Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The Marjorie Dean High School Series and College Series

Josephine Chase wrote the Marjorie Dean books under the pseudonym of Pauline Lester.  The books were published by A. L. Burt.  The Marjorie Dean series is split into three smaller sets of books:  the High School Series, the College Series, and the Post-Graduate Series.

The Marjorie Dean High School series consists of the following four books.

1.  Marjorie Dean, High School Freshman, 1917
2.  Marjorie Dean, High School Sophomore, 1917
3.  Marjorie Dean, High School Junior, 1917
4.  Marjorie Dean, High School Senior, 1917

I do not care to try to write summaries of the individual books, so instead, this is an overview of the set.

Marjorie Dean moves to a new city.  She begins high school and becomes close friends with Jerry, Connie, and several other girls.  Mignon is the class bully, and she hates Marjorie.  Mignon causes most of Marjorie's problems throughout the four-book set.

Mignon is bitter and awful all the way through the set until near the end of the fourth book, when she has a sudden awakening.  The awakening is sudden, forced, and not realistic at all.

These books are overall interesting, but they do have some boring parts.  Marjorie Dean, Sophomore is really good, but then the last one-third of the book drags.  Marjorie Dean, Junior is extremely boring at the start due to an unnecessarily lengthy farewell to a visitor.  The story then gets good.

I enjoyed all four books, except for the boring parts which I just skipped over.

The Marjorie Dean College Series consists of the following books.

1.  Marjorie Dean, College Freshman, 1922
2.  Marjorie Dean, College Sophomore, 1922
3.  Marjorie Dean, College Junior, 1922
4.  Marjorie Dean, College Senior, 1922

In these books, Marjorie and her friends attend Hamilton College.  Their rival is now Leslie Cairns, who is pretty awful.  Marjorie is known as the beauty of the college, and everyone loves her, except for Leslie and her allies.  Marjorie has a great desire to know more about the founder of Hamilton College, Brooke Hamilton, and she finally becomes friendly with Hamilton's niece, elderly Miss Susanna.

While I really enjoy the parts of the stories that center around Leslie Cairns, I find most of the rest to be a bit boring.  The first 80 pages of Marjorie Dean, College Freshman, bored me due to excessive reminiscing.  A portion of Marjorie Dean, College Junior bored me when I had to endure a party that was described in excruciating detail.

I skipped parts of each of these books.  I enjoyed the portions that I did read.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Review of the Manuscript for Dana Girls #18 Strange Identities

In 1979, the last hardcover Nancy Drew book, #56 The Thirteenth Pearl, was published by Grosset and Dunlap.  The rights to publish new titles went to Simon and Schuster, which continued the numbering with #57, publishing the new titles in softcover Wanderer editions.

The last hardcover Dana Girls book, #17 The Witch's Omen, was published by Grosset and Dunlap in 1979.  Simon and Schuster planned to continue the Dana Girls series in softcover Wanderer editions, but the plan never came to fruition.

In Nancy Drew #58, The Flying Saucer Mystery, the Dana Girls are mentioned.  Nancy doesn't have time to solve a mystery, so she suggests that the Dana Girls solve it.  This was a cross-promotion for the softcover continuation of the Dana Girls series that never came to be.

Strange Identities was the proposed 18th book in the 2nd Dana Girls series, which would have been issued as a Wanderer softcover book.  The draft manuscript of Strange Identities used to be online but appears to have been taken down.  This review is based on a cleaned-up version of the draft manuscript, which I saved from a now-defunct Yahoo! group. 

According to James Keeline, the draft manuscript of Strange Identities was written by Camilla McClave, daughter of Harriet Adams.

In Strange Identities, Brenda Trowbridge wants the Dana Girls to help her locate her missing twin sister.  She originally asked Nancy Drew to solve the case, but Nancy suggested that the Dana Girls take it.  Brenda tells Jean and Louise that her sister, Bonny, was kidnapped when the girls were three years old.  Both girls had matching dolls that were designed to look like them.  Brenda's doll has blonde hair, and Bonny's doll had dark hair.  Brenda still has her doll, and she hopes that her sister still has hers.  During the search, the girls have Brenda wear a dark wig so that she will look like her sister.

