Out of Oz

I was older when I discovered the magic of The Wizard of Oz. I don’t think I watched it for the first time until I was nearly 20. Obviously once I gave it a chance, I fell in love with it. From there, reading Gregory Maguire’s Wicked seemed like a natural progression.

I loved it.

Then the musical came out and I got the chance to see it. In London. I just about died. A production recently toured in my neck of the woods and I took my mom to see it.

I listen to the soundtrack all the time. You might say I’m obsessed and you wouldn’t be too far off.

After Wicked, I read Son of a Witch and A Lion Among Men and was just waiting for the final installment to be released in paperback. Out of Oz was finally in paperback and I finally read it.

And I did not like it.

I’m not sure if it had been too long since I’d visited Oz and so the politics of the world were now completely over my head? It totally could be that.

I definitely enjoyed some parts of it. Maguire’s Glinda always makes me laugh and this time was no exception. I enjoyed his characterization of the now 16-year-old Dorothy and the A Little Princess-esque time when Rain (Elphaba’s granddaughter) is at boarding school.

But the politics of Oz overshadowed everything and the characters, beaten low by years of oppression didn’t have any spark left. Rain, abandoned by her parents, left to shift for herself and ultimately semi-responsible for how things are supposed to turn out, is a bit of an anti-heroine. But not in an ass-kicking way, in a kind of I-don’t-really-care-what-happens kind of way. Which is hard to get behind.

And the ending. Probably best not to get me started on the ending – actually I’m not really sure what I would even say since I still don’t even get it.

So that’s how that ended for me: disappointment.


On The Shelf

For Christmas I got a whack of gift certificates to my book store of choice and despite having several books already awaiting my attention on my bookshelves, I decided not to wait to use them.

It was such a satisfying trip. I could buy pretty much whatever I wanted. The freedom!

OK but actually it was really hard. Anyone that’s ever had a glimpse at my To Read list (I carry a version around with me. It’s ok, you can mock me) will know that this was a lot more difficult than it should have been.

After the initial wave of sheer joy washed over me, I realized that I would never be able to buy all the books that I wanted. But I did my best. I decided to put together a list of some of the books that I bought (a couple I’ve already read: At Home and The Virgin Suicides) as well as some of the other books that are already sitting on my shelf waiting for me to love them. Some of them have waited a long time.

Far From The Tree by Adam Solomon. I am so excited to read this book. I’ve read a few articles about it (like this one) but in a nutshell it’s about parenting the children that aren’t exactly like us. That’s a really terrible nutshell. Let’s just say that I ran across it, read the first line and knew that I needed to read it. I don’t even have kids!

The Hidden Child by Camilla Lackberg. I don’t think I need to explain myself here. This is book 5 in the Fjallbacka trilogy I keep going on about. I think we’re finally going to get more Erika Falck after she was sidelined having a fictional baby! Not that I don’t love Patrik Hedstrom, I totally do. I just missed Erika’s take on things.

Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens. Seems a crime to leave a Dickens sitting on the shelf doesn’t it? But this one has been waiting a while. Very possibly since 2011. I always mean to grab it. And then I don’t. But since reading this I’ve decided that I really do need more classics in my life and if Dickens doesn’t fit that bill, what does?

The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton. I read The Age of Innocence last year (first Pullitzer won by a woman what!) and I loved it so much (seriously, such a great story) that I thought I should read some more. The House of Mirth is my next choice. It also fits in very nicely with my ‘classics’ reading.

Out of Oz by Gregory Maguire. Are you obsessed by Wicked: The Musical? You are right? Who isn’t! Have you read the book? Such a great twist on a classic. And then there was Son of a Witch (great title), and A Lion Among Men. Now finally: the conclusion. I waited and waited for this to come out in paperback and then it did and I bought it and now it’s been waiting while I got distracted by other shiny reads.

Onwards: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life Without Losing Its Soul by Howard Schultz. I am a Starbucks addict. I’ve been trying to cut back. It’s not easy. You know why? Because when I go to ‘my’ Starbucks they are really happy to see me, they know my name and my drink. It’s hard to walk away from that. How did they do that? There’s a book that has the answers!

There you have it. A list of some of the books waiting for me to love them. What do you have waiting on your bookshelf?


No Thanks Required

There are so many good things about fall. When I was still in school it meant brand new notebooks and pens and clothes. It still means crisp autumn sunshine and cozy fall sweaters. Its an excuse to break out those boots that have been languishing in your closet all summer.

And it means new fall titles.

You’ve seen the bookstores clearing out their titles, to make room for all the new, life changing books that will be filling the shelves in the coming weeks. You may have found some good deals. I know I have. I found a $150 Atlas for $20. A $75 book on life under the Third Reich for $12 and the complete works of Shakespeare in 3 hardcover volumes (conveniently divided into his comedies, tragedies and sonnets) for just $25! My biggest problem has become how to better organize all my lovelies to show them off the best advantage.

But I digress. Earlier today I had some time to kill and wandered over to Chapters.ca to mine for new reads to add to the ever growing list (currently stands at 3 pages). I should probably come up with a more original way of finding new reads but have you ever taken a look at Heather’s Picks? That woman, aside from having the best job in the world, has flawless taste. I know it’s part of the marketing strategy but honestly, she will never steer you wrong.

I was scrolling through the upcoming releases and I got really excited. I find that, because literary genius takes a while to ferment, it’s impossible to come up with any kind of timeline for when your favourite authors might come out with a new title. These aren’t movies with fancy trailers after all. So I found that I was pleasantly surprised, delighted even, to find that the following titles would be coming out soon. Keep in mind that I haven’t read any of them. But keep reading to find out why I’m excited.

The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay. Did you read The Birth House? If you have, you know why I’m excited about this – I read that in one sitting. I could not put it down. I don’t even know how long The Birth House has been out, but I feel like I didn’t even know that I was waiting for Ami McKay to release a second book! Serendipitously it was released today. I should probably wait until I have made a little more headway through the books that I still have to read but I might not be able to help myself!

Out of Oz: The Final Volume in the Wicked Series by Gregory Maguire. Maguire was able to take a well-loved story and turn it on it’s head. Maybe the Wicked Witch was just perceived to be terrible when she was actually fighting against the oppressive tyranny of the Wizard! Intriguing no? Maguire hasn’t only done this with Dorothy and the Wicked Witch either – he made Cinderella’s stepsisters seem human and painted Snow White in a rather unflattering light. I’m excited at the chance to return to Oz and see how this all turns out. It’s out November 1st.

A more recent obsession of mine comes from the fantastic genius of Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce series. The 4th in the series (six are promised), I Am Half-Sick of Shadows, is set to be released shortly (November 1st to be exact). Flavia de Luce has been described as Harriet the Spy meets Lemony Snicket and I can’t think of a better way to put it myself. Murder, chemistry, a run-down English manor, a distant father, horrible sisters- what’s not to love? I haven’t read the 3rd title yet (A Red Herring Without Mustard) but I may just have to double up like I did with the first two and do a back-to-back mini marathon.

When you’re cuddled up on the couch with one of these and a blanket you can send me a thank you. Enjoy!