Saturday, October 29, 2005

My latest Oz readings

Currently, I'm trying to get through Land of Desire: Merchants, Power, and the Rise of a New American Culture, which is a fascinating look at the development of the department store and other modern mercandising, and how they affected our culture. Yes, believe it or not, this is Oz related, as L. Frank Baum was a big part of it. He had a big hand in creating the modern show window, and even founded a magazine for window decorators -- which is still in production, believe it or not. (As a side note: I wish someone would reprint Baum's book on the subject, The Art of Decorating Dry Goods Windows and Interiors. It would be a fascinating read.) There's also a part of the book coming up about how The Wonderful Wizard of Oz itself helped influence this as well. It's an interesting book, and a part of American history that is rarely talked about or studied, but it's also a tough slog to get through, as the author is very thorough.

So tonight, for a break, I read L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz: The Graphic Novel by Michael Cavallaro. It's a very good adaptation, based very closely on the book. The Kalidahs, Hammerheads, and Queen of the Field Mice are there, and he even sneaks in a redrawn version of the map of Oz from the endpapers of Tik-Tok of Oz. Yeah, he definitely did his research. A few incidents were left out, notably the China Country, but overall he captured the spirit and feeling of the book. And it made for a nice quick read as well. Most Oz fans would probably get a kick out of it.

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