An odd statement made by Brenda is that she just wants to find her twin because of a deadline concerning their inheritance.  She has supposedly never before had any desire to find her sister.  I find this rather odd that a twin wouldn't care about finding her missing twin.

A woman named Dame Ryerson has ESP.  She suggests that the girls meditate about their mysteries, and the girls proceed to follow her suggestion.  Jean apparently is clairvoyant and comes up with quite a few clues through meditation.  The girls conclude that Jean is indeed psychic and are enthused that this will really help them solve mysteries.

Jean dreams about the number 17.  The psychic tells the girls to "watch number 17."  The girls learn that a girl who looks like Brenda but is instead a brunette was seen on a parade float with men dressed as the numbers one, seven, seven, and six to make up the date 1776.  This is rather stupid.  Anyway, later in the story, a boat is named "17," and the girls go to Disco 17.

A woman in the town's health department is named Miss Trask.

The girls are warned not to get on a certain boat.  Jean meditates and retrieves the name of the boat.  The girls decide not to go on that boat, which then explodes.  This proves that Jean is clairvoyant.

Louise says, "One little bomb shouldn't scare us off the case."

Uncle Ned tells the girls some stories that have been passed down through the generations.  He relates a story about an encounter with cannibals.

This book has some really stupid plot points, but that did not decrease my enjoyment.  I wish this book had been published.  It would have been a good companion book to The Flying Saucer Mystery, which is a really crazy Nancy Drew book.  Strange Identities is just as crazy.  So long as I am entertained, books do not necessarily have to make sense.

I also don't care that Jean Dana suddenly has psychic ability.  In fact, Jean having psychic ability is logical considering how many psychics appear in the later Dana Girls books of the original set.  Not only that, but the Danas often think in unison without speaking, so they must have psychic ability.  Either that, or the girls are robots.

I love this story and consider it to be very good to excellent.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Thinning Out Impulsive Purchases from Years Ago

I first began collecting series books in 1991.  An old post of mine will explain how and why I began collecting series books.

Where It All Began

In those early days, I acquired books from garage sales, thrift stores, antique stores, and used book stores.  Garage sales were especially fun, since the books were cheap.  A wide variety of old books were available.  I was only interested in finding Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden books, but I was so enamored with the idea of collecting old books that I purchased many cheap old books that I found.  The books I purchased were on all subjects, a little bit of everything. 

As I expanded my series book collection to include many additional series, I gradually let go of most of those books purchased in the early days.  A few of them still linger here and there, scattered around the house out of sight in various places, not shelved with my other books.  I was able to find four of them in the garage on a shelf and photographed them.  These books represent the type of random book that I purchased in the early 1990s.

These particular books date from the late 19th century up to around 1910 to 1915.  I used to have at least 200 to 300 books like these.  I gradually sold them in the late 1990s and early 2000s. 

I expect that many collectors start wide and narrow down their focus as they go much deeper into collecting the books that they like the best.  Most of us have to narrow down our focus since we simply do not have enough room for everything. 

While I did quit acquiring random old books, I rapidly expanded the number of vintage series books that I collected during the 2000s.  Some of the books I decided to acquire were not wise decisions.  Grace Harlowe was one of those unwise decisions.  I'll mention more about Grace Harlowe in a future post.

In 2014, I expanded my collection into boys' series, and I gradually realized that some of the series I collected in the 2000s were probably not sets that I would ever be able to read.  I enjoyed boys' series more than I ever thought I would, and I concluded that some of those girls' series sets would likely be too boring for me.  I continued to hold onto all of those sets, however.  There was always a chance that I just might someday read them.

I also expanded my collection to include nearly 1,000 international edition series books and well over 1,000 library edition series books.  Therefore, I have been very short on space for the last five years.  I have acquired some more shelves, but I filled them very quickly.

When I first started collecting international editions, I bought pretty much every series book that came up for sale.  I have greatly expanded my Nancy Drew international editions in the last five years, so I have begun to thin out the other series.  I have sold all of my boys' series international editions.  I have sold all of my Vicki Barr and Cherry Ames international editions.  I sold most of my Dana Girls French editions in recent months.  I have sold some of my Trixie Belden international editions.

I now have such a large quantity of Nancy Drew international editions that I am content mainly to focus on them.  By selling some of the other international editions, I free up shelf space.

