For week 30, I read L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (PG free copy). This is one of the first books I picked up from Project Gutenberg. If you weren’t aware, it’s kind of hard to get any copies of Baum’s books, because they have been out of print for years. Years and years. My mom remembers reading them as a kid, and she loved them as much as thousands of others did. I never read them, myself; no one had any copies. Happily, Project Gutenberg has them all (I think? If not all of them, nearly all of them), and a few of the copies even have illustrations. Keep in mind that the illustrations are also subject to copyright, just like the stories themselves; in some cases they are public domain, but it’s always a case-by-case basis. Most of the e-book versions do not have illustrations. I understand the illustrations are great, but it is what it is.
Reading these books as an adult is different from hearing them (or reading them) as a child, I imagine. We have been reading these books to the kids at bedtime, and one major difference that is obvious to me is that the kids frequently fall asleep before the chapter is finished. Now, we try to go back the following night to when we think they were awake, but on this first reading, the kids’ understanding of the story is choppy at best. The vocabulary and phrasing are archaic to them, though I can understand it just fine, but it may cause some comprehension problems.
The style itself is far more like an old-school fairy tale than I thought it would be, having been rather misled by the movie. I enjoyed it though, and I’m glad I read it. I have all the others downloaded onto my Nook already, just waiting their turn. It’s a quick read, too, and makes me think that maybe I shouldn’t count each one as a book for purposes of the challenge, as they are quite short. An adult could easily get through one in a day; obviously, the page numbers are going to differ depending on what edition you have.
It’s a classic. You should read it too, whether or not you have children.