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Posted at 12:50 PM ET, 12/19/2007

'Lost' Book Club: 'Through the Looking Glass'

By Liz Kelly

An image from 'Through the Looking Glass.'

All the world's a stage, for sure, and the people in it merely players. When it comes to "Lost," there may be more to that idea than SAG cards and camera-ready smiles. While we've been distracted by pretty faces, smoke monsters and some of the best dialogue on TV, "Lost's" main characters have been sliding in and out of precise positions -- think chess board here -- in what is building up to (we hope) one hell of an endgame.

But who is the pawn and who the prime mover?

This month's selection -- the final book we'll be reading in the "Lost" Book Club discussion series -- also draws heavily on chess imagery ... and we all know how much John Locke loves his chess. Like last month's selection ("A Wrinkle in Time"), it also takes our understanding of time and turns it on its head, with the notion of a chronological progression exploded by a timeline that moves backward.

What book is so vital to the understanding of "Lost" that we've saved it for last? Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking Glass," of course. It's so important that last season's finale -- the episode that introduced the first flash forward -- was titled after it.

Why It Matters
Beyond the homage in last season's closer, one of the Dharma Initiative's stations -- the underwater location where Charlie ended his life -- is also called The Looking Glass. The concept of time moving backward may also relate directly to Desmond's hints that he experiences time either backward or (as in "Watchmen") all at once. The mysterious Jabberwocky that Alice learns about in the story just may be connected to the ever-elusive smoke monster that snuffed out poor Mr. Eko. And, just a hunch, but it probably isn't possible to overprepare for the time-shifting bound to take place on future episodes. We need all the help we can get. (Jen also thinks that Tweedledum and Tweedledee are the not-so-distant cousins of Nikki and Paolo. But more on that at a later time.)

Why You Should Read It:
Like "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," the story that preceded Carroll's "Looking Glass" sequel, this is a well-told tale that makes as fantastic a read now as it did back in 1871, when it was first published. "Wonderland" and "Looking Glass" tend to get mashed-up in the public's mind; together they have influenced an infinite number of artistic and pop-culture creations, from several Beatles songs to the Disney movie to this awesome video from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Also, we suspect Carroll was either high or at least way loopy when he wrote this. And that would explain a lot.

So, happy new year. Get reading -- we'll be back to discuss it on Wednesday, Jan. 30 at Noon ET. Which just happens to be the day before "Lost" returns -- yes, as you may have read, it's moving to Thursdays, starting Jan. 31.

-- Jen and Liz

By Liz Kelly  | December 19, 2007; 12:50 PM ET
Categories:  Lost  
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Remember, Some are Boojums...

Posted by: wiredog | December 19, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought--
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

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"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
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He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Posted by: wiredog | December 19, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Lewis Carroll was the pen name of a mathematician named Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. This is why there are so many logical puzzles and the like in the book. It's a great read, and, as has been said, is only a children's book if you happen to be a child.

Posted by: Kly | December 19, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Yay! One of my favorite books. I will be perusing my copy of The Annotated Alice in preparation.

Posted by: julia | December 19, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

I wrote my high school senior thesis on Lewis Carroll - long, long ago. I don't normally get to engage in the book club chats, but I may just read it again for the sheer joy of it.

And there seems to be somewhat less adolecent angst on the book club page than on the Jamie Lynn Spears page. It seems more quiet here, somehow.

Posted by: sunnydaze | December 19, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Maybe we should discuss Jamie Lynn Spears over here where it's quiet. How bout that Spears family, huh?

Posted by: h3 | December 19, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Bite your tongue, h3!

Posted by: Liz | December 19, 2007 7:01 PM | Report abuse

I don't watch Lost, but I love the Alice books. Mostly because Charles Dodgson was such a creepy proto-pedophile and I like to read into the subtext. That may have been oversharing.

And visit my blog about Very Special Episodes of tweener shows.

I suggest how to write Jamie Lynn's pregnancy into Zoey 101.

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