What books are you currently reading?


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Finally finished Draper's The Roots of American Communism which ends in 1922, three years after the party was founded.

Man, I had forgotten what a bunch of ultraleft sectarians they were.

Anyway, huzzah! that my dry spell has been broken. Am uncertain as to whether I should plow on into volume 2 (Soviet Russia and American Communism) or take a break and read Anderson's The Broken Sword which I broke down and ordered off Amazon a whiles back.

My edition is from '71. Kirth, others, I forget: what's the skinny on the different editions again?


Nonfiction: More stuff about or from post-revolutionary America -- Ethan Allen's Reason: The Only Oracle of Man and Chris Hitchen's biography of Thomas Jefferson.

Fiction: Alexandre Dumas' Louise de la Valliere.


Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
Anderson's The Broken Sword which I broke down and ordered off Amazon a whiles back. My edition is from '71. Kirth, others, I forget: what's the skinny on the different editions again?

The 1954 version is the original, full of doom and gloom and awesomeness. The '71 revision is still fun, but I found it lacking a lot of the punch that the '54 carried. I think you'll still love it, though.

This site carries a pretty good rundown (spoilers, of course).

Liberty's Edge

I've just started on Mistborn: The Final Empire. I'm enjoying it so far, not as much as I enjoyed Name of the Wind, but I don't know that I've enjoyed any book as much as I have that one.


Kirth Gersen wrote:


Fiction: Alexandre Dumas' Louise de la Valliere.

Ooh - not come across that one - any good?


Limeylongears wrote:
Ooh - not come across that one - any good?

It's part of the D'Artagnan Romances:

1. The Three Musketeers
2. Twenty Years After
3. The Victomte de Bragelonne: Ten Years Later, consisting of:
3.(a) "The Vicomte de Bragelonne"
3.(b) "Louise de la Valliere"
3.(c) "The Man in the Iron Mask"

Some editions separate the 3rd adventure into 4 parts instead, with "Ten Years Later" between VdB and LdlV.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8

Zeugma wrote:

@doc the grey:

I got an autographed copy of "A Natural History of Dragons"! I hadn't heard of Marie Brennan before, but she was by far one of the best panelists who spoke at the book fair I attended, so I bought her book figuring someone so well-spoken is bound to be a good writer. It was a delight! I still haven't bought "Tropic of Serpents" but my b-day is approaching so I think I will treat myself to it.

I've been browsing a bunch of the free samples on the Kindle lately. That was one of the ones that seemed most interesting. I think you've sold me on it.


Thanks, Kirth!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

The Edge of the World by Kevin J. Anderson.

The characters are a little boring so far. But I'm going to stick with it. I like the Age of Discovery flavor of what's going on.


I'm rereading the Black Company books and just finished the first trilogy. I'd forgotten how rough each book is towards the end, though you don't expect members of a mercenary band to have fluffy happy endings. I had also forgotten how good Cook's prose is. While Wolfe is the master, Cook's prose is damned good and tight!

Paizo Employee Associate Editor

Tried reading Jeff Vandermeer's Finch, but had to set it down; turns out "fungal steampunk noir," while fascinating, is as gross as it sounds, the women are few and othered, and there's just a LOT of torture.

So, back to Decameron until my next library hold comes in.


Just started and finished Frankenstein. It was a surprisingly quick read with a rather sudden ending. Not sure what to think.

Gosh, I haven't read The Decameron since I was a kid. Wonder if it's on Project Gutenberg.

EDIT: Yup, it sure is.


I was torn whether or not to do The Broken Sword and I couldn't find the next volume of Draper, so instead I started A Study in Scarlet. Which, again, I haven't read in 20 years.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
I was torn whether or not to do The Broken Sword and I couldn't find the next volume of Draper, so instead I started A Study in Scarlet. Which, again, I haven't read in 20 years.

Have you ever checked out A Study in Emerald by Neil Gaiman?


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SmiloDan wrote:
Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
I was torn whether or not to do The Broken Sword and I couldn't find the next volume of Draper, so instead I started A Study in Scarlet. Which, again, I haven't read in 20 years.
Have you ever checked out A Study in Emerald by Neil Gaiman?

It's a brilliant take.


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Reading and transcribing from handwritten notes the history of the church my ex wife's family helped found in the 1920s.


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SmiloDan wrote:
Have you ever checked out A Study in Emerald by Neil Gaiman?

