Catherine Stine's IDEA CITY

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Book that Inspires Me Most! For the Blog-A-Licious Tour

I’ve been invited by the amazing Pandora Poikilos to post on “The Book that Most Inspired Me” Blog-A-Licious Blog Tour. Join us in the hop that connects bloggers of all genres, backgrounds and locations and share with us all the book that inspires you the most too! For me, without a doubt it is Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

One Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll, born in England in 1842, wrote a book for Alice Liddell, the daughter of the head of Christ Church. He'd often told her the story of the girl plunging down the rabbit hole, and she asked him to please, please, please write it down for her.

Who can forget his spectacular characters: the Mad Hatter, the Red Queen, the March Hare, the Rock Lobster, the Caterpillar with his hookah and the sleepy dormouse? Alice’s entry into the eensy, weensy door that gained her entry into a magical world inspired not only my imagination, but seemingly many authors who designed similar magic portals in their novels: the wardrobe of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Magic Treehouse series, and the list goes on. Who can forget Carroll's wondrous inventions such as the “Drink Me” bottle, or events like the Mad Tea Party, where the guests simply moved ‘round the table when their teacups became dirty?

A bright idea came into Alice's head. `Is that the reason so many tea-things are put out here?' she asked.

`Yes, that's it,' said the Hatter with a sigh: `it's always tea-time, and we've no time to wash the things between whiles.'

`Then you keep moving round, I suppose?' said Alice.

`Exactly so,' said the Hatter: `as the things get used up.'

`But what happens when you come to the beginning again?' Alice ventured to ask.

`Suppose we change the subject!' the March Hare interrupted.”

And who can forget the Gryphon teaching Alice the lines, 
“'Tis the voice of the Lobster; I heard him declare, 
You have baked me too brown, I must sugar my hair."
As a duck with its eyelids, so he with his nose, trims his belt and his buttons, and turns out his toes.”

Even the great Russian novelist, Nabokov was inspired by the wordplay and logic games of Carroll. Read Nabokov’s Pale Fire and this is quite evident. It is is a fictional 99-line poem being edited and critiqued by an ineffectual, pompous fictional editor. Nabokov's abundance of wordplay and hilarious absurdity is an obvious mirror to Carroll’s work.

The “curiouser and curiouser” Lewis Carroll also gave me the 
courage to know that I could do two things at once: 
be a serious visual artist and author. The man was 
multitalented. Not only the author of brilliant children’s
literature, he was a math professor at Oxford, an author of logic 
and math textbooks as well as political essays. He was 
also a respected photographer. He even coined 
words. Chortle, a nonsense word in his poem Jabberwocky, 
which was a combination of snort and chuckle, eventually 
made it into the dictionary! He even drew the original 
illustrations, which one can see at the 
British Museum (see image above).
Whenever and whatever I write, I think of Lewis Carroll; 
his unbounded imagination and his joy in playing with 
people’s minds in the best sense of the term. 
He will forever be my mentor.
And now, dear folks, I encourage you to visit the 
Blog-A-Licious blogger who precedes mine, 
Hannah Wept, Sarah Laughed, and and the awesome 
bloggers, Back of the Book Reviews. 
Here's the total list: 1. Roy, 2. Sulekha, 3. Dora, 
4, Shaeeza, 5. Mari, 6. Paula, 7. Karen, 8. Keiko, 
9. Mine--you're here!, 10. Kate & Ashley, 
11. Desiree, 12. Sonia, 13. DK Levick, 
14. Sarcasm Goddess, 15. Tosh, 16. Lucy, 
17. Leo & 18. Dora. 
But before you hop off, please let me know 
what books influenced you the most!!!


  1. A good and wonderful choice. Carroll was amazing! His imagination always inspired me as a child and kept inspiring me as an adult. Delightful post! Inspired me!

  2. Yes, a beautiful story. It would be wonderful to write like Carroll did.

    I can't think of a particular book that influenced me. I wasn't a reader as a kid. Books became interesting for me when I had children and read to them. Dr. Seuss was one of their favorites. I like him too.

  3. Ah, yes, One Fish Two Fish was a big fave of mine!

  4. Great choice Catherine. This story has inspired so much and so many and is truly a wonder. He was a unique individual man in many different ways. and he left a mark upon the world that will never be duplicated. Thank you for sharing

  5. I loved Corduroy. My PB, May the Best Dog Win, was definitely inspired by Don Freeman's beloved bear.

  6. Yes and Don was a fabulous illustrator as well.

  7. Catherine, that is the book that most inspired me too! I think it was the first book that interested me enough to read over and over and I still find something different in it every time I read it.

  8. Great choice for the most inspiring book, Lewis Carroll was a master storyteller,Alice did have some fun times!!! thanks for sharing.

  9. Indeed, one of the greatest storytellers ever. Thank you Catherine for joining the blog tour.
    Cheers - Dora

  10. love Carroll work and i try to follow in his work. love word play. good choice thank you for this lovely tour of your blog god bless

  11. He certainly had an imagination...however, this book scared me a little when I was younger!! It'd be interesting to go back and read now and see what I take away from it.

  12. Sarcasm Goddess,
    Oh, do go back and read it. I just read some chapters in prep for this post, and I was laughing my fool head off!

  13. Excellent choice for a favorite as an inspirational title. I still read his work from time to time for a boost in inspiration myself.

  14. There's a reason this book is STILL a bestseller after all these years!

  15. Here from the previous stop on the Blog Tour. I *love* Alice in Wonderland - one of my most favorite books. I enjoy the wordplay and the whimsy, but now as an adult, I can appreciate some of the darker allegory as well. Feel free to swing by Blog #8 on the Tour :)

  16. Oh yes I love this story! I read it again a few years ago just for kicks. So imaginative and inspiring!

  17. Great selection, Catherine, Alice in Wonderland is one of the best! I have to say, Ribsy by B. Cleary, is mine. I still have my first hardcover of Ribsy we bought at a garage sale when I was a kid. I thought it had gotten lost in the shuffle of life. Two years ago, my baby sister gifted me with my copy. She found it in a box of books in our parents' garage. It still has my name written in "bubble" letters on the inside cover. I guess I was about ten or so when I got it. It sits on my bookshelf, and I look at it daily for inspiration for my own writing.

  18. You've picked the book I would have picked, Catherine. I still open the pages and read parts just to remember the excitement I had when I first discovered the book and had such a wonderful time in Alice's world.

  19. You know, I've never read Lewis Carroll. I must change that. I have a similar series on my blog called Books That Inspire. My most revered children's book is A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. It really shaped my ideas about philosophy and God at a very difficult time in my life. I've written a blog about it