Many of us came across our favorite book serendipitously. No surprise: it’s easiest to be completely blown away by a work of art or literature when you approach it without any pre-existing expectations. For BoingBoing’s Cory Doctorow, that book was Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland. Doctorow, now a prominent author, journalist, and technology activist, first came across Carroll’s tale of a young girl who falls down a rabbit hole in 1978:
“In 1978, I walked into my Crestview Public School grade two classroom in Willowdale, a suburb of Toronto, and, on the spur of the moment, took Alice in Wonderland off the shelf. My teacher was Bev Pannikkar, who had the amazing empathy and good sense to let me be after I hunkered down behind the low bookshelf and started reading. I spent the entire day back there, reading. I never stopped.
Today, I am married to a woman named Alice.”
Below, we’ve included Doctorow’s loving rendition of one of his most beloved books, which he dedicates to “his Alice.” Being a staunch opponent of copyright laws that so often stifle innovation, Doctorow has made the recording, which took place in his office, available for free. You can stream it below, or download it at Archive.org.
If you’re looking for a version with a few more bells and whistles with regards to production value, we’ve included a 1996 audio version of the book, below. This one is narrated by Susan Jameson and James Saxon, two actors and veteran audiobook readers, who do a wonderful job of injecting the story’s tongue-in-cheek humor into the recording.