No, I haven't done any Gaiman. I think Kajehase, maybe someone else, publicly scolded me last time I said that.

The snobby completist in me turned up my nose at my cheapo cheapo Anderson find, I tried to restart the second Corum trilogy (interrupted by thieves, dear fans may recall) but the print was real small and it was late at night, and I thought to myself, I've been meaning to re-read all the Sherlock Holmes tales, plus there's lots of the original illustrations from Strand (?) Magazine, so...


Oh yeah, also:

I gave my local NH comrade two hardcover volumes of Elric for Christmas. On the one hand, it's awesome because he LOVES them and is constantly talking about them; on the other it makes our Branch Meetings difficult because he keeps making references to Theleb K'aarna and Hackmeat that the other comrades don't understand.

Also reminds me that I was at the Regional Branch meeting a couple weeks back and I had a couple of hours to kill. A comrade that I hadn't met before and I were chillin' at UMass and he started watching some Noam Chomsky documentary on his smartphone and I was all like "A-ha! I can sneak in some DM prep time" and whipped out From Shore to Sea. My comrades eyes kept looking at the cover and up at me, and all of a sudden Noam's mellifluous voice stopped. Internally, I sighed, turned to him and said "Do you D&D?"

"Ohmigod, dude, I almost didn't graduate from college because I was playing in too many on-line games!"


Slowly working my way through Wilkie Collins' "The woman in white". I only read for a while when I go to bed, but by then I'm so tired I usually nod off after a couple of pages, so it's slow going.


King of The World's Edge, or The Native Americans! In An Adventure With Merlin, by H. Warner Munn. Nice 'n' pulpy. For non fiction, The Alphabet, by Michael Rosen. I have a lot of time for Michael R., but this book does kind of read like it was written for kids. Maybe it was.

Also got hold of the 3rd (3.5?) Ed. Dragonlance Campaign Setting. No pics of Kitiara, sadly, but otherwise not too bad.

Scarab Sages

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Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
SmiloDan wrote:
Have you ever checked out A Study in Emerald by Neil Gaiman?

No, I haven't done any Gaiman. I think Kajehase, maybe someone else, publicly scolded me last time I said that.

And well they should... Stardust, Neverwhere, American Gods, The Graveyard Book.. All excellent.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Imbicatus wrote:
Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
SmiloDan wrote:
Have you ever checked out A Study in Emerald by Neil Gaiman?

No, I haven't done any Gaiman. I think Kajehase, maybe someone else, publicly scolded me last time I said that.

And well they should... Stardust, Neverwhere, American Gods, The Graveyard Book.. All excellent.

I still need to read The Graveyard Book, the Ocean at the End of the Lane, etc. etc.

I've been slacking.


SmiloDan wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:
Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
SmiloDan wrote:
Have you ever checked out A Study in Emerald by Neil Gaiman?

No, I haven't done any Gaiman. I think Kajehase, maybe someone else, publicly scolded me last time I said that.

And well they should... Stardust, Neverwhere, American Gods, The Graveyard Book.. All excellent.

I still need to read The Graveyard Book, the Ocean at the End of the Lane, etc. etc.

I've been slacking.

I haven't read The Ocean at the End of the Lane yet, but love his stuff. Neverwhere is probably my favourite, followed by American Gods. His short story collections are excellent as well, highly recommend Fragile Things and Smoke and Mirrors.

Currently I'm actually listening to audio books, and finding it tough going to get used to (I speed read, so the concept of a short novel taking 10 hours to get through is weird and confusing to me).

Decided to start with a series I'd been meaning to read for a long time, The Laundry Files. So far I've listened to all of The Atrocity Archives (including the short story Concrete Jungle) and half of The Jennifer Morgue. Loving the style, a good mix of Cthulhu Mythos, spy novels (The Atrocity Archive borrows from the style of Len Deighton's work, while The Jennifer Morgue is a pastiche of Ian Fleming's Bond novels, with later novels apparently moving on to other series to pay homage to), nerd humour (the odd All Your Base joke, Unix references, creatures with N+1 tentacles, where N is the number of tentacles you're comfortable with and so on) and a lot of bureaucratic jokes (you might be saving the world, but you'd damn well better save your receipts, and you better have prior approval for your support team expenditure in triplicate...). It works surprisingly well, and has already given me a much better understanding of the setting for the RPG based on it.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Wolfwaker wrote:
Zeugma wrote:

@doc the grey:

I got an autographed copy of "A Natural History of Dragons"! I hadn't heard of Marie Brennan before, but she was by far one of the best panelists who spoke at the book fair I attended, so I bought her book figuring someone so well-spoken is bound to be a good writer. It was a delight! I still haven't bought "Tropic of Serpents" but my b-day is approaching so I think I will treat myself to it.

