Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1865) 182 p.
It’s the 150th anniversary of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, so it seemed an appropriate time as any to read this classic of literature. It’s once again one of those novels which people know all about even if they haven’t read it, because it’s been copied and referenced and parodied so many times that all its elements have become famous: the grinning Cheshire cat, the Mad Hatter, the footmen who are living playing cards, the bottles labelled “eat me” or “drink me,” et cetera.
It’s also an absolutely nonsensical book without much reason or purpose to it – but then, that’s sort of the point, since Carroll wrote it as a silly children’s story to amuse his friend’s daughters on a rowing trip. (He also clearly had a creepy infatuation with 10-year-old Alice Liddell, the progenitor of the character Alice.) It’s not a novel you should feel particularly compelled to go out of your way to read, since you’ll get about as much out of it as any of the countless adaptations, or general cultural osmosis, as you will from the random silliness of the book. It’s fairly short, so I didn’t really mind burning through it just to have read it, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless, like me, you’re trying to check off all the classics.