Archive | July, 2015

Celebrate Alice in Wonderland’s 150th Birthday with 16 Wonderful Choices from Hoopla!

22 Jul

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was first published by Lewis Carroll (mathematician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) in 1865.  Since then it has been the inspiration for many novels, comic books, movies, video games, music, art, and even a line of perfumes!  Earlier this year we had a display of Alice collectibles and graphic novel concept art by a local Hoboken artist on display.  But what better way to continue to celebrate than with checking out both Carroll’s original story as well as the many adaptations available.  Whether you are looking for something light and whimsical or something dark and scary there are a variety of choices for teens, adults, and kids.

And you can also celebrate that the Hoboken Public Library and other BCCLS libraries are now doubling the amount of items you can borrow each month from HooplaNow instead of just 8, you have 16 Hoopla checkouts a month and in addition to TV shows, movies, audiobooks, and music you now also can check out eBooks including graphic novels and comics!

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland 

Available both as an eBook and several audiobook versions this is the perfect time to go online and check out the classic work.

Through the Looking-Glass 

Carroll continued Alice’s adventures in Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There. Set several months after the original novel, this work features the Carroll’s famous Jabberwocky poem and introduced Alice to Tweedledee and Tweedledum.

Alice’s Adventures Under Ground: Being a facsimile of the original manuscript book afterwards developed into Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland 
Alice in Wonderland is based on a story Lewis Carroll told to the children of a colleague and a family friend.  See how it all started with the original story Charles Lutwidge Dodgson’s wrote down for the real life Alice (Liddell).

Alice – 1988

This experimental masterpiece by Czech Animator, Jan Svankmajer, is a mixture of stop motion and live action.  The white rabbit is a taxidermied bunny who comes alive and slowly leaks saw dust as Alice chases him into a very surreal Wonderland.  This movie is a must see for adult Alice fans, but may be frightening for young children.

Alice In Wonderland – 1949

The 1949 stop motion classic is much more child friendly and more faithful to the original source material. It also draws connections between the real life people that may have inspired Carroll’s novel.  I prefer Svankmajer version, but this is the one I’d show my son.

The Initiation of Alice In Wonderland: The Looking Glass Of Lewis Carroll
My husband, who loves a good conspiracy theory, enjoyed this documentary which attempts to take a deeper look at what might be behind Carroll’s literary works.

The Looking Glass Wars, Audiobook by Frank Beddor

Frank Beddor dramatically reinterprets Carroll’s story.  Alyss Heart is thrown out of Wonderland by her Aunt Redd and while living in Oxford tells her story to Charles Dodgson, but he got a lot of details wrong about what actually happened.  This Young Adult novel also has appeal to adult fans of fantasy.

Beyond Wonderland Issues #0-5, by Raven Gregory

If you enjoy the darker interpretations of Wonderland such as the American McGee’s Alice video game, than you might be interested in this horror graphic novel, the second in an Alice inspired trilogy.  Also available are two other Wonderland graphic novels and several volumes of dark interpretation of Grimm Fairy Tales from the infamous Zenoscope Entertainment.  They are recommended for adult audiences only.

Alice In Wonderland, Part of the Classics Illustrated Series Issue #49 

For those looking for a more faithful and child friendly graphic novel adaptations check out the Classics Illustrated Series which adapted Alice in Wonderland in issue #49 and Through The Looking-Glass in Issue #147.  Other works adapted include everything from The War of the Worlds to Les Miserables.

Alice In Wonderland – 1933

The 1933 live-action fantasy features Silver Screen icons including Cary Grant, Gary Cooper, and W.C. Fields.

Alice in Wonderland – 2014

For a more recent live-action version, check out this film with Whoopi Goldberg as the Cheshire Cat and Martin Short as the Mad Hatter.

Alice in Wonderland – 1995

For those looking for a fun animated version for the children, check out this 1995 film from Toshiyuki Hiruma Takashi.

Walt Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, Original Soundtrack 

Disney’s was the first version of Alice I encountered and still one of my favorites.  I have many happy memories of bouncing around my parent’s living room with my sister as we played the soundtrack to the film again and again.  Now I can share “The Unbirthday Song” with my own little one.