I've been browsing a bunch of the free samples on the Kindle lately. That was one of the ones that seemed most interesting. I think you've sold me on it.

It is both very good and will make you want the 3rd book out now. Also If you get the option you should totally splurge on the hardback copies. The sepia ink, rumpled pages, and Todd Lockwood's sketch style art really help sell it as a 200 year old Victorian era memoir except, ya know, with more dragons.


Finished A Study--damn Mormons!--and am undecided between Moorcock, comic books and communism. Decisions, decisions.


Long time, no post.

Slavery By Another Name is going to have to wait. It's great, but could not command my interest. I slipped over to Alan Taylor's The American Colonies and got quite a bit out of it before my copies of Robert May's The Southern Dream of a Caribbean Empire and Manifest Destiny's Underworld arrived.

The latter two actually fit into what I'm working over for the blog lately and so hopped to the front of the line. I've got the first almost finished. So far as I know, it's forty years old and still, I think, the standard text on filibustering. That's odd because Mays himself isn't and hasn't been happy with it for decades. His introduction to this edition lays out how he ought to have begun before 1854 and talks about a few areas where he'd write more now.

But he wrote Underworld in part to shore that up, I imagine. I've yet to read it, but it covers quite a bit more time and expands to include filibustering up against Canada. So that's next.

Regrettably neither appears to do much about the burning of the free port of Greytown in southeastern Nicaragua in retaliation for the inhabitants tossing a bottle at Solon Borland, American Minister to Central America. This appears to all have really been about the Accessory Transit Company finding Greytown's authorities an impediment to their profits and so trying to stage an outrage that would warrant wrecking the place. The Navy did that job for them in 1854, shelled the town and then burned it to the ground.

But it seems like nobody much cares in the anglophone academy. The most in depth account I've gotten is from Allen Nevins, writing back in the early 50s. He goes on for five pages, which is fine, but I'd have liked much more context and detail. Nevins' stuff is more about the political fallout than the act itself. I've gotten some stuff out of Horace Greeley's paper which has been helpful, even if the scans are killing my eyes, but the apparent smoking gun linking the Commercial Agent, Joseph Fabens, with the Transit Company's plot appeared in another paper that is only online behind a paywall.


Shadow Gate by Kate Elliot.

Third chapter in, and it's riveting, well-paced, and completely immaterial that I haven't read the first book, Spirit Gate (though it's good enough that I want to, despite very thoroughly spoiling what had to be the ending of the first book in the first few pages of this one).

So, in all, while I can't recommend Spirit Gate, exactly, as I haven't read it, if you wish to avoid spoilers, read that one first. If that book is anywhere near as good as the first few chapters of this one, I won't care that I know the end - I will still want to go there.

If you don't care about spoilers...:

... this book starts off with the protagonist waking up dead*, after having been murdered. It's slowly revealed that she's become a supernatural creature. I don't understand the rules yet, but neither does she.

It's worth noting that the very opening of the book mentions she recalled being murdered. It's made very obvious very quickly that she's a ghost - I knew from the first page, though it took her until something like the tenth to figure it out.

* No, it's not Megadeath; it's Autotune the News. So much better. :D


Samnell wrote:
Long time, no post.

I thought of you while watching a cool video that just happens to be the last post in the Gender Politics Thread down in the OTD. It's a happy little youtube video by the name of "Do Communists Have Better Sex?"

I, alas, wouldn't know, but it's about hawt times in the ol' DDR who, apparently, refused to abide by that totalitarianism and prudery connection that we talked about some time past.

We already have the Stasi; might as well get the jobs, health care and higher rate of female orgasm! For workers revolution!

(Comrade Longears, you'd probably like it, too. Assuming you haven't seen it already.)


Don Juan de Doodlebug wrote:


I, alas, wouldn't know, but it's about hawt times in the ol' DDR who, apparently, refused to abide by that totalitarianism and prudery connection that we talked about some time past.

We already have the Stasi; might as well get the jobs, health care and higher rate of female orgasm! For workers revolution!