I also have debated back and forth about those series books purchased in the 2000s that I have never read.  I recently listed my Grace Harlowe books for sale.  Last weekend, I listed my Motor Girls and Dorothy Dale books.  I am never going to read them, so why keep them?

Most of these old series will not sell on Etsy, so I must list all of them on eBay.  I am limited in how much I can have for sale at any given time since I only get 250 allotted free listings on eBay each month.  I ran my recent 20% off sale in order to avoid an overage in fees for October.  I estimated that I would have to pay an overage on around 45 listings if the books didn't sell first.

Yesterday morning, I realized that I had avoided the October overage, and that I was actually going to be three listings short of using my 250 free listings.  Right after I made that observation, I saw that eBay had granted me 500 additional free listings good if used within the next few days.  Just when I think I've pulled free of the dreaded overage, eBay pulls me back in!

Of course, I had to use some of the 500 free listings, which will likely cause an overage in November.  I'll worry about that in November.

Since I suddenly had extra listings, I got busy listing some of my books.  I have listed my entire set of Shirley Flight books in individual listings.  I also listed a few of Capwell Wyckoff's books and the last six of my Dana Girls French editions.

I had another set pulled down and was going to list those books.  I'm going to keep those a bit longer and try to read them.  There is also another set, really collectible books in jackets that I do not think I will ever read.  I may sell those sometime soon.  I do not wish to state either series name at this time.

Check out my eBay listings for my Grace Harlowe, Motor Girls, Dorothy Dale, Shirley Flight, and French Dana Girls books.

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay

I also have books on Etsy.

Jennifer's Series Books on Etsy

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Dana Girls #17 The Witch's Omen

In Dana Girls #17, The Witch's Omen, two men dressed as a witch and a scarecrow crash Jean and Louise's Halloween party and start a fire in a closet.  The witch warns the girls that he is the keeper of the storm petrel.  Valuable petrels begin disappearing, and the girls work on finding the culprits.

On page 5, Jean and Aunt Harriet look for clues.

On page 6, the guests flee because of the fire in the closet.  I have always loved Louise's response.  "Oh, please don't go.  We have so much to eat."

The kids quit coming to the Danas' house for treats because word of the fire had gotten around to everyone.  I think the opposite would actually be true, at least for any kids not with their parents.  The parents might avoid the house because of the fire, but the kids would love to get in on the action.  In today's social media world, the Danas' house would be swamped with people trying to get video in order to post it online.

On page 7, Aunt Harriet is described as a "lovely, motherly person."  This amuses me, simply because I just know that Harriet Adams was describing herself.

On page 14, Aunt Harriet discovers that Uncle Ned's expensive barometer is missing.  Aunt Harriet is the one who calls the police.

On pages 49 and 50, some birds have been stolen from a bird collector's home.  The girls are told that "someone broke in and left three vicious cats" in the room to maul the birds that were not stolen.  I found that statement kind of amusing.  Cats are just cats.  However, they would by default be vicious if they see something that they want to chase.

On page 51, Jean concludes that the "thief must have had the cats in a bag or container."  A bag?  What a horrifying thought.  It can be near impossible to get the average cat into a cat carrier.  I am picturing a heavy burlap bag, but even so, having a cat in a bag sounds rather scary.  I wouldn't want to be carrying a thrashing cat in a bag.  Yikes.

On page 73, the reader learns that the girls have a break from Starhurst School because the school was flooded.  I'm just glad that the girls didn't go to Europe.

On page 84, Louise notices that a phone is unplugged from the wall.  She is surprised that the phone uses a jack instead of being permanently installed.  During my entire life, every landline phone (aside from pay phones) that I recall seeing has used a jack, so I don't think use of a jack is odd at all.

As I read through the book, I thought about how stupid it was for the men to set the Danas' closet on fire, since the fire alerted them to the mystery.  I had to laugh on page 176 when one of the men agrees that it was stupid to start the fire.  Awesome!

This is an overall good book, but I was bored with most of the second half.  The story has too many culprits, and the business with petrels is a bit stupid.

I consider the final four Dana Girls books to be overall better reading than the final five Trixie Belden books.  The Trixie Belden series has a much more precipitous decline in quality towards the end of the series, since a large portion of the Trixie Belden set is actually pretty good.  Reading the final Trixie Belden books is a rather disappointing and jarring experience as compared to the earlier books. 

