Tuesday, October 20, 2020

The Dana Girls Guide

We have been waiting for the Dana Girls Guide for around 20 years.  Finally, it will be available in early November.  Please visit SynSine Press for ordering information.  

If you think you will ever want to have a guide to the Dana Girls series, then you need to go ahead and purchase the guide.  The guide will most likely not remain in print.  If you miss this opportunity, then you will have trouble ever finding it in the secondhand market.  Past SynSine Press publications like A Guide to Judy Bolton Country are desired by many who never had the chance to order when available, and those publications almost never come up for sale.  When they do, they are usually expensive.  Don't miss this opportunity.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Series Collector Obituaries

We have lost several series book collectors this year.

Collector Tim Sampson passed away back in the spring.  He was active on Facebook.  He collected many very obscure series and often shared photos of them on Facebook.  Below are a couple of pictures he shared of some of his books.

We lost Joe Slavin in May from Covid-19.  Joe was a well known collector of series books.  You can read Joe's obituary here.

In September, we lost Carolyn Stewart Dyer, who organized the first Nancy Drew conference in 1993.  Read Carolyn's obituary here.

A shocking recent death was that of Bob Williams this month.  Bob passed away from a heart attack.  Bob was actively buying and selling books and had made quite a few recent posts on Facebook about some outstanding series book finds.  Read about Bob's life here and here.

Below is a screen capture of Bob's Etsy shop from right about when he passed away.

I am saddened by these losses.  

Saturday, October 17, 2020

A Group of Books Purchased Locally

In my September 6th post about book hunting, I explained how I hunt for books these days. 

For a number of years now, I have done only targeted book hunting.  I only go to places where I often make good finds.  That way, I'm not wasting much energy.  My pattern prior to March was to check those select places around twice per month.  During this pandemic, I will check those places around once every four to eight weeks.

That was six weeks ago, and I finally made my next visit to just a few select locations where I am more likely to find books.

I purchased some Three Investigators, Nancy Drew, and Trixie Belden books.

The Three Investigators book was priced lower than it should have been.  The Ghost of Blackwood Hall is the first picture cover printing.  It was priced about what I am usually willing to pay, which means not cheap but not too high for me to be able to sell it.  

I purchased the square Trixie Belden paperbacks just to rescue them from the store.  I have mentioned in previous posts that paperback books are almost always priced at $2.00 and up here in Oklahoma.  I continue to be astonished that people can actually purchase books nowadays for as low as $0.10.  Around here, those days are long gone.  The Trixie Belden paperbacks were $2.00 or higher.  I truly was just rescuing them, since I find that buyers prefer the oval Trixie Belden paperbacks.

I found three Dean Trixie Belden hardcover books from the UK.  Those don't show up in the United States very often, so that was a decent find.  The books were not cheap, but they were worth purchasing.

I also purchased some vintage teen books from the 1990s.

The books had been in the store for a number of months.  I posted a picture of the books as seen in the store in September in the Vintage Teen Books group.  There was enough enthusiasm from members that I realized that I should rescue the books.  Some of the books were $2.00 and others were a bit higher.  I don't think I will be keeping them, so the price was a bit steep to me, which is why I hadn't already purchased them.  However, the low price of the Three Investigators book balanced out the cost.

I still am not planning to sell any books online before May 2021.  The books will be shelved, and they will be waiting for the day when I finally open my stores again.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

A Trio of Nancy Drew Books Signed by Harriet Adams

I recently looked at a bulk lot of Nancy Drew books on eBay, only because the title mentioned that two books were signed by Harriet Adams.  The below photo was taken from the listing.

I didn't need the books, but the idea of two books being signed by Adams was interesting.  The price was low enough that the books were worth purchasing, especially if two were signed.  I also enjoy purchasing bulk lots, because they are my source of tint variants, which cannot easily be found by viewing online photos.  Online photos tend to distort any tint variance that is present.

The books arrived yesterday.  I started looking inside each book, searching for the signatures.  I expected the signatures to be on the inside front cover, which was Harriet's usual location.  I finally found a signed book, but the signature was on the title page.  I then started over and looked again at the books I had already checked.  I found a signature in one of those.  