I remember seeing footage back in the mid-90s where the Stasi recorded people using the toilet. Can't imagine they didn't have some hot sex tapes too. Probably some stereotypically depraved commie sexy times too, like doing it with the lights on between busts of Lenin and Marx, bourgeoisie on top.

Right then, topic. Finished Mays' Dream and started Underground. He has a fascinating chapter detailing filibustering attempts against Canada, including a few years of fairly constant cross-border shenanigans. Then the Webster-Ashburton Treaty took all the fun out of it and people went to molest Mexico instead.


Worth updating, while Shadow Gate starts off with enough references and descriptions that you don't need to read Spirit Gate, about 1/3 of the way through the book, I feel like I'm missing something significant - and, in fact, I was at one point, to the extent that I thought two different characters were the same, but at different points in their life as-presented, which was rather confusing for a time.
EDIT: It's still a really great read, even for one such as me, who - along with attention deficit and dyslexia - is currently sick and, I'm pretty sure, had a fever earlier, which might have added to my confusion. So, I'm not recommending against the reading by any standard, but rather suggesting that it's probably better to read Spirit Gate first.


Samnell wrote:
Don Juan de Doodlebug wrote:


I, alas, wouldn't know, but it's about hawt times in the ol' DDR who, apparently, refused to abide by that totalitarianism and prudery connection that we talked about some time past.

We already have the Stasi; might as well get the jobs, health care and higher rate of female orgasm! For workers revolution!

I remember seeing footage back in the mid-90s where the Stasi recorded people using the toilet. Can't imagine they didn't have some hot sex tapes too. Probably some stereotypically depraved commie sexy times too, like doing it with the lights on between busts of Lenin and Marx, bourgeoisie on top.

Actually, it was more like free birth control pills, public discussions of masturbation, nudism and, when the wall came down, a higher rate of female orgasm. I'm not saying there weren't hot Stasi sex tapes, but then again, like, I said, we've already got them.


Don Juan de Doodlebug wrote:


Actually, it was more like free birth control pills, public discussions of masturbation, nudism and, when the wall came down, a higher rate of female orgasm.

Sanity actually prevailed? Don't see that very often.


o_O


I was rewatching it over my comrades' house last night. Not a "higher rate" but "twice the rate" of female orgasm.

Ladies, if you're interested, we're recruiting.


Last time I talked about The Unwritten, volume 2, I never finished it.

I re-read both volumes since I posted last and they remain a veritable treasure-trove of LXG-style bibliophile porn. Last volume ended with a huge bit about Jud Suss.

Am definitely moving back to Corum next.


Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:

Last time I talked about The Unwritten, volume 2, I never finished it.

I re-read both volumes since I posted last and they remain a veritable treasure-trove of LXG-style bibliophile porn. Last volume ended with a huge bit about Jud Suss.

Am definitely moving back to Corum next.

I've gone all the way through chapter - what, five? six? anyway, the most recent one - which fully finished off the first "story arc" and, I have to say, it's marvelous.

... and, uh, do you mean James Corum?

EDIT: Ah, noticed immediately after posting that you probably meant Moorcock's Corum instead. Got it.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

Now i'm readin A Short History of England, by Simon Jenkins


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Don Juan de Doodlebug wrote:

I was rewatching it over my comrades' house last night. Not a "higher rate" but "twice the rate" of female orgasm.

Ladies, if you're interested, we're recruiting.

Talk about Stalinian deviations, as I believe you people like to, there they are.

Bedtime reading at the mo consists of a second run through Outlaws of the Marsh. Good, wholesome, manly, Confucian stuff without so much of a veiled hint of nipples, if you can have a veiled hint of nipples. It sounds like a Strawberry Alarm Clock lyric, so maybe you can.


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Limeylongears wrote:
Don Juan de Doodlebug wrote:

I was rewatching it over my comrades' house last night. Not a "higher rate" but "twice the rate" of female orgasm.

Ladies, if you're interested, we're recruiting.

Talk about Stalinian deviations, as I believe you people like to, there they are.

For the record, I have never, not even once, used the word "Stalinian" in all my life. Also, I'm not a people, I'm a goblin!!!

Fill your hand, elf!


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Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
Limeylongears wrote:
Don Juan de Doodlebug wrote:

I was rewatching it over my comrades' house last night. Not a "higher rate" but "twice the rate" of female orgasm.

Ladies, if you're interested, we're recruiting.

Talk about Stalinian deviations, as I believe you people like to, there they are.