The Dana Girls series is a bit odd from start to finish and is a bit mediocre during the entire second half of the set.  The final Dana Girls books provide about the same level of craziness as one expects from the Dana Girls series, and these books are actually overall better than some of the earlier Dana Girls books, such as most of #19-24 in the original set. 

I cautioned in my introductory post for the Dana Girls reviews that my reviews for the later books in the series would be much different from what others think.  I do not find the final Dana Girls books to be anywhere near as bad as most other people say that they are.  Certainly the books have problems and are extremely strange, but I found the final books to be mostly enjoyable to read.

I will close out my Dana Girls reviews with a review of the unpublished manuscript for what would have been Dana Girls #18 Strange Identities.  As far as I know, I am the only person who likes Strange Identities.  I think it's awesome. 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Dana Girls #16 Mountain-Peak Mystery

In Dana Girls #16, Mountain-Peak Mystery, Tammi Hodge has recently lost her grandfather.  She is now alone in her house at the top of the mountain, except for an unfriendly woman who is acting as her guardian.  Tammi is searching for her grandfather's lost manuscript, which is supposed to have value.  Other people who are looking for the manuscript try to harm Tammi and the Danas.

The "Aunt Harriet Mystery Stories" series continues.  Aunt Harriet makes a lot of the decisions in this story.  She helps investigate the house and discovers some of the clues.  On page 101, Louise asks, "What are you going to do next, Aunt Harriet?"

The mountain is somewhere near Oak Falls and is a dormant volcano.  While dormant volcanoes are scattered around in lots of places, I find it funny that a dormant volcano suddenly exists near Oak Falls, Penfield, and Starhurst.  It seems to be in a rural area away from other homes.  For this reason, all the activity around the dormant volcano is a bit strange.

On pages 58 through 61, Jean and Louise are worried about a package that has appeared under a tree near the beginning of the road that leads up the mountain.  The police are called.  When the officers arrive, they ask why the girls are suspicious of the package.  Um, because a package under a tree in the middle of nowhere is not normal.  It turns out that the package contains bottles of acid.

Also rather strange is that young boys come along on foot and head up the road to the house in order to sell cookies for a fundraiser.  Why do a fundraiser on foot in the middle of a rural area?  Wouldn't a housing subdivision near the town be more fruitful?

This is an overall good book, and I enjoyed reading it.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Dana Girls #15 The Hundred-Year Mystery

In Dana Girls #15, The Hundred-Year Mystery, Jean and Louise are asked to solve a mystery at Beacon College.  Their uncle, Phil Kenmore, asks the girls to help him find John Beacon's missing codicil, which states the location of a missing treasure.  Viking lore is important at Beacon College, and the girls follow clues given through Viking symbols.

It's strange how the girls suddenly have this other uncle who has never been mentioned before.

On page 1, Ken Scott tells the girls that they "are always gadding off" to solve a mystery.  Use of "gadding off" or "gadding about" was quite uncommon in the late 20th century and continues to be uncommon.  "Gadding" shows up frequently in old literature, not in books of the late 20th century.  This is a case of Harriet Adams showing her age.

On page 12, the Danas are in a helicopter that appears to be about to crash.  "They hoped the terrific jolt would not knock them unconscious, so they could not swim.  But if they did manage to swim to shore, what about their baggage?  Would all their clothes and jewelry sink to the bottom of the harbor?"

The girls are worried about their clothes and jewelry?  If I were in a helicopter that was about to crash, I would be more concerned about being killed than about my clothing.

On page 19, the girls don't know what a gazebo is.  "Louise and Jean puckered their brows, trying to remember what a gazebo was."  After Deb explains, Jean replies, "I'm glad you explained."  This is awkward and makes the girls look dumb.

Actually, the girls probably are dumb.  After all, in the previous book, they did take a nap face down in a shallow pit on a beach.

That aside, this is another example of Harriet Adams explaining something that probably didn't need to be explained.  Or just in case, the gazebo could have been described quite naturally as part of the text as the girls walk up to it without them asking what it is.  That way, any readers who don't recognize the word would learn what it is.

