imagery, and one exploring the influence of Japanese translations of Alice on the Gothic-Lolita subculture of neo-Victorian enthusiasts. This is a bold, capacious, and challenging work.

I’d be lying if I said I’d read this, but it’s certainly on the list- it looks fascinating, and is well produced and illustrated. I especially love the Cheshire Cat on the cover: Barnaby Ward is the artist.

Available on amazon: Alice Beyond Wonderland: Essays for the Twenty-first Century


Illustrated by Oleg Lipchenko

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, illustrated by Oleg Lipchenko.

Published by Tundra Books, 2009. Hardback.

ISBN 978-0-88776932-0

Oleg Lipchenko is a Ukrainian artist now based in Toronto.

Winner of the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award: an award established in 1985 and given annually in recognition of outstanding artistic talent in a Canadian picture book.

Lipchenko says:

Lewis Carroll gives the Illustrator a lot of freedom. There are a lot of things that aren’t given or described; he plays on the imagination of the readers, so that everyone’s views are unique. At the same time, there are many attractive details in his writing. That’s why everything could be shown differently. I like to draw with pencil on paper; I find a lot of freedom in it. The presence of colour is not important to me, colour is a desirable attribute for children’s books, but is not necessary. Including the brown color in my illustrations, is to bring out the reminisce that you would get in old photographs, ‘Fleur de Epoch’.

He has also illustrated Humpty Dumpty and Others: Selected Nursery Rhymes and a number of Russian children’s tales.

On amazon: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Also available as a limited edition.


The Logic of Alice: Clear Thinking in Wonderland

The Logic of Alice: Clear Thinking in Wonderland by Bernard M. Patten.

Published by Prometheus Books, 2009. Paperback.

ISBN: 978-1591026754

Bernard Patten was a chief of the Neuromuscular Disease Division, vice chairman of the Department of Neurology, and attending neurologist at the Baylor College of Medicine. He now lectures in clear thinking, mental gymnastics, logic, and neuroscience.

Product description:

Many commentaries have been devoted to Lewis Carroll’s masterpiece, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The interpretations range from Freudian analysis to speculations about the real-life people who may have inspired the animal characters.

In this unique approach to interpreting Alice, the fruit of ten years of research, Dr. Bernard M. Patten shows that Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll, fused his passion for logic, mathematics, and games with his love of words and nonsense stories to produce a multifaceted, intricately structured work of literature. Patten provides a chapter-by-chapter skeleton key to Alice, which meticulously demonstrates how its various episodes reveal Dodgson’s profound knowledge of the rules of clear thinking, informal and formal logic, symbolic logic, and human nature.

As Patten makes clear, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, far from being just an entertaining children’s book, is more complex and deeply reflective of Dodgson’s character than it may seem. By making an effort to understand its deeper layers, both children and adults may profit from this masterful tale by learning to think better and, along the way, having fun.

There’s a lengthy review here.

Available on amazon: Logic of Alice: Clear Thinking in Wonderland


Illustrated by John Vernon Lord

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland illustrated by John Vernon Lord.

Published by Artists Choice Editions, 2009. Hardback with illustrated boards. First edition, limited: signed by the artist, and numbered 89/348.

ISBN: 9780955834318

John Vernon Lord has said:

I tackled everything that came my way. I carried out portraits of company directors for their retirement dinner menu covers, buildings for brochures, strip cartoons, maps and humorous drawings for advertisements….gardens and their plants, vegetables, mazes, refrigerators, dishwashers, totem poles, kitchen utensils, resuscitation diagrams, all kinds of furniture, typewriters, agricultural crop spraying machines, door locks, folded towels, decorative letters, Zodiac signs, animals….When you are a student there is a tendency at first to limit yourself to draw only what you like drawing. This of course ultimately shackles you and limits your repertoire …(it) narrows the margin of what you are able to depict in an image and consequently stifles imagination and ideas.

You can really see the result of this in the illustrations for this book: there are visual puns and hidden pictures everywhere. Look at the front cover- it illustrates the passage where the dormouse is telling the story of the three girls living in the treacle well:

The Dormouse had closed its eyes by this time, and was going off into a doze; but, on being pinched by the Hatter, it woke up again with a little shriek, and went on: `–that begins with an M, such as mouse-traps, and the moon, and memory, and muchness– you know you say things are “much of a muchness”–did you ever see such a thing as a drawing of a muchness?’

Lord has drawn the moon and a muchness: an infinity sign, and mousetraps, and two versions of memory: a knot- and the seahorse shaped hippocampus.

I also like the fact that all the illustrations are sen through Alice’s eyes: she doesn’t appear in them: we just see what she sees…

Lovely book, and highly recommended despite the pretty price tag… Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland


Wonderland Revisited and the Games Alice Played There

Wonderland Revisited and the Games Alice Played There by Keith Sheppard.

Illustrations by Cynthia Brownell.

Published by Evertype, 2009.

From the cover:

“Excuse me,” said Alice to a small white Mouse in red shorts. “What precisely is a custard race?”

Did Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass leave you yearning for more? Join Alice on her new journey and meet the extraordinary inhabitants of Wonderland, both familiar and new.

If your bed turned into a boat and you found yourself “drifting off” in an entirely unexpected manner how would you find your way home? The Jack of Diamonds says it’s Alice’s own fault for being fast asleep—had she slept more slowly she wouldn’t be so far from home.

The Red Queen, the Mah-jong Dragons, even the Red King’s Gamekeeper, all seem helpful enough at first—but things never quite turn out the way Alice hopes!

Brimming with wordplay, nonsense verse, and a cast of eccentric characters each with their own peculiar logic, this adventure is faithful to the style of the originals, picking up the pen where Lewis Carroll put it down. Be swept away on a torrent of humour and madness. Alice is back!

Available on Amazon: Wonderland Revisited and the Games Alice Played There


Alice in Zombieland

Alice in Zombieland by Nickolas Cook.

Published by Coscom Entertainment, 2009.

ISBN: 978-1926712291

From the cover:

Can Alice escape Zombieland before the Dead Red Queen catches up to her?

When little Alice falls asleep, she finds herself in an undead nightmare of rotting flesh and insanity. Following a talking rat, she ventures further into this land of zombies and monsters.

There’s also something else troubling poor Alice: her skin is rotting and her hair is falling out. She’s cold and there’s the haunting feeling that if she remains in Zombieland any longer, she might never leave and forever be caught between life and death.

Have a seat at the table for the Tea Party of your life and explore the wondrous adventure that is Zombieland.

I haven’t read this, and the only reviewer I have found so far is rather unimpressed

If you want to judge for yourself, it’s on amazon here: Alice in Zombieland

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