The Lunechien Forest of Oz, by Chris Dulabone - Both an introduction to a location that appears in a lot of Chris's other Oz stories and a follow-up to Baum's short story "Jaglon and the Tiger Fairies." A creature named Quasoic takes the necessary tests to become a resident of the Lunechien Forest, while the defeated lion monarch Avok has his own Ozzy experiences. One clever chapter links Avok to King Mustafa of Mudge's obsession with lions, which would get him in trouble in Cowardly Lion. One complaint I have is that, like some of Chris's other stories, while there is a resolution of sorts, it doesn't feel like it ends so much as fizzles out. I know Chris usually writes with a sequel in mind, but tighter endings still help. Mind you, I say this as someone who's terrible at writing endings.
The Giant King of Oz, by Chris Dulabone - Another follow-up to a Baum short story, this time "The Littlest Giant." While that story left Kwa, son of the former King of the Giants' Peak, in disgrace, this one has him seek to set things right (well, right as far as giants are concerned, anyway). Mr. Yoop also features in the story, as does Chris's own giant creation the Cokuzima. One of my favorite episodes was the Cokuzima's meeting with the joke-cracking two-headed giant. It's a fairly short book, but the story is satisfactorily resolved, so I can't really complain.
Who Wrote the Bible?, by Richard Elliott Friedman - Considering my recent posts on the same subject, it's no surprise that I'd be interested in checking out a book with that title. Contrary to the name, it doesn't really explore the entire Bible. Rather, it focuses on the Torah, while bringing up other books when relevant. I didn't enjoy it the less for that, though. It's quite detailed, and seeks to explain the background in which the various authors of the Torah wrote. One aspect of the introduction that I found interesting and a little disturbing was how recent much of this research was, not because past scholars weren't interested, but because the churches were able to silence anyone who challenged the idea that it was all written by Moses. That the Documentary Hypothesis is now widely accepted is a testament to the declining power of the religious establishment, I suppose.
Finn Family Moomintroll, by Tove Jansson - Part of a series of Swedish children's books about the adventures of some rather odd characters. This was the first of the series to be translated into English, and as such, it includes some explanations of the characters. This actually wasn't the first of the Moomin books I read, but I think I lost something in the others by not knowing the characters. Not that there's a whole lot to know, but it's definitely useful to have some idea what a Hemulen is before reading about one. I found the book to be a fun read, episodic but still unified, with some amusing ideas. Very weird, but maybe it isn't considered as much so over in Scandinavia.
Beach Blanket BabylOz, by Christopher Buckley - A fairly short tale about an accident in magic bringing several Ozites to an American beach. The story is pretty slight, but inventive and sometimes melancholy.