Monday, November 12, 2018

Golden Boys #7 River Allagash and #8 Haunted Camp

In the Golden Boys #7, The Golden Boys Along the River Allagash, Rex Dale's father has had a large sum of money stolen from him, enough to ruin him.  The money appears to have been stolen by a man named Stebbins, and Stebbins is believed to have gone to a certain lake.  Rex, Bob, Jack, and Kernertok hike to that lake hoping to find Stebbins and recover the money.

Someone tries to scare the boys by making strange tracks that appear to be from a large creature.  They also make strange sounds that are meant to scare the boys.  In most series books, at least one of the characters will become frightened and act like everything is real.  In this story, all of the boys calmly state from the beginning that somebody is just trying to scare them.  They never consider there to be a real creature, unlike what would happen in most books.  I found this to be a refreshing change, and having no one scared did not decrease my enjoyment of the story.

This is an exciting book and is interesting from start to finish.  The story is excellent.

In the Golden Boys #8, The Golden Boys at the Haunted Camp, Mr. Stokes owns a camp at Chesuncook Lake in Maine.  He requests that Bob and Jack stay at the camp to solve a mystery for him.  The camp has a reputation of being haunted.  Mr. Stokes hires Bob and Jack to pose as boarders as they search for the secret behind the haunting.

I like how the boys know that ghosts aren't real and never pretend that they might be.  They simply work on finding out who is responsible for the mysterious events.

Certain characters are under suspicion during the story, and the plot involving them was left unresolved, which I found strange.

This book is very good to excellent.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Golden Boys #5 River Drive and #6 Rescued by Radio

In the Golden Boys #5, The Golden Boys on the River Drive, Bob and Jack Golden spend their vacation at their father's lumber camp in the Maine Woods.  The men are preparing for the river drive, and the boys assist.  A rival camp attempts to sabotage Mr. Golden's lumber contract by causing log jams as the logs float down the river.  Bob and Jack work on the river drive for a time but later leave to search for a missing friend.

I notice that many of the books published by A. L. Burt have subplots within the stories.  The subplots often have nothing to do with the rest of the story.  I am pretty sure that the subplots were inserted into the stories in order to lengthen them.  As mentioned in this post, A. L. Burt wanted the stories to be a certain length and was less concerned about the quality.

Even though the story meanders a bit, it is excellent.

In the Golden Boys #6, The Golden Boys Rescued by Radio, Bob and Jack invent a set of short wave radios that they can use to communicate over a distance of many miles.  Meanwhile, Jim Carson, a revenue officer, asks the boys for them to help him find a group of men who are smuggling liquor across the border from Canada.  Bob and Jack get to work on the case, finding the men to be elusive.  Strangest of all, the men stay in a cabin that can vanish in minutes, reappearing somewhere else.

I love the part about the vanishing and reappearing cabin.  I wish the title of the book had mentioned the vanishing cabin.

This a very good to excellent book.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Golden Boys #3 Maine Woods and #4 Lumber Jacks

In the Golden Boys #3, The Golden Boys in the Maine Woods, Bob and Jack find a coded message.  They decipher the note and discover that it is a clue to a treasure that might have been hidden in a cave in a nearby mountain.  The boys obtain the assistance of their Indian friend, Kernertok, and his dog, Sicum.

Early in the summer I read the first two Golden Boys books and had to pause until this book arrived.  I had already started Augusta Seaman's books and had to read several more of them while waiting for this book.  Once this book arrived, I tried reading it and was uninterested.  I skimmed through the book and found it utterly uninteresting.  I went back to reading Augusta Seaman.

Once I finished with Seaman's books, I decided to resume reading this series, but couldn't remember where I left off.  I ended up trying this book again and was still bored.  I skipped it and read #4, 5, and 6.  I enjoyed all of those books.  Hmm.  I then tried this book again.

I was able to read a good bit more of it than on the previous two attempts, since I had just read three books in the series.  However, I still did not enjoy it.  Deciphering the code is a bit too intensive and boring for me.  Much of the story consists of the boys hiking near and on the mountain.  I still find most of it boring.  I do not like this book.

In the Golden Boys #4, The Golden Boys with the Lumber Jacks, Bob and Jack visit their father's lumber camp.  Problems plague the camp.  The first one is that the deed to the property is missing, and a rival company claims to have the true deed to the land.  Additionally, the camp is said to be haunted, but the boys suspect that the rival company is responsible.  Bob and Jack work on clearing up the problems as they search for the deed.

This book is very good.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Pricing of Digital Books Compared to Reading Copies from High-Volume Sellers

High-volume booksellers are often criticized.  The criticism usually comes from format collectors, buyers who want a specific edition, and buyers who expect the book to meet certain condition expectations.  I caution buyers who have specific expectations never to purchase from the high-volume sellers.  You will usually be disappointed.