I found a mistake in the book.  On page 63, Hoppy Canfield is in the hospital.  On page 73, a rock is thrown on the roof of the house in which the girls are staying.  On page 99, Hoppy Canfield is still in the hospital and has not left the hospital at any point.  He admits to the girls that he threw the rock on the roof.  Hmm.

The girls actually climb a rocky cliff while barefoot after they lose their shoes in the water.

This is a very good book.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Dana Girls #14 The Curious Coronation

The Curious Coronation was the first new Dana Girls book after the second hiatus in the publication of the series.  17 books were dropped from the series, and 13 titles were reprinted in the new edition during the 1970s.  The previous title, #30 The Phantom Surfer, was first published eight years before this new book, which became #14 in the new set.

In Dana Girls #14, The Curious Coronation, Jean and Louise receive eight invitations to a teen beauty competition in Newport Beach.  The girls figure out that the duplicate invitations contain a hidden message.  Meanwhile, the crown disappears as well as one of the contestants.  In a seemingly unrelated case, Evelyn Starr gets into a wreck in Newport Beach and is accused of causing it.

With this story, the Dana Girls series enters a bizarre new world in which Aunt Harriet takes a very active role in solving the mysteries.  At times, Aunt Harriet's role is more prominent than the girls'.  In this book, Aunt Harriet makes phone calls to obtain needed information.  She gives suggestions on what the girls should do next.  She finds Franklin Starr for Evelyn.  Aunt Harriet finds the owner of a plane, and she solves the coded message in the invitations.  We might as well begin calling the series the "Aunt Harriet Mystery Stories."

Harriet Adams was well into her eighties when this book was written, and she apparently enjoyed making her namesake the center of the stories.

On page 74, the girls' hands turn green and swell up from a supposed poison that was on the fake crown.  A doctor is called on the telephone, and he says for the girls to douse their hands in gasoline.  This is odd advice in the first place, and even worse, the doctor has no idea what kind of poison is involved since the consultation is by telephone.  Gasoline is then brought inside the house and is poured into a basin.  Gasoline should never be brought inside a house!

Professor Ching has a book with a photograph of a phoenix.  The girls think that they can get some information from the photographer.  They track him down, and he just happens to be staying at their hotel in Newport Beach.  What are the odds?

On pages 93 and 94, the girls decide to take a nap face down on the beach in a shallow pit that somebody had dug.  This is a bit... strange.  Anyway, someone comes along and dumps a load of wet sand on them!  Since this book is not the last book in the Dana Girls series, you can figure out whether the girls survive.  However, this would have been a good opportunity to get rid of the girls and rename the series the "Aunt Harriet Mystery Stories."

From page 131: "The remark gave Aunt Harriet's spine a tingling sensation from top to bottom."  Reading that statement gives me a weird sensation.

The beauty pageant has an Asian ("Asiatic" in the book) theme.  A girl from South Korea is competing, and she is clearly the best contestant after Sally.  Since the theme is Asian, the girl from South Korea ought to win.  However, this would somehow be a disaster.  Sally is missing, and Sally must be located so that she can win instead of the Asian girl.  This seems a bit racist, especially considering the pageant's theme.

This book is of the type that is so bad that it is good.  The book is bizarre but entertaining.  I enjoyed it.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Many Books Listed on eBay + 20% Off Most Books on eBay and Etsy

I have just listed all of the books seen in these photos on eBay.

Some of these books are listed at fire sale prices.  These are books from my collection, and most of them have been in my possession for 10 to 15 years.

I have also placed most of my books on eBay and Etsy at 20% off. 

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay

Jennifer's Series Books on Etsy

The only books not on sale on eBay are the ones I just listed, and some other Grace Harlowe books that I recently listed.  I priced the new listings low, and the previously-listed Grace Harlowe books were reduced in price yesterday.  That's why those books are not on sale. 

All books on Etsy are on sale.

On both sites, orders of $35 or more will receive free shipping to United States addresses.

The sale ends on October 26, 2019.  If you see this post after October 26, 2019, the sale prices will no longer be in effect.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Finding a Middle Ground to Discuss CW's Nancy Drew

A few days ago, I wrote about last week's Nancy Drew Fan Meltdown.  I explained how I decided not to allow discussion of Nancy Drew's sex life in the Facebook group that I moderate.  I had already created a scheduled post for discussion of the second episode.