For the record, I have never, not even once, used the word "Stalinian" in all my life. Also, I'm not a people, I'm a goblin!!!

Fill your hand, elf!

En garde! Foutez le camp! Zut Simms! L'honneur de la Troisième Internationale doit rester intacte!

Start using it, little green phenomenon, and find peace and tranquility the WRP way. Or, if you prefer, guzzle a bucketful of pickles 'n' Buckfast and go and set fire to your feet (or someone else's. So long as it's consensual, everything's fine)


Limeylongears wrote:
Comrade Anklebiter wrote:

Also, I'm not a people, I'm a goblin!!!

Fill your hand, elf!

En garde! Foutez le camp! Zut Simms! L'honneur de la Troisième Internationale doit rester intacte!

Oh, that's right, I forgot, you actually know how to swordfight. Um, nevermind.


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*Points at the thread title.*

So, uh.... books. Yeah.

I've been reading L Frank Baum's 'Wizard of Oz' series. They are short and easy to read and OH MY GOD. I don't know if that much sexism and racism was standard back in the day, or if Baum was some sort of freak, but yeesh. I'm embarrassed to read some of it.


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Treppa wrote:

*Points at the thread title.*

So, uh.... books. Yeah.

I've been reading L Frank Baum's 'Wizard of Oz' series. They are short and easy to read and OH MY GOD. I don't know if that much sexism and racism was standard back in the day, or if Baum was some sort of freak, but yeesh. I'm embarrassed to read some of it.

Pretty sure it was a fairly common thing in that period, to lesser or greater extents. Look at the discussion of whether Edgar Rice Burrough's work is racist or not... or the undeniable fact that H.P. Lovecraft's stories take a flying leap straight into racism the moment non Anglo-Saxon/Anglo-Nordic/Just plain old English descended characters showed up. Hell, he was racist against caucasians of other descent, as he considered them to be lower class, though he was sympathetic to those who tried to "assimilate" into what he considered the proper culture (his wife was a Jewish woman who he felt had achieved this).

That said, doesn't mean their stories aren't worth reading. I adore Lovecraft's work, but I in no way endorse his attitudes and beliefs. I just understand that at the time, racism was a much more prevalent issue (not saying it's not prevalent now, but it was certainly not the recognised social ill that it is these days), and he had no need or desire to hide his feelings on the matter.

Side Note: Before anyone brings it up, yes, I am aware that New England had a strong history of Abolitionist policies and attitudes even by the time Lovecraft was prolific, and the attitudes in his writing did not shift as the public attitude did, but I'd point out that this isn't uncommon even today. I know some hideously racist people in my city who are well aware that the majority of people disagree with them, but they don't care, because as far as they're concerned, they're each of them the "Only Sane Man" trope personified, and the rest of us just don't understand.


Treppa wrote:
I've been reading L Frank Baum's 'Wizard of Oz' series. They are short and easy to read and OH MY GOD. I don't know if that much sexism and racism was standard back in the day, or if Baum was some sort of freak, but yeesh. I'm embarrassed to read some of it.

I usually try to steer clear of any potentially controversial subject, but you made me curious.

I thought that by the standards of his time, Baum was pretty progressive in terms of women's rights. I'm guessing you're thinking of General Jinjur's army, but contrast that with Glinda's REAL army of woman-soldiers.

And where's the racism? My best guess is "The Patchwork Girl of Oz", with its quote of that song "Ah wants mah Lulu, mah coal-black Lulu", and with the "Tottenhots" apparently referring to the Hottentots. I didn't think that was so bad.

Or am I missing something? What sexism and racism did you mean?


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Aaron Bitman wrote:

... And where's the racism? My best guess is "The Patchwork Girl of Oz", with its quote of that song "Ah wants mah Lulu, mah coal-black Lulu", and with the "Tottenhots" apparently referring to the Hottentots. I didn't think that was so bad.

Or am I missing something? What sexism and racism did you mean?

It's from "The Woggle-Bug Book", wherein the Woggle Bug comes to Earth and encounters (mostly) women from all different ethnicities and one 'Oriental' man. Between the dialect and the stereotyped ethnic portrayals, it's embarrassing. I'm on Ozma of Oz right now, fourth of the series. I thought the lackadaisical attitude toward gender changing in "The Marvelous Land of Oz" was pretty interesting. General Jinjer's troops were silly, but Glinda's weren't. Plus the men were portrayed as having difficulty with 'women's work'. I didn't have a lot of issues with that one.


