Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Phantom Tollbooth

This is a book that I've wanted to read for several years, ever since a fellow I quite liked on alt.books.dean-koontz talked it up. However, I couldn't find it in the local bookstores and just never thought to order it online. Happily, I found it last weekend. At Wal-Mart, of all places.

This book is compared very favorably to Alice In Wonderland, and I think this is an apt comparison. Both books have have story lines full of absurdities and are filled with puns and wordplay. They are both also very much of their times. Alice reflects Victorian England, and Tollbooth is an artifact of 1960s America. It's been too long since I read Alice to comment on it in any detail, but I can say that Tollbooth made me smile, made me laugh, and made me think.

This book is as much a reflection on the importance of knowledge and its acquisition as it is a delight to read. It speaks to a need for looking at the world with fresh wonder and not getting bogged down in the inconsequential, of Wisdom requiring Rhyme and Reason.

This quote sums up what this gem of a book means to me: And remember, also, that many places you would like to see are just off the map and many things you want to know are just out of sight or a little beyond your reach. But someday you'll reach them all, for what you learn today, for no reason at all, will help you discover all the wonderful secrets of tomorrow.

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