On Wednesday, I second-guessed myself on how to handle the situation.  This happened because of another post someone created on that day that then resulted in some argumentative and unfortunate comments made by group members.  I was very worried about how my scheduled discussion post was going to be perceived and was very worried about how negative some members might be.

I suggested that members refrain from being negative in the post, and that caused members to threaten to leave the group.  People don't realize that threatening to leave a group does not have any effect on the moderators.  If those people leave, then they take their unhappiness with them.  That's actually not a problem.

Aside from that, I was just trying to create an environment where members can calmly discuss the show.  I didn't wish to censor the opinions of others, but people do need to remain calm and rational.  And regardless, they cannot discuss the sex since that leads to a debate about morality which then leads to religion.  People of varying backgrounds simply cannot rationally discuss morality and religion.

After I realized that censoring negative comments would create a bad environment in the group, I next decided to create two posts, one for the show and one against the show.  Fortunately, I came to my senses before it was too late.  I didn't need to create two posts and double the impact on the group.  I decided to stick with the original plan of one post and hoped that the people who hate the show would let others discuss it calmly.

In the meantime, I was told more than once that the group is about books, so the television show is outside of the focus.  I was also told that the Nancy Drew television show discussion should be in the Nancy Drew group instead.  Let's consider both points.

The group is about books, so the television show is outside of the focus.

If the group is only about books, then all filmed versions of Nancy Drew are outside of the group's focus.  And what about the Nancy Drew lunchbox and the collectibles based on the Pamela Sue Martin television series?  If we start banning filmed versions of Nancy Drew, do we also ban the collectibles based on those versions?

We will either allow all filmed versions of Nancy Drew, or we will ban all of them.  We will ban all or none.  What these people really want is for me to disallow the 2019 CW show from being discussed while allowing all previous versions.

Did you know that I strongly dislike the Bonita Granville Nancy Drew movies?  That is, I strongly dislike the only one that I have seen.  I dislike it so much that I have never watched the other three.  Whenever those movies are discussed, I barely glance at the comments.  I am uninterested.  I don't think people would want me to ban discussion of that version simply because I don't like it.  However, they want me to ban discussion of the 2019 show because they don't like it.

A few of them might also argue, "But the 2019 CW Nancy Drew show is too much of a departure from the books."  Actually, it isn't.  The show is a combination of the Nancy Drew Files and Nancy Drew On Campus series.  In the On Campus series, George Fayne has sex.

The Nancy Drew television show discussion should be in the Nancy Drew group.

If we use this argument, then Nancy Drew books should not be discussed in the group, either.  After all, we have a separate forum for Nancy Drew.  We might as well kick out Judy Bolton, Trixie Belden, the Hardy Boys, and a few others while we are at it.  They all have separate groups.

Neither suggestion is viable since both use flawed logic.  The suggestions were made just to try to get the 2019 show out of the group.

We are not going to selectively ban discussion of any version of Nancy Drew.  People are trying to wear me down, but I am not giving in.  This is a Nancy Drew show.  We will allow discussion, like it or not.

So, I went with my one discussion post and hoped for the best.  A few complaints popped up immediately, but this has—to this point—worked out far better than I expected.  It could become a disaster at any time, but we are managing to get along so far.  The people who hate the show can't say why since they can't mention the sex.  This seems to be keeping them to a low level of complaints, since the sex seems to be the main issue.

The people who don't like the show because of the sex are very unhappy that they cannot discuss their grievances.  One of them referred to not being able to say why and that it "hardly seems fair."  In a moderated forum, rules have to be followed for the general good.  We learned last week that allowing the sexual content of the show to be discussed without limit caused arguments about morality and religion.  Some members openly announced how much the comments offended them.  We simply cannot maintain a calm environment with that in the groups; therefore, we cannot allow discussion of the sex.

The original guidelines on my discussion post were these.

1. You are not allowed to discuss Nancy Drew's sex life or that of any other characters in the show. Any comments mentioning sex or using a euphemism to refer to sex will be deleted.

2. You may discuss any aspect of the show other than the sex scenes.

3. You may not resort to insults or attempt to bully someone else into changing their opinion.

I found last night that the rule against mentioning the sex had an unintended consequence, so I had to add another guideline to the discussion.

