Around the World for a Good Book selection for Switzerland
Author: Peter Stamm
Title: To the Back of Beyond
Translator: Michael Hofmann
Publication Info: New York : Other Press, 
A family returns from a vacation to their home in Switzerland, and after putting their kids to bed, the father and husband Thomas simply walks away from the house leaving his wife Astrid and two children behind. The short novel alternates with scenes of Thomas hiking across the mountains and Astrid trying to continue her life and waiting for his return. This is not the first book I’ve read about a man leaving his family behind which is apparently some male fantasy I don’t share. It’s unclear if this book is intended as an indictment of toxic masculinity or a celebration. This is a well-written book, but not one I can really review because it depresses and infuriates me so much.
Recommended books: The Cold Song by Linn Ullmann and The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna
Title: The Wizard of Oz
Release Date: August 25, 1939
Director: Victor Fleming
Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
I watched this movie for the first time in a long time, and well, it’s basically just as I remembered it, which is a good thing. It’s an adventure, it’s a symbolic journey of self-discovery, it’s a musical, it’s funny, it’s scary. It looks really fake, but to the point that the painted sets and props are weirdly effective works of arts in their own right. I was born long after color film was standard but the transition from the sepia of Kansas to the majestic colors of Oz is still astounding. Watching as an older adult, I am also impressed at how the young Judy Garland handles being central to almost every scene. About the only thing that is not good about this movie is that it’s not a good adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s book which I also love. One day, I’d like to see a faithful film adaptation of the movie made too, but this version will always stand alone as its own great thing.