31 August 2004

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear Part 2

I'm enjoying this Dana Girls story a lot. The author has the language of those older series books down pat. It may surprise folks who know what a devotee I am of these old kids' series books, but I've never read a Dana Girls book, whether the originals or any updating they did in the 1960s. I've never actually read a Nancy Drew, either. The books cost $1.25 when I was of the age to read them and my mom couldn't afford them (and it would have taken five weeks to save up for one with my allowance). I owned mostly Whitman books, which were 29 cents, and later paperbacks. Occasionally on Christmas or my birthday, I would get a Bobbsey Twins book--the rewritten ones of the 1960s, not the original books I collected as an adult. I only had about eight of them, though.

It is so funny reading these, with their proper grammar and condemnation of slang, and remember that they were banned from most libraries of my day! The librarians scorned them as cheaply written and manufactured sensationalist twaddle. They wanted us to read the classics, like Tom Sawyer and Treasure Island and Jane Eyre and the Maud Montgomery books. (To be honest, I always loathed Treasure Island; I never have figured out what is so romantic about dirty, smelly killer pirates. Nancy Drew, the Bobbsey Twins, and yes, even the Dana Girls, were well-educated, clean and respectful. What was the problem?)

30 August 2004

Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear

Remember those wonderful series books of the past? The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Joyce Jordan, Rick Brant--and the Dana Girls? If you do, check out The Secret of the Ice Castle, a full-length fan-written Dana Girls mystery done in the style of the 1930s originals.

25 August 2004

For Robert Heinlein Fans

Wow, I didn't know this existed online:

The Heinlein Society

Take a look at their cool concordance!

I started my Heinlein reading career with Have Spacesuit, Will Travel from the Hugh B. Bain library.

24 August 2004

For "American Girls" Fans

Well, it figures...it would be about Samantha, who I always found less interesting than the others! I would have preferred Molly--but Felicity would have been interesting, too, since not many dramas center around the Revolutionary War era any longer.

First there's a new "Samanthauniverse" book out, Nellie's Promise, about the orphan girl and her sisters who were taken in by Samantha's family.

Plus the WB network has apparently just finished Samantha: An American Girl's Christmas, which will debut on November 23 of this year.

22 August 2004

A Red-Headed Stranger

I think I watched every--or almost every--episode of The Partridge Family; I seem to remember skipping the episodes with "adorable Ricky Segall." My favorite character was Danny, played by Danny Bonaduce. He was cute, red-haired, and, most importantly, smart.

I never quite got over liking Danny Bonaduce (I still miss the syndicated The Other Half, with Bonaduce, Mario Lopez, Dorian Gregory and Dick Clark, a guilty pleasure), even though I knew he'd been in major trouble over the years for drugs, alcohol and violence. I didn't read a lot of tabloids, so I didn't realize how much trouble with drugs, alcohol and violence until I picked up his book Random Acts of Badness.

I swear, I cannot for the life of me understand how people can do this drug shit to themselves. His stories are absolutely horrifying--not just the effects of the drug use on his body and his personality, but the lengths he would go through to get drugs, including going into neighborhoods where slayings were common just to get his next "hit." What I can't figure out is how, after doing all that damage to himself, he actually survived. It seems nothing short of miraculous.

19 August 2004

Too Busy Reading...

...to write about books:

From the library:

So Dear to My Heart, Jane Goyer--memories from a 90+-year-old woman from Worcester, Massachusetts (written in 1990, so I assume she's passed on). Jane talks about her childhood and all the fun things she and her brothers and sisters used to do: listening to the radio, playing outdoor games, helping grow vegetables. A bright portrait of a bygone era.

Triangle: the Fire That Changed America, David von Drehle--despite the title, only a few chapters about the 1911 New York sweatshop fire, but well done: sets up the era and the lives of the people who worked in the factory, the labor movements that proceed it, the trial afterwards and how the factory owners got off. It will make you admire our immigrant ancestors and the trials they endured.

The Blizzard of '88, Irving Werstein--Story of the unexpected March storm that brought New York City and environs to disaster: death, destruction of property, and terrifying events. Illustrated with engravings and photos of the storm. Some very touching stories about the victims, including the poor girl whose tale opens the book.

Isaac's Storm, Erik Larson--Story of the 1900 Galveston hurricane that killed thousands due to botched weather predictions that could have been avoided. Larson weaves a tapestry of characters, Galveston history, and the history of the Weather Bureau together as Galveston heads for disaster.