The Cowardly Lion and The Hungry Tiger by L. Frank Baum

In the splendid palace of the Emerald City, which is in the center of the fairy Land of Oz, is a great Throne Room, where Princess Ozma, the Ruler, for an hour each day sits in a throne of glistening emeralds and listens to all the troubles of her people, which they are sure to tell her about. Around Ozma's throne, on such occasions, are grouped all the important personages of Oz, such as the Scarecrow, Jack Pumpkinhead, Tiktok the Clockwork Man, the Tin Woodman, the Wizard of Oz, the Shaggy Man and other famous fairy people. Little Dorothy usually has a seat at Ozma's feet, and crouched on either side the throne are two enormous beasts known as the Hungry Tiger and the Cowardly Lion.
These two beasts are Ozma's chief guardians, but as everyone loves the beautiful girl Princess there has never been any disturbance in the great Throne Room, or anything for the guardians to do but look fierce and solemn and keep quiet until the Royal Audience is over and the people go away to their homes.

A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian by Marina Lewcka

Book: A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian
Author: Marina Lewycka

Why I Read It: I was in a hostel in London and the common room "library" only had three books in English and this one looked the most intriguing.
First Line: "Two years after my mother died, my father fell in love with a glamorous blonde Ukranian divorcee."
First Impression: Wow. This is really good. I'm surprised someone left this here.
Last Impression: Nowhere near the journey I was expecting (and I didn't really learn anything about tractors) butit was engrossing and satisfying.

Overall – 4 Heart Skipped A Beat
Characters – 4  Each charager was dynamic and virbrant; the female narrator gives just enough space for her aging father determined to tell his history of tractors, the conniving and surgically accented Ukranian divorcee and her well-meaning but overbearing sister to fill up the pages.
Story – 2  Honestly the story became a bit dull and the characters were the reason to keep reading, not the action.
Narration – 4 The pacing was rhythmic and lulling, the word chocie was powerfully decisive and it was surprising how quickly all the intricacies of this Ukranian family felt familiar.

Read Again? Yes. It was unique and fun and a perfect road tripping read. But I might just feel that way because it was acquired in travels and read on the road.
Tell Others to Read? Depends on the person. If I see them in the bookstore with a stack in their arms 10 books tall, or flipping through a book about travel, then absolutely. Or if they are a "reader" and are looking for something different than their usual fare. If they're looking for something to read after finishing 50 Shades of Grey, probably not.

Excerpt: Tart. Bitch. Cheap slut. This woman who as taken the place of my mother. I stretch my hand out and bare my teeth in a smile.
   "Hallo, Valentina. How nice to meet you at last."
   Her hand in mine is cold, limp, no grip. The long fingernails are varnished in peach-pink pearlised nail-polish to match the lips. I see myself through her eyes - small, skinny, dark, no bust. Not a real woman. She smiles at Mike, a slow, wicked smile.
   "You like vodka?"
   "I've made a pot of tea," I say.
   My father's eyes are fixed on her as she moves about the room.

A Matter-of-Fact Fairy Tale by A.A. Milne

Once upon a time there was a King who had three sons. The two eldest were lazy, good-for-nothing young men, but the third son, whose name was Charming, was a delightful youth, who was loved by everybody (outside his family) who knew him. Whenever he rode through the town the people used to stop whatever work they were engaged upon and wave their caps and cry "Hurrah for Prince Charming!"--and even after he had passed they would continue to stop work, in case he might be coming back the same way, when they would wave their caps and cry "Hurrah for Prince Charming!" again. It was wonderful how fond of him they were.

But alas! his father the King was not so fond. He preferred his eldest son; which was funny of him, because he must have known that only the third and youngest son is ever any good in a family. Indeed, the King himself had been a third son, so he had really no excuse for ignorance on the point. I am afraid the truth was that he was jealous of Charming, because the latter was so popular outside his family.

Moths Of The New World by Audrey Niffenegger

The book woke up in a strange man's apartment.

The book had been published in 1928 in Minneapolis. She was exceptionally well illustrated, with many colour plates; most of the illustrations featured moths, larvae, pupae, caterpillars, cocoons. She had 364 pages, all clay-coated stock, and was cloth bound in faded saffron buckram with her title stamped in silver on the cover and spine. There was some foxing. Her title was Moths of the New World.

Or: the book was a small-boned light-haired woman with big brown eyes and a startled expression. She was shy and always wore nondescript clothing. She preferred to fade into the background and seldom spoke. Like most real books she spent a great deal of her time sleeping, but even so there were dark circles under her eyes. She had never met her author and because her original print run had only been 500 she was seldom read now. Most of her copies had been relegated to special collections and rare book rooms, or cut up and sold for the pictures. So Moths of the New World spent her nights and days dozing on her shelf in the Library, content to be left alone.
How did I get here? She looked around at the heaps of books and wondered if she had been taken to some unfamiliar part of the Library, but there was something about this place that was wrong. It smells wrong.

