I first read this book when in highschool, and had only vague memories of it, so when I spotted it in friend’s book collection while housesitting I was curious to read it again. Turns out, I also forgot what a slab this book was – my friend’s deceptively small edition stood at mammoth 1,000 pages. That’s a long time to spend on one book, but overall it was worth the re-read.
The full title of the book is Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, and it’s less of a prequel and more like a complete re-imagining of the world known from the classic children’s story by L. Frank Baum and the 1939 Wizard of Oz. I wonder if at this point it got overshadowed by the mega-successful musical – I haven’t seen it but I imagine it reworked the hell out of what is ultimately a very pessimistic, even bleak, story.
I’m having a very stressful week at work, so I was up for some total escapism at the movies. The new Cinderella was exactly what the doctor ordered – a total fantasy where everything looks impossibly beautiful and good people live happily ever after. Though, it must be said, it was quite heavy on death too. Dead parents are, of course, a Disney staple, but this movie had not one, not two, but three parent deaths. Sheesh!
1. Behemoth (The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov)
This list is not really in an order of preference, but Behemoth is probably my favourite fictional cat, and not just because I’ve read this book about 50 times over, in both Russian and English. He’s an enormous black cat who accompanies Satan on his visit to Soviet Moscow in the 1930s, and provides some of the novel’s best humourous passages. He walks on two legs, has a fondness for sarcasm, pistols and vodka, but is polite enough to offer to pay for the tram ride. What’s not to love?