This week Francesca has chosen three books in which animals figure prominently, at different levels of seriousness:
Although everyone seems to know the story, or think they do, Francesca is astonished by the number of otherwise educated people who have never actually read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Come, come, now, it costs less than $4, will take you one afternoon to read, and is highly entertaining. And then you can say that you have actually read it. It is about time, don’t you think? Just follow the white rabbit . . .
Speaking of rabbits, if you like epic adventure stories, Francesca must recommend Watership Down. Yes, yes, it looks like it’s a book about rabbits. However! In actuality this a gripping tale about a small group of adventurers who, for various reasons, leave their home and set out to found a new kind of society. Along the way we, the readers, are given much food for thought about teamwork, environmentalism, religion, even fascism. Francesca has read her copy so many times that it is falling apart. She has cross-referenced all the many examples of foreshadowing and metaphor. It is. a. great. book.
Finally, we turn to non-fiction. The book Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World just goes to show that if researched deeply enough, and if explained compellingly enough, any topic, even a type of fish, can be shown to be fascinating. As stated on the back cover about cod, “Wars have been fought over it, revolutions have been spurred by it, national diets have been based on it, economics have depended on it, and the settlement of North America was driven by it . . . Cod is a charming tour of history with all its economic forces laid bare and a fish story embellished with great gastronomic detail . . . . ” The book is not long, but it delights Francesca in its ability to make a mundane topic so assuredly important. And there are old, old recipes! Calling Manolo’s Food Blog!
**Plumcake would like to note that her nom de plume stems almost directly from a certain passage in Chapter 7 of Alice Through the Looking Glass wherein the Lion and the Unicorn (who were fighting for the crown donchaknow) took a break. The lion expressed curiosity regarding the nature of Alice.
The Lion looked at Alice wearily. `Are you animal — vegetable — or mineral?’ he said, yawning at every other word.
It’s a fabulous monster!’ the Unicorn cried out, before Alice could reply.
`Then hand round the plum-cake, Monster,” the Lion said, lying down and putting his chin on this paws.