We all have trapdoors in our lives. Sometimes we jump off just in time: we defuse an argument with a joke; we swerve to prevent a traffic accident. But sometimes we are unlucky enough to be on the trapdoor when the lever is pulled. My own trapdoor was hidden in the consulting room of an Oxford neurologist. When the trapdoor opened for Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, he plummeted into a world of MRI scans, a disobedient body and the crushing unpredictability of a multiple sclerosis diagnosis. But, like Alice tumbling into Wonderland, his fall did something else. It took him deep into his own mind: his hopes, his fears, his loves and losses - and the books that would sustain, inform and nourish him as his life began to transform in ways he could never have imagined.