On the other hand, the high-volume sellers are perfect for buyers who just want cheap reading copies where condition does not matter.  For modern books, I prefer digital copies.  Unfortunately, digital copies are very expensive and cost a lot more than cheap used copies.  From around 2010 through 2014, I preferred to purchase digital copies of all modern books.  I now tend to go with cheap reading copies.  I will use my most recent purchase as an example.

I already owned a copy of The Giver by Lois Lowry.  I decided that I wanted to purchase the remaining three titles in the set.  If I were to go with digital copies, the entire set of four purchased in one file would cost $32.96.  I could also just purchase the three titles needed at $7.99 each for a total of $23.97.  I didn't want to pay that much, especially since I sometimes do not enjoy books as much as I think I will.

I instead found paper copies of the three books I needed at $3.59, $3.59, and $3.60 from three different high-volume sellers.  All three books had the generic description about how the book might or might not have writing inside and might or might not be a library discard.  Whatever.  I have reasonable expectations and know that the books will probably be a bit rough around the edges.  Sometimes the books show up looking great, and sometimes they look pretty awful.  So long as the book can be read and is not missing pages, I will be satisfied.

Over the course of one week, I gradually received my three books.  Gathering Blue was used by a girl named Jailene for school, and she took a lot of notes.

Admittedly, I would prefer not to have Jailene's name written on the outside vertical edge and for the book not to contain a bunch of her notes.  However, the book can be read just fine.  The majority of the pages are unmarked.

Messenger arrived in average used condition.  Son turned out to be a first printing hardcover with dust jacket, and this was more than what the listing promised.

Sometimes the books arrive in pretty rough shape, and other times, the books arrive in nice condition.  The key is not to expect much and to view the purchase as if one were buying a commodity.  These books are just a commodity to me and nothing more.  They will all read just fine.

My buying habits have shifted solely due to how expensive the digital books are.  I now purchase fewer digital books than I once did.  The only digital books I still purchase are ones that I think my dad might enjoy, since we can both read the book from the same account.  That cuts the price in half since two people will read the book, and he much prefers reading the digital books.

I found it interesting to learn that as my own digital book buying habits shifted that the same was happening to other buyers for various reasons.

Ebook sales continue to fall as younger generations drive appetite for print

EBook Sales Figures in Decline? Not So!

The second article linked above mentions the price of the digital books.  The article states that sales of digital books by major publishing houses are falling.  The digital books priced at under $5 are doing much better, and those digital books tend to be offered by independent authors and small publishing companies.  The problem is that major publishing houses price their digital books too high.  If the Lois Lowry digital books been priced at no more than $4.99 each, I very likely would have purchased the digital books rather than have ordered paper copies.  

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Golden Boys #1 New Electric Cell and #2 Fortress

The Golden Boys series was written by L. P. Wyman and was published by A. L. Burt.  The series consists of 10 books.

  1.  The Golden Boys and Their New Electric Cell, 1923
  2.  The Golden Boys at the Fortress, 1923
  3.  The Golden Boys in the Maine Woods, 1923
  4.  The Golden Boys with the Lumber Jacks, 1923
  5.  The Golden Boys on the River Drive, 1923
  6.  The Golden Boys Rescued by Radio, 1923
  7.  The Golden Boys Along the River Allagash, 1923
  8.  The Golden Boys at the Haunted Camp, 1924
  9.  The Golden Boys Save the Chamberlain Dam, 1927
10.  The Golden Boys on the Trail, 1927

In The Golden Boys and Their New Electric Cell, Bob and Jack Golden have invented an electric cell that they plan to use to power their boat in an upcoming race.  Their rivals, Fred and Will Jenkins, steal the electric cell, and the Golden Boys must get it back.

On page 23, Bob is at the Jenkins' home to retrieve the electric cell.  The Jenkins' dog attacks, and Bob kills it by throwing a rock at its head.  On page 62, Bob is trying to escape, and he kills another dog by stabbing it with a knife.  Both incidents rather surprised me, since series book characters do not typically kill other people's dogs.

I greatly enjoyed this book and found it pretty interesting.

In The Golden Boys at the Fortress, Bob and Jack Golden begin attending military school.  Unfortunately, Fred and Will Jenkins also have enrolled in the school.  Soon after the boys' arrival, Bob makes an enemy out of a bully, John Hill, who proceeds to cause him lots of trouble.

On page 151, the boys wonder how to spend their afternoon.  Bob remarks, "There's a tribe of Indians who live on an island in the river here, and we might go over and take a look at them."  I guess the Indians were sort of a curiosity and were viewed as a source of entertainment.

Three months after I read this book, I read through L. P. Wyman's Hunniwell Boys series.  As I read that series, I realized that Wyman had a strong negative opinion about indigenous people.  He felt that they were stupid and incapable of being civilized.  It greatly impacted my enjoyment of that series. 

In the Golden Boys series, Wyman's bias mainly comes to the surface in how he depicts the French Canadians.  On the other hand, some of the French Canadians are depicted in a positive fashion.  For that reason, I was never bothered by any of the negative statements, since the negative statements are balanced by positive statements.

I enjoyed this book.