I didn't stop there, since I couldn't be certain whether just two books were signed.  I continued through the set and found a third book.  I then checked all books again (and some for the third time), but I didn't find any additional signatures.  So I was sure that I had found all of them.

These are the signed books.  Remember that you can enlarge any photo by selecting it.

When I looked for the signatures, I also checked the back cover lists and set aside any books that looked interesting for any reason.  I found three such books.

The Mystery of the Brass Bound Trunk interested me because of the nice condition and how clean the cover looks.  The book has no soiling, and the sky is very light.  The book turned out to be a tint variant, seen third in the below photo along with two books from my collection.  I will be keeping it.

The Ghost of Blackwood Hall is in nice shape.  It is not the first revised text printing, but it is in nicer shape than my first revised text book.  It is seen below to the right of my first revised text book.  I will be keeping it.

The Secret of the Wooden Lady looked to be a tint variant, and it is, seen third in the below photo.  I'm sure that I have seen other copies tinted as dark, but this one is from 1971, earlier than others.

I will be keeping it as well.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

A Brief Update to "An Unexpected Wet Package"

Original post:  "An Unexpected Wet Package"

I finally took the time to place the water damaged Nancy Drew books in the book press.  I wanted to wait a couple of days to make certain that the books were completely dry, but a couple of days became nearly two weeks.

First, I had to extract the forgotten fanzine from the book press.  

I purchased this issue of The Mystery & Adventure Series Review quite a few months ago, probably sometime in 2019.  It was mailed in an envelope without being enclosed in plastic.  That's what most people do with what they mail.  The envelope arrived in the rain, so the issue was wet and damaged.  I dried it with the hair dryer, then I placed it in the book press.  I forgot about it.

You can see the wrinkled part on the upper left part of the back cover.  The front cover was not damaged at all.  Pages 32 through 56 had varying degrees of water damage.  I don't have a "before" photo, but the issue definitely did not lay flat after it was first dried.  It is better now.

You can see some of the slight waviness of the pages that were affected.  The pages are wrinkled, but they lay pretty flat, except when the issue is held loosely like I did to take the above photo.

The Nancy Drew books are now in the book press.  

I will try to remember to check on them in around a month and will update.  If I forget, then some months from now I will update when I finally remember the books.

This is probably the only post you will get for the next week.  I am uninterested in writing posts, except for ones like this.  

P.S. I still hate the new Blogger interface, as I mentioned a week ago.  This post took me at least five minutes longer because of the problems I encountered while writing it.  No wait... the entire post is indented.  Why?!  How did that happen?!

P.P.S.  That took 10 minutes.  I couldn't get the indent to go away using the features provided by Blogger.  I had to copy the text into WordPad to strip it of the HTML code.  I deleted everything from the post.  I pasted it back in after I preselected that I wanted my text to be left-justified.  I then added the photos again.  Thanks, Blogger, for wasting my time.

This blog may just go on a hiatus until fall break.  This isn't fun.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Wishing Star #8 Katie and #9 I Don't Want to Be Your Shadow

Wishing Star #8 Katie, Deborah Aydt, 1980

Katie can't seem to fit in anywhere!  Her mother promised she'd never remarry... until she met Ben Baxter!  Her best friend, Bessie, is always talking about her great boyfriend, but will never let Katie meet him!

And then there's Robert.  Katie really likes Robert, but she isn't ready to be so serious.  If only he wouldn't expect so much!

At least her diet is really working.  She hardly has to eat anything anymore... It's so easy, and it's her own private secret.  Her mother is so involved in her upcoming marriage she hasn't even noticed—until the terrible accident when Katie winds up in the hospital!

This is a very good book.

Wishing Star #9, I Don't Want to Be Your Shadow, Deborah Aydt, 1981

Jon was a powerful force in my life, as powerful as my mother had been before.  Jon and my mother were both suns—when I differed to one of them, I became a shadow.

Blake has always lived in her mother's shadow.  Her mother holds an important job in the art world and expects Blake to follow in her footsteps.  But what Blake wants is a warm, quiet home life, and a mother who's always there.

When she finds it with Jon Purcell's family, she's delighted.  And she's even more delighted when she finds herself falling in love with Jon... until she makes the disturbing discovery that she's as much Jon's shadow as she was her mother's.

