Monday, December 10, 2018

The Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry

The Giver Quartet consists of four books written by Lois Lowry.

1.  The Giver, 1993
2.  Gathering Blue, 2000
3.  Messenger, 2004
4.  Son, 2012

I was never that interested in reading these books, even though several people have recommended them to me.  The books were published irregularly with quite a few years separating them.  For that reason, I suspected that this set was not planned ahead of time and that the last three books were written to fulfill a demand by the publisher for more books.  In other words, it's all about money.

The Giver is a very good to excellent book and is well worth reading.  As I expected, it reads like a one-off title with no planned sequel.  I could tell as I continued the set that my instincts were right and that this was not a set planned in advance.  The books weaken as the set continues.

Gathering Blue and Messenger are pretty good but have flaws.  I found most of Son to be quite boring.  I skipped reading all of the chapters with "Water Claire," and that is most of the story.  The ending is very rushed and makes no sense.  I did not like Son at all.

Some readers give rave reviews to all four books.  The first three books are pretty good, but I won't ever read them again.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Buyer and Seller Behavior on Facebook

These comments were written either late last year or early this year as part of another post.  That post was never published.

Allowing people to sell books in Facebook groups is quite problematic.  People who want to sell books have trouble following directions.  Furthermore, as soon as some people realize that they can list their books for sale on Facebook, they temporarily lose all sense.  When they see that they have an opportunity to sell, they apparently experience great urgency.  They race to create multiple sales posts as fast as they can, often putting the posts in the wrong groups and breaking multiple rules.

The members who behave in this fashion end up showing their worst side.  Little do they realize that some collectors like me see the crazy behavior and decide that these sellers are too flaky to trust.  There's no reason to act like a timer is clicking away when an opportunity to sell presents itself.  Relax, read the rules, and think before you act.

Some members who want to sell books go about it in a random fashion.  Instead of going to a sales group to create a post, they pick posts in the regular groups and make comments asking random people if they want to buy books.  For instance, a member asked someone who does not collect Nancy Drew books whether he would like to buy her Nancy Drew books.  I don't understand this approach, and I've seen it many times.  It's far better to create a sales post to attract the people who actually want to buy the books instead of hitting up on members at random.

Another problem is lack of information.  A member says that they are looking for Nancy Drew books but does not specify which Nancy Drew books.  The format, titles, and price that they wish to pay are rather important details.  Other times, the person wanting the books is specific, but then several members hastily post (because they must view this as a race with a timer clicking away) a vague comment like "I have some Nancy Drew books!"  That's not very helpful.  Which books and how much do they cost?  Details, people!

Rather often, someone posts in a selling group that they have some books available.  They don't mention price or titles.  They just tell everyone to contact them if interested.  That's not going to work well.  If someone says that they have Nancy Drew books, they could have one of thousands of variants.  We need information.

I think that the "contact if interested" people are planning to set prices depending on who is interested.  It's like when I'm at a garage sale with no prices, and the owner won't tell me what the children's books cost until I tell them exactly which book I want.  Once the owner knows, they state that the desired book is quite collectible and set a steep price.

I have this suspicion that on Facebook, these people are waiting to see who will contact them.  If someone like me, who is known to have paid higher prices for books, should happen to respond, the price will be higher than if someone else responds.  We don't play that game in the groups.  Time and time again, I have had to comment on these posts telling the members to read the rules and that we must have prices listed upfront.  This gets tiresome.

Here are some final thoughts from the present.  I now currently greatly dislike all of the series book selling groups on Facebook.  I gather that other people like the selling groups a lot, and I am happy for them.  However, I get nothing from them and find most everything about them to be obnoxious.  

I feel that way due to the people who are pushy or simply cannot follow rules.  They ruin the experience for me.  I buy my books on eBay, Amazon, AbeBooks, Biblio, and occasionally Etsy.  I sell my books on eBay and Etsy.  I don't need the Facebook selling groups, and I seldom visit them anymore.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

What Happened to Amy? by Jane Edwards and Blue Treasure by Helen Girvan

In What Happened to Amy? by Jane Edwards, Joyce Farrell takes a job as the secretary to a famous author, Miss Penrose.  Miss Penrose's previous secretary, Amy Dekker, suddenly quit and eloped.  As Joyce learns more, she begins to suspect that Amy's disappearance involved foul play.

Miss Penrose reads the first chapter of her upcoming book at a town social event.  Hours after Miss Penrose and Joyce return home, a fire breaks out in the room where the manuscript is kept.  The manuscript burns up, leaving Miss Penrose and Joyce devastated.  Joyce wonders whether something in that chapter worried someone and could be a clue to some nefarious activity.  Joyce begins to search for Amy Dekker.

This book reads much like an old Nancy Drew book.  In fact, the climax of the book is rather similar to a portion of an old Nancy Drew story.  It's best not to say which one, since doing so would reveal what happened to Amy.

This is an extremely good and very engaging story.

In Blue Treasure by Helen Girvan, Anne McClure inherits a property in Bermuda.  She isn't even related to the former owner, but nevertheless, the property will be hers provided that she lives there for one year.  Soon after Anne and her family arrive, relatives to the former owner make themselves known and promise that Anne will not end up inheriting the property.

Anne soon learns that a missing Vermeer painting may be located on the property, and she begins searching for it.  Meanwhile, the unpleasant relatives also search for the painting and cause mishaps on the property, hoping to drive Anne away.

The location of the missing Vermeer is very easy to guess, and the mystery is quite mild.  However, the story is very interesting and pleasant to read.  The book was originally published in 1937 and reads in a similar fashion to Augusta Huiell Seaman's books of the 1930s.  I greatly enjoyed it.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

When Midnight Comes and Beware of This Shop by Carol Beach York

In When Midnight Comes, Joan's cousin Wilma comes to stay with the Bridgeport family.  Wilma is fat, plain, and will not talk.  Joan and the rest of the family feel very uncomfortable around her.  Soon after Wilma arrives, strange things happen.  The back door is left open one day, and the Bridgeports' cat disappears.  Mrs. Bridgeport develops insomnia, and Emily must sleep with her light on.  The grandfather clock that doesn't work begins ticking during the night.  The entire family is spooked, but Wilma remains unresponsive.  Joan desperately wants Wilma to return to her home.

In Beware of This Shop, Isabel buys a ring in a gift shop, while Hester purchases a small figurine.  Hester notices that the figurine is no longer pretty once she gets home with it, and she feels that the figurine is giving her nightmares.  Hester breaks the figurine and immediately feels better.

Hester visits Isabel to find her deathly ill.  Hester gets the ring away and destroys it, and Isabel recovers quickly.  Unfortunately, the townspeople continue to visit the gift shop, and soon, the store owner manipulates Hester into working for him.  Hester fears for her life, but she cannot figure out how to break the spell.

Both of these books would have fit in well with the Dark Forces and Twilight Where Darkness Begins series, which were both published at around the same time as these two books.  If you enjoy either of those series, then you will most likely enjoy these books.  I greatly enjoyed both of them.

I have sampled a few other books by Carol Beach York, and I did not like them.  This is an author where some books are great and others are not that good.