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Ah, that would explain it. I never read "The Woggle-Bug Book", and I never heard anything about it to make me regard it as canon. It sounds to me like that one should be skipped.


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Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber
Treppa wrote:

*Points at the thread title.*

So, uh.... books. Yeah.

I've been reading L Frank Baum's 'Wizard of Oz' series. They are short and easy to read and OH MY GOD. I don't know if that much sexism and racism was standard back in the day, or if Baum was some sort of freak, but yeesh. I'm embarrassed to read some of it.

Although L Frank Baum actually being an early feminist illustrates that we've at least made some progress since then.


His mother-in-law, I think, was a leading suffragette. Which, leaving aside political correctness for a moment and reverting to mother-in-law jokes, must've been a nightmare. I remember there being an awesome Gore Vidal essay about Baum, lemme see if it's on the internet...


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Hmmm. Well, it's beyond a paywall and he must have added to it after '77 because the version in my copy of United States: Essays 1952-1992 has, like, five pages before it gets to the beginning of the essay as shown. Wow, there's some great bits in here, I feel like typing....


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....Recently I was sent an academic dissertation. Certain aspects of Baum's The Land of Oz had reoccured in a book of mine. Was this conscious or not? (It was not.) But I was intrigued. I reread The Land of Oz. Yes, I could see Baum's influence. I then reread The Emerald City of Oz. I have now reread all of L. Frank Baum's Oz books. I have also read a good deal of what has been written about him in recent years. Although Baum's books were dismissed as trash by at least two generations of librarians and literary historians, the land of Oz has managed to fascinate each new generation and, lately, Baum himself has become an OK subject, if not for the literary critic, for the social historian....

...Lack of proper acknowledment perhaps explains the extent to which Baum has been ignored by literary historians, by English departments, by....[in original]As I write these words, a sense of dread. Is it possible that Baum's survival is due to the fact that he is not taught? That he is not, officially, Literature? If so, one must be careful not to murder Oz with exegesis....

The introduction to Moore's book [Wonderful Wizard, Marvelous Land by Raylyn Moore, 1974] is written by the admirable Ray Bradbury in an uncharacteristically overwrought style. Yet prose far to one side, Bradbury makes some good points: "Let us consider two authors" (the other is Edgar Rice Burroughs) "whose works were burned in our American society during the past seventy years. Librarians and teachers did the burning very subtly by not buying. And not buying is as good as burning. Yet, the authors survived."

The hostility of librarians to the Oz books is in itself something of a phenomenon. The books are always popular with children. But many librarians will not stock them. According to the chairman of the Miami Public Library, magic is out: "Kids don't like that fanciful stuff anymore. They want books about missiles and atmoic submarines." Less militaristic librarians have made the practical point that if you buy one volume of a popular series you will have to get the whole lot and there are, after all, forty Oz books.

Bradbury seems to think that the Oz books are disdained because they are considered "mediocre" by literary snobs (the same people who do not take seriously Science Fiction?). But I think that he is wrong. After all, since most American English teachers, librarians, and literary historians are not intellectuals, how would any of them know whether or not a book was well or ill written? [Hee hee!] More to the point, not many would care. Essentially, our educators are Puritans who want to uphold the Puritan work ethic. This is done by bringing up American children in such a way that they will take their place in society as dilligent workers and unprotesting consumers. Any sort of literature that encourages a child to contemplate alternative worlds might incite him, later in life, to make changes in the iron Puritan order that has brought us, along with missiles and atomic submarines, the assembly line at Detroit where workers are systematically dehumanized.

It is significant that one of the most brutal attacks on the Oz books was made in 1957 by the director of the Detroit Library System, a Mr. Ralph Ulveling, who found the Oz books to "have a cowardly approah to life." They are also guilty of "negativism." Worst of all, "there is nothing uplifting or elevating about the Baum series." For the Librarian of Detroit, courage and affirmation mean punching the clock and then doing the dull work of a machine while never questioning the system. Our governors not only know what is good for us, they never let up. From monitoring the books that are read in grade school to the brass handshake and the pension (whose fund is always in jeopardy) at the end, they are forever on the job. They have to be because they know that there is no greater danger to their order than a worker whose daydreams are not of television sets and sex but of differently ordered worlds. Fortunately, the system of government that controls the school system and makes possible the consumer society does not control all of publishing; otherwise, much imaginative writing might exist only in samizdat.

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