Saturday, April 26, 2008

My latest Oz readings

Yup, a few more goodies to talk about. So let's jump right in:

  • A Feast of Crime, a collection of mystery novellas all centered around food. The final entry in the collection, "Tori Miracle and the Turkey of Doom" by Valerie S. Malmont, takes place at an Oz convention at an isolated Pennsylvania resort. Lots of inside tidbits for Oz fans in this one, including mention of the International Wizard of Oz Club and the Munchkin Convention (back when it was still in nearby Harrisburg). Those annoyed at movie-only Oz references should be particularly pleased. It's a slight little tale, but a lot of fun for an Oz fan to read. The rest of the book is good, too, and some of the stories (including "Turkey of Doom") even include recipes.
  • Dorothy of Oz, Volume 2, by Son Hee-Joon. This continuation of the Korean manwha series picks up with Mara-Shin still trying to figure out how she got from Seoul to Oz, and picking up some magic powers along the way. If you read volume 1 and were confused by it jumping in at the middle, you may want to try volume 2, as there's also a flashback to how it all began. It looks like that flashback will continue in volume 3, as this volume ends with Mara-Shin meeting the Huhsuabee (Scarecrow).
  • The Fantasy Tradition in American Literature: From Irving to Le Guin by Brian Attebery. I've known about this book for a long time — it came out in 1980 — but this was my first chance to actually read it. It's an interesting look at how fantasy has developed and evolved in American literature. While I got it mainly for the chapter on L. Frank Baum and Oz, the examination of what came before and influenced Baum, and how he in turn influenced others, puts it all in a much bigger and more complex picture. Besides, Washington Irving, Baum, and Ursula K. Le Guin, other big names touched upon include Lloyd Alexander, Peter Beagle, Ray Bradbury, Edward Eager, Nathaniel Hawthorne, H. P. Lovecraft, Herman Melville, Andre Norton, Edgar Allan Poe, Howard Pyle, and James Thurber.
  • Journey to the Emerald City by Roger Connors and Tom Smith. I'm always amused at these kinds of books, that use The Wizard of Oz as a metaphor to explain whatever ideas the author wants to get across. This one is actually a sequel, to The Oz Principle, and uses Oz (vaguely) to explain how to implement a "culture of accountability" in the workplace. Not my field, but I did get a few good ideas out of it that I may use some of their ideas.
  • Lost Girls by Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie. Please heed this warning: If you are underage, offended by nudity or sexuality, or want your Oz to adhere to some sanitized standard, DO NOT GET THIS COLLECTION! Author Alan Moore is not kidding when he unapologetically calls this trilogy pornography. He is not kidding! Alice, Wendy, and Dorothy meet in an Austrian resort hotel on the eve of World War I, where they all share their stories. The classic stories we all know them for turn out to be metaphors for sexual awakening. Definitely not for the purist! But if you are open to such a different interpretation of The Wizard of Oz (and, for that matter, Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan), you may enjoy this story, and Gebbie's rich artwork. But if you read this and are in the least bit offended, please don't blame me, as I believe I've given sufficient warning.

And that's it for this month. My pile of unread Oz books is actually starting to get short again, and I may have to stock up again soon.

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