Alice in Wonderland, Soundtrack of music by Danny Elfman 

I recently was lucky enough to see Danny Elfman’s Music from the Films of Tim Burton when it was being performed at Lincoln Center.  It is hard to think of Burton’s films without having Elfman’s music playing in your head and his signature style is a perfect match for Wonderland.  Currently Elfman is at work on the soundtrack for the film’s sequel.  Written to accompany ballet, Herbert Baumann: Alice In Wonderland is another auditory interpretation of Carroll’s classic work available on Hoopla.

SplinteredAudiobook by A. G. Howard

Sixteen year old Alyssa is a descendant of Alice Liddell.  Her mom has been institutionalized and she herself is struggling with hearing flowers speaking to her.  When she finds her way to Wonderland she must question everything she knows.  Also available are the next two audiobooks in the series: Ensnared and Unhinged.  They are recommended by School Library Journal for grades 8 and up.

Death Of A Mad Hatter, Audiobook by Jenn McKinlay 

This cozy mystery features two cousins who own a ladies’ hat shop who must create the perfect chapeaus for an Alice in Wonderland-themed fundraiser tea party.  When a hat they created has traces of poison used to kill one of the party’s hosts, the ladies must don their thinking caps.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

Humor with Bite: Housewitch, Mermaids in Paradise, and The Grendel Affair

8 Jul

The following stories all have varying elements of urban fantasy and wit including a satire of mean moms who are real witches, a honeymoon hijacked by tropical mermaids that slyly harpoons the American dream, and the slapstick humor of monster hunters who find out that an epic literary legend is real.

Mermaids in Paradise by Lydia Millet

Mermaids in Paradise by Pulitzer finalist Lydia Millet defies easy classification.  The mermaids of the title make a splash briefly, but the existence of the supernatural is more a trigger for the novel’s drama than a focus as in a typical Urban Fantasy genre work (for that you can check out Mary Janice Davidson’s Fred the Mermaid series).  Also added to the mix is mystery, romance, espionage, and action.  What holds all these elements together is the caustic wit of Deb whose honeymoon with her new husband, Chip, doesn’t go as planned when mermaids are spotted on a snorkeling trip.  The book satirizes everything from upper middle class privilege, environmentalism, political correctness, relationships, and more.  Along with Deb and Chip there are a cast of quirky characters that Deb describes in biting detail.  I wasn’t expecting the ending, but as with many twists the plot took, I felt that the surprising conclusion still felt organic to the work and added a poignancy to Deb’s sometimes superficiality.

Housewitch by Katie Schickel

Allison Darling is a witch, a secret she has kept and tried to ignore since she was abandoned by her mother as a child.  She feels like an outsider in the wealthy town where she lives and never quite fit in with the Glamour Girls, the cool moms in town, until one day her magic begins to manifest whether she wants it to or not.  When her mother passes away, Allison must confront not only her past, but that of her heritage to create a safe and better future for herself and her kids.  Housewitch at times felt like two novels in one; parts felt like a humorous take on the Mommy Wars with magic thrown in to add an air of absurdity to conflicts over things like children competing in a Science Fair and at other times it felt more of a straight urban fantasy with elements of a powerful evil witch and the use of classic nursery rhymes as spells.  For me the humorous parts were stronger elements and I would love to see Schickel focus on this more in her future books since I felt she had a keen eye for satire.

The Grendel Affair by Lisa Shearin

Of the three books on the list, The Grendel Affair is the most typical of the Urban Fantasy Genre.  Fans of Seanan McGuire’s InCryptid series or Men in Black, will want to check out Shearin’s humorous tale about the SPI (Supernatural Protection Investigations), who keep the monsters in check in Manhattan.  New agent Makeena Fraser can see through any spell or disguise so knows supernatural creatures from werewolves to vampires for their true nature.  She and her partner must prevent descendants of Beowulf’s Grendel from ruining New Year’s Eve in Time Square and revealing the existence of monsters to an unsuspecting world.  Fraser is spunky, but gets herself into a variety of quirky situations along the way to solving the case.  The series starts off with the Fraser already working for the agency and throws the reader right into the action.  The next in the SPI series, The Dragon Conspiracy is also available and is set at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

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