I cannot express enough how grateful I am to Alison Menzies for a copy of Literary Wonderlands, edited by Laura Miller, in return for an honest review.
Imaginary worlds have captivated readers since the first works of literature.
Lovingly researched and beautifully produced, Literary Wonderlands explores the timeless, captivating features of literature’s greatest fictional worlds and the minds that created them.
The book is comprised of nearly 100 sections, each of which details the plot of a famous fantasy world, the historical circumstances that surrounded its production, the author’s inspiration, and the place it holds in the public imagination.
Roaming from classic tales including C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia to Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, this truly global collection chronicles over two thousand years of literary creation.
Accompanied by stunning visuals that elucidate the production of each work, Literary Wonderlands is an enchanting read for anyone who has ever been transported to another place through the power of the written word.
My Review of Literary Wonderlands
Literary Wonderlands explores the settings and creation of books spanning 4,000 years.
If you’ve ever read a book of any kind and enjoyed it then Literary Wonderlands is the book for you. It is a stunning book to have. I absolutely love it.
One of the great pleasures of ‘real’ books for me is the presentation. It might sound ridiculous, but Literary Wonderlands appeals to almost all my senses. The quality of the materials here is so lovely to touch with smooth, crisp pages that make the spine give a satisfying creak as they are turned. The book even smells like a book should. However, the real triumph is in the fantastic illustrations. There’s everything from classical art to film stills, author images to book covers that make simply flicking the pages a delight. I was almost tempted to lick it to see if taste was represented too, but stopped short of that!
Sublimely researched, there is an eclectic mix of books to discover and enjoy in Literary Wonderlands. Each entry has detailed information such as the original date of publication, a brief synopsis, something about the author, the book’s impact in society, different versions and representations as well as glorious illustration so that there is so much more to discover and enjoy even for those not especially interested in books themselves.
What I especially enjoyed was plotting my bookish journey in life through the pages of Literary Wonderlands. Books I read as a child like Peter Pan, books I studied at university such as One Hundred years of Solitude and books I have taught to students such as The Time Machine, or enjoyed as an adult like Pullman’s trilogy drew me in and rekindled long forgotten memories.
It’s difficult to express what an outstanding book this is. Opening the pages of Literary Wonderlands makes my heart glad and my soul sing. It’s just perfect and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
About Laura Miller
Laura Miller is currently books and culture columnist at Slate. In 1995, she co-founded Salon.com and worked there as an editor and staff writer for 20 years. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, Harper’s, the Guardian, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal and many other publications, including the New York Times Book Review, where she wrote the Last Word column for two years. She is the editor of The Salon.com Reader’s Guide to Contemporary Authors (Penguin, 2000). She lives in New York.
You can follow Laura Miller on Twitter @magiciansbook.