The Wake of Forgiveness by Bruce Machart

Book: The Wake of Forgiveness
Author: Bruce Machart

Why I Read It: I had seen the cover and each time it drew me in just a little bit further until it finally found its way home with me.
First Line: "The blood had come hard from her, so much of it that, when Vaclav Skala awoke in wet bed linens to find her curled up against him on her side, moaning and glazed with sweat, rosary beads twisted around her clenched fingers, he smiled at the thought that she'd finally broken her water."

First Impression: Huh. I am surprised how appropriate this cover art is.
Last Impression: A subdued tale of a young man's struggle with his father and brothers ends up instead as a narrative of the power of women in their lives.

Overall - 3 Resting Heart Rate
How Much I Liked It - 3  It was different than most of the novels I normally read and that was refreshing, but it didn't leave a strong impression on me.
Characters - 4 The characters were all dynamic and addicting, even when their actions were frustrating. No, especially when they were frustrating.
Story - 3 It was a unique place and idea, but instead of taking advantage of this uniqueness it just moseyed along.
Narration - 3 The narration was inconsistent; moments of poetry would fade into mundane narration but overall a pleasant experience.

Read Again? Absolutely. It was a quiet, peaceful read and I will be back when I miss that feeling.
Tell Others to Read? Perhaps if I know they appreciate literature or westerns. Otherwise this book could require a bit much of its readers, since the action is quiet and the timeline unstable.

Excerpt: Then, what has only just bloomed within him curls brittle and brown at the edges, and he believes now, in the slow seconds of understanding, ephemeral as they ever are, that what lies behind a man in the expanding landscape of his past can never be left behind entirely, that even the blazing, cotton-flecked fields of the summer can't sweat from him the hard, fallow crust of so many winters. he can almost put it into words, but it's fleet and then it's gone, and all that's left is the caustic certainty that there's no moving forward unbridled, that the weather-checked harness will never give, that the weight of all that is dragging behind will know no abatement.

Beyond The Door by Phillip K Dick

Larry Thomas bought a cuckoo clock for his wife--without knowing the price he would have to pay.
That night at the dinner table he brought it out and set it down beside her plate. Doris stared at it, her hand to her mouth. "My God, what is it?" She looked up at him, bright-eyed.

"Well, open it."
Doris tore the ribbon and paper from the square package with her sharp nails, her bosom rising and falling. Larry stood watching her as she lifted the lid. He lit a cigarette and leaned against the wall.
"A cuckoo clock!" Doris cried. "A real old cuckoo clock like my mother had." She turned the clock over and over. "Just like my mother had, when Pete was still alive." Her eyes sparkled with tears.
"It's made in Germany," Larry said. After a moment he added, "Carl got it for me wholesale. He knows some guy in the clock business. Otherwise I wouldn't have--" He stopped.

Doris made a funny little sound.
"I mean, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to afford it." He scowled. "What's the matter with you? You've got your clock, haven't you? Isn't that what you want?"
Doris sat holding onto the clock, her fingers pressed against the brown wood.
"Well," Larry said, "what's the matter?"
He watched in amazement as she leaped up and ran from the room, still clutching the clock. 

Introducing Monday Minis

To continue bringing you delighful readers something new and exciting to consume, The Dying Book Affair proudly presents Monday Minis! What better is there to start the week off right than to keep our desire to read still bubbling? Enter the #MondayMinis!

The more in-depth and comprehensive book reviews will still remain unrated, but the #MondayMinis are meant to be a quick glimpse and ratings are ideal for that purpose. Here is the rating system for our #MondayMinis.

Each mini review will include ratings for:
  • How much I liked it
  • Characters
  • Story
  • Narration
  • Overall

  • 5 - Heart Racing. This was a great book! I am absolutely dying to read this book again. I will recommend it to everyone I know and random people I meet.
  • 4 - Heart Skipped a Beat. This book has something special. I will definitely read this book again. I will cheerfully recommend it.
  • 3 - Resting Heart Rate. This book was a good read overall but not particularly memorable. I won't read this book again unless a good reason pops up. I will only recommend this book if I think that particular individual might enjoy it.
  • 2 - Faint Pulse. This book tried, but didn't quite make it. I will not read this book again. I will not recommend it.
  • 1 - Flatlined. This book was terrible. I will never ever read this book again. I will not recommend it.

Now, not every book fits in this neat system. Every once in a while there is a book that invoke an extreme reaction. For those books we have....

Extreme ratings!
  • 6 - Heart Exploded with Joy. This book was fucking amazing. I am stunned with wonder. I wanted to read this book again immediately. I couldn't pick up another book for a while because this one had left such a strong impression. I will rave about this book to anyone who will stand still long enough.
  • 0 - Cold Dead Corpse. This book was a collossal waste of my time. I was powered only by stubbornness. I only finished this book because I refuse to leave any book unfinished but I did not enjoy it at all. I will actively tell people to avoid this book.

In addition to ratings, each review will have:
  • The title
  • The author's name
  • Why I read it
  • First Line
  • First Impression
  • Last Impression
  • If I will read it again
  • If I will tell others to read it
  • An excerpt

Now there is something delightful to look forward to every Monday morning! Enter your email to get The Dying Book Affair to your inbox or subscribe to get  Monday Minis delivered to you personally.
Creative Commons License
This work by H.E. Saunders is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.