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Books Read, Not Necessarily Well

Since May of 2010 I've written something about every book I've read.


Everything else, more or less, has made it on here, too.

Currently reading

The Big Book of Science Fiction
Jeff VanderMeer, Ann VanderMeer
Progress: 76/1216 pages
A Modern Comedy
John Galsworthy
Progress: 309/862 pages
Mrs. Dalloway
Virginia Woolf
Masters Mashups:: From Shakespeare to Stephen King (Masters Mashups Series)
Melissa G. Wilson
Dragons of Eberron
Amber Scott, M. Alexander Jurkat, Nicolas Logue, Scott Fitzgerald Gray, Keith Baker
Progress: 21/160 pages
Sharn: City of Towers
James Wyatt, Keith Baker
Out of the Past: Gay and Lesbian History from 1869 to the Present
Neil Miller
Progress: 225/408 pages

Rinkitink in OZ

Rinkitink in OZ - L. Frank Baum After months of bitter abuse on my part, Baum has finally gotten my eyes to open on the kind of wonder he is capable of. Rinkitink in Oz did not start out well, I despised the jolly fat king from the start. His bitter steed, the talking goat Bilbil, was cold comfort. On the other hand there was life in this story. Prince Inga is living an idyllic life with his parents in their prosperous island kingdom until shortly after a visit from King Rinkitink they are invaded and conquered by a warrior kingdom that the peaceful folk of Pingaree couldn't withstand. The invaders have torn down every building, uprooted every crop, but they fail to capture Prince Inga, King Rinkitink and the surly Bilbil. With only the aid of three magic pearls, a family heirloom, Inga must find a way to find his parents and free his people.

Taking place outside of the boundaries of fairyland, death can actually occur, so there is already an edge of danger to the adventure. The magic pearls provide all of the power and protection and wisdom the Prince needs, but their nature allows Baum to dispense with them where needed which keeps the action interesting. The only issue is that inevitably Oz must come into the picture, but unlike in The Scarecrow of Oz where Glinda dispatches the Scarecrow with some actual help and authority, backhanded aid comes from Oz simply because Dorothy felt like it at the time. Our erstwhile heroes, in the end, were deprived of their chance to triumph in their own adventure. Inga could have done it if he'd just been given a chance.

Frustrating as the end was, I can't go on being so disagreeable about these books considering I have four or five more to go before I can walk away a free man. Baum had a story that carried itself all the way through with bits of Edwardian slapstick and rhyme humor, adversity overcome and surprising turns. This was a book that Baum was happy to be writing. Until he had to slap the word Oz on the cover and dispatch a farm girl and a basket of eggs to sweep away any progress the story had made towards a satisfying conclusion. So I'm pretending that never happened and rating the book as well-liked. I admit there is irony in complaining about the intrusion of Oz when I'll likely never read any of Baum's non-Oz books, because from the energy that clearly remained in him they wouldn't be a waste of time.