Well, I’m going to be doing something that I imagine few book bloggers ever have: I’m going to read all 14 of L. Frank Baum’s original Oz books, one a month, all the way to the end of 2013.
And we start with the original, and to what to Baum was always intended to be the only. Instead of picking up any old copy of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, I found an awesome edition of the book at the local library calledThe Annotated Wizard of Oz, which has the complete text, as well as hundreds of pages of trivia, biographies, funny anecdotes, and more. I devoured this 400-page book in about five days and loved every second of it. The book starts with about 100 pages on Baum’s history, and how he came to write Oz, and its thirteen sequels. I was unaware that Baum had been publishing multiple books throughout the years before Oz came along, including 55 novels, 83 short stories, over 200 poems, and more. Even after writing The Wizard of Oz, he set out to redefine himself with other works of fantasy for children, all works that have been forgotten today. He didn’t want or need to write a second Oz book; he only did so when he was inundated with letters from children who demanded he write a sequel. All these years later, we can be glad he did, because these books are pure magic, and I’m excited to dig through this series, which includes at least 8 or 9 books I’ve never picked up before.
With my newest YA novel at the forefront of my mind, and with all of these Oz books to read, and with the awesome-looking Sam Raimi film opening in March, my life right now is consumed with Oz! And I couldn’t be happier. Check back next month for a look at the 1904 sequel, The Marvelous Land of Oz!