Mondays are a busy time of the week for me: it is the day on the calendar when life comes rushing in and all the errands and tasks that I put on pause for the weekend start yelling at me to be completed. Which is why I am so. thankful. for audiobooks. Inspired by Frankie at A Thousand Lives I decided to dedicate Mondays on the blog as a day to share and review my recent audiobook reads.
Audiobooks have been a fantastic way to get more reading done in this hectic mama’s life: they are how I wade through the piles of laundry and dirty dishes, the dog walks and the long runs, and the miles on the road chauffeuring my family to various events. Audiobooks allow me to bring literature and books into my every day life while still giving me the freedom to keep the house clean and my life slightly less chaotic. While some may view listening to an audio book as “cheating,” I love how this article dispels those myths and removes the stigma surrounding the audiobook experience as “less than” reading the physical book.
So lets all unite under the ozsomeness that is books and be thankful we live in a time where they are plenty and easily accessible.
Over the past month I was inspired to read The Complete Wizard of Oz Collection: All 22 Stories after my daughter’s ballet recital. With 91 hours of audio over 16 books (Baum wrote fourteen novels and one collection of short stories with an additional fifteenth novel published posthumously) the undertaking proved to be quite a commitment. This series was light and fun, something to be dipped in and out of as I completed tasks or drove around town.
Lyman Frank Baum was a successful businessman turned writer who is reported to have divined inspiration for Oz from a filing cabinet: he was struck by one drawer labeled O-Z. He disliked his first name and preferred to be called Frank, explaining the initials L. Frank Baum on his books.
The series made its debut in 1900 with the publication of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, hands down the most famous of all of Baum’s works. The Oz series is an incredible achievement in that it was one of the first set of fairy tales in children’s literature intended for pure enjoyment. In the author’s note to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Baum reveals that until that point most fairy tales had some sort of moral to them: a lesson to be taken away. Dorothy has also been hailed as a model of feminism in children’s literature: her independence and self-strength was something nearly unheard of for a female character at that time.
I was certainly pleased with the books and happy to cross a major work off of my literary bucket list. The books are written for children and therefore are simple with a fairly straightforward plot (it is Oz after all). The series is full of humor and delightful puns that I made a game of picking out. Reading through the series in one go there were notable inconsistencies from one book to another (a particularly disagreeable glass cat who is colored but then inexplicably reverts back to a glass cat in a later book is one example), but it was easy to overlook those conflicting events for the sake of the series as a whole.
While the plots and themes in the series are in no way remarkable, I think is still worth the read. The Oz series was a major work that changed the scope of children’s literature (Dorothy while being a first for feminism is also one of the first typical American girls in a children’s book) and many things we now take for granted in children’s books are thanks to Baum’s works.
And as always, don’t judge a book by its movie. If you think you know Oz because you’ve seen Judy Garland on the screen as Dorothy (is there really anyone out there who has not seen the film?), you are missing out on so. much. Like silver slippers and crowns (not the iconic ruby red we have come to associate with the shoes), and a mouse queen who did not quite make the director’s cut. If you read none of the other Oz books, I highly recommend the first one at least. Anne Hathaway’s reading is positively brilliant.
My curiosity slipped down the internet yellow brick road while reading this series. Below are links I loved or found fun and informative.
- If you have Amazon Prime, The Wizard of Oz is included in your free video streaming. You’re welcome. Also you can find the Kindle version of the series free through AmazonClassics if audio isn’t your thing.
- If you are looking to learn more about the man behind the curtain, this brief biography on L. Frank Baum is the place to go.
- Did you know in 1928 all public libraries banned the books? Turns out they were scared of a little girl.
- And for those fellow trivia lovers out there: here are twenty little known facts about the book and film.
Questions of the Day:
What book is on your literary bucket list? Oz was a major one that I can check off, as well as the Lord of the Rings books which I am currently working through.