Monday, August 10, 2015

BUCKET LIST UPDATE No. 229: Read “The Wizard of Oz” by Lyman Frank Baum

Thanks to the 1939 movie, “The Wizard of Oz,” just about everyone knows the story of “The Wizard of Oz.” This classic movie is based on the 1900 novel by L. Frank Baum titled “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” Like most folks, I’ve seen this movie a dozen times, and I’ve know about the Baum novel for years, but for whatever reason I’d never taken the time to actually read it, which is why I put it on my “bucket list” several years ago.

A few months ago, I found myself in the Ol’ Curiosities & Book Shoppe in Monroeville and came across an inexpensive copy of Baum’s original novel. I bought it, carried it home, and it sat on a book shelf for the next few weeks and weeks. I decided to read it over the weekend, started it on Saturday and finally finished it on Sunday night.

The edition that I read was the Collins Classics paperback edition, which was published in 2010. This unabridged addition is 178 pages long, so it was a pretty quick read. It probably took me a grand total of four to five hours to read it.

Fans of “The Wizard of Oz” movie be warned. The novel is very different from the book. In a way, it sort of reminded me of the way that the “Lord of the Rings” novels are different from “The Lord of the Rings” movies. There’s a lot left out, including entire characters and scenes.

That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the novel. Having now read it, I can see why it has such enduring popularity, especially among young readers. Much like Lewis Carrol’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” Baum’s novel is full of colorful characters, bizarre settings and surreal situations.

In the introduction, I was interested to read that Baum wrote 13 sequels to “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” Those books are as follows “The Marvelous Land of Oz” (1904), “Ozma of Oz” (1907), “Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz” (1908), “The Road to Oz” (1909), “The Emerald City of Oz” (1910), “The Patchwork Girl of Oz” (1913), “Tik-Tok of Oz” (1914), “The Scarecrow of Oz” (1915), “Rinkitink in Oz” (1916), “The Lost Princess of Oz” (1917), “The Tin Woodman of Oz” (1918), “The Magic of Oz” (1919) and “Glinda of Oz” (1920). I was honestly unaware of these books, but if they are as good as the original novel, then they’re pretty good.

Of course, if you’re a fan of the 1939 movie and of Baum’s novel, I highly recommend that you also investigate the urban legend about the movie and its supposed connection with the famous Pink Floyd album, “Dark Side of the Moon.” For more information about this, visit

In the end, how many of you have ever read “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum? What did you think about it? Have you read any of the sequels? What other books did it remind you of? Let us know in the comments section below.

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