Blake wants to be herself.  But how?  Must she stop loving Jon?

The first problem is that this book begins in the future with Blake looking back on her relationship with Jon.  It is apparent that the relationship is in the past.  Why should I care?  I already know the ending.

The second problem is that I do not like Jon at all.  I partly skimmed the book and did not enjoy it.  I found it boring.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

I Hate the New Blogger, the New Facebook, and 2020

Blogger changed the editing interface for those of us who have blogs.  I was forced into the new version this weekend where I can no longer go back to the legacy Blogger.  I hate the new Blogger. 

I hate it so much that I wish to abandon this blog immediately.  

OMG.  This is not easier to use.  It is harder.  Hitting "enter" does that stupid double space that Microsoft Word does.  I hate it.

Blogger, why are you indenting the very first sentence of each post by one character when I don't want that?  Just let me type the way I want.  You are making me delete that space at the beginning.  It looks stupid for the first sentence to be indented by one character when the others are not.  I don't want that.

The manual save button is gone!  The post autosaves, sure, but I want to be certain by hitting the button.  This is stressing me out.

My blog queue is ruined.  I set dates for when I want posts to publish.  I want to see those dates in the queue.  But no!  Blogger only shows me the date on which I last edited the post, not the date to which I have changed it.  Most of my draft posts are dated "September 20" because I edited the dates on those posts today.  I think if I change the posts from draft and set them to publish, then the dates will change.  But the posts aren't finished!  I don't want to set them to publish in case I forget to finish them!

I hate this so much.  

I am already quite unmotivated to write future posts.  This may end it for me.  I am not kidding.  I do not like this.  Given some time, I expect I will get over this, but the new Blogger is not an improvement.  It's always been clear to me that the people who do the programming for sites do not actually use them.  They have no clue.

Tell me about other blog services.  Are they less stupid?  This is actually a serious question.

And don't get me started on the new Facebook.  I hate it, too.  The new Facebook looks attractive, but I do not like it.  There is information hidden on the new Facebook that was not hidden before.  Facebook is still letting me change back to the classic version, but that will change very soon.  I will not be happy when I am finally stuck in the new Facebook.  

Facebook is also stupid, period.  For instance, we use questions that prospective members of groups must answer to be admitted into the groups.  Do you think Facebook shows mobile users those questions?  Of course not!  And everyone uses their phone for everything.   Granted, some people may see the questions, but I know for a fact that others don't see them.  I didn't see them when I checked on my phone.  Pfft.

Oh yeah, and mask usage is decreasing in local stores.  It may be about time for grocery pickup again.  

Just add Facebook and Blogger to the very long list of things gone bad in 2020.  What else will get ruined in the next few months?  

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

An Unexpected Wet Package

Late this evening, I found a wet package on my porch.  I didn't even know what was in it, since I wasn't supposed to get anything from FedEx.  Regardless, a wet package is never good, since my packages usually contain books.  It should be noted that my porch is dry, and it hasn't rained in days.  The package did not get wet here.

The darker brown lines are where the box was wet.  I opened the package to find some Nancy Drew softcover books that I purchased from the United Kingdom.  Ah.  I didn't expect my UK shipment to come via FedEx from California.

Well, this is unfortunate.  I have had international packages arrive wet before.  It's very disappointing, since international shipments contain difficult to find international editions.  I hate it when the books arrive damaged.

One corner of the box was pretty wet inside, and the stack of books in that corner was also wet.  The books seen in the center of the below photo with the outside page edges facing out are the wet books.  The wetness can be seen at the top corners.

The books have dark spots on the wet areas that might be mildew.  That's just splendid.  I believe that these books had been wet for a while.  Is it asking too much for packages not to be dropped in water?  I suppose it is.  This would not have been a problem if the books had been wrapped in plastic.  Always wrap books in plastic before mailing them.  This situation shows why.

I immediately took the books that were wet and dried them with a hair dryer.  It took around 15 minutes.  The books are not completely dry, but at least the wetness isn't still festering like it was.  The below photo shows the wet books after I got them mostly dry with the hair dryer.

The books will be placed in front of a fan to finish drying.  I will then place them in a book press to flatten them somewhat, since the pages are now wavy.  The pages will not go back to the way they were before, but I can make them better than they are now.