4. Avoid being combative. Play nice. Don't criticize someone's opinion.

What happened was that a couple of people said that they didn't like the show.  One person called it "rubbish."  No reason was given.  Someone got combative and said that the other person should say why they didn't like the show.  It turned out that the person who called the show "rubbish" was following the first guideline and couldn't say why.  The second person was out of line for trying to force the first person to say why, when that would have caused a rule to be broken.

On the surface, we seem to be getting along okay.  However, we have lost some members.  Three members left because of what happened on Sunday, detailed in my previous post.  At least two members have left since Wednesday's discussion post appeared in the group.  I had to remove one member after he defied me and bleated at me like a sheep, "Baaaah!"  At least six people are now gone from the group.

By the way, I do understand that for some people, sex in the show is intolerable, and they cannot watch the show for that reason.  Each person has to make a decision on what is best for their own general well being.  I can ignore that aspect of the show, and I want to see how the story plays out.  I also strongly desire to read the opinions of like-minded fans, hence my desire to have a calm place to discuss the show.  Those who do not like having a discussion post about the show in the group should ignore it just as I ignore the discussions about the Bonita Granville movies.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Dana Girls #30 The Phantom Surfer

In Dana Girls #30, The Phantom Surfer, a bunch of Starhurst students spend their spring vacation at Horizon, on the coast.  Jean and Louise witness a lumber theft and are shocked that the police chief does not care.  The girls witness other strange behavior, including the phantom surfer, who appears on the water at night.

Harriet Adams tried really hard to make this book hip by using words and phrases like "far out," "groovy," "cool," "jazzed," and "stoked."  A surfer is named Bing.  So groovy, man.

This book is the final volume in the original set.  The 2nd series set from the 1970s adds four new titles to the series, #14-17 in that set.  This volume has the final appearance of Lettie Briggs, who does not appear in #14-17 in the 2nd series set.  She does appear in some of #1-13 in the 2nd series set, which were originally titles from this set.

On page 28, the Danas need to call the police.  They go up to a house, and a young girl answers the door.  The girl does not want to let the teens into the house since she is not supposed to let strangers in.  The Danas finally convince the girl to let them in.  This scene doesn't sit well with me.  It's sending the wrong message to young readers.

From page 34:  "Like four giant grasshoppers the Danas and their escorts leaped into the air."  Did Harriet get into some more crack?

On pages 39 and 40, Jean, Louise, Chris, and Ken are walking back to the hotel across the sand dunes.  The girls are really struggling with their high heels.  The boys end up quite a ways ahead of the girls, but they do come back after they hear Louise cry out while sliding down a dune.  The boys certainly aren't very chivalrous.  I'm surprised that they go way ahead, and to heck with whether the girls are okay.

On page 58, a wailing sound is heard.  Ken suggests that it might be the wind, but the Danas are skeptical.  I'm glad that they are a least a little smarter than they were during The Portrait in the Sand.

On page 60, the young people are at the top of an old lighthouse, leaning on the old rail.  Part of the rail breaks, causing Louise to fall.  They should have known not to lean against an old rail.

This book is overall very good, but I grew bored towards the end and skimmed the last few chapters.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The Big Nancy Drew Fan Meltdown of 2019

On September 9, I wrote, "We are one month away from what could be the big Nancy Drew fan meltdown of 2019."  The original draft title of that post was "The Big Nancy Drew Fan Meltdown of 2019."  I changed it to "Figuring Out My Nancy Drew" after I decided on the approach I wanted to take.  That worked out well, since the title remained available for the actual meltdown.

The Nancy Drew fan meltdown played out exactly as I expected.  Fans could not deal with Nancy Drew having sex, so they went into complete hysteria over the show.  It was quite bad and rather embarrassing.  And it's not over.  I assume that Nancy will continue to have sex each week, and if so, the meltdown will continue for months.  How splendid.

Those of us who have been active in the online forums since the late 1990s and have been subscribers to series book magazines such as Yellowback Library did not have a meltdown.  Several expressed the opinion that they would have preferred for the sex not to have been in the show but stated that they enjoyed the show.  That is my opinion as well.  At least one of these fans is very against the sex but did not have a meltdown over it.  These fans are almost always very reasonable and grounded in their views about Nancy Drew and modern projects.  We want Nancy Drew to remain viable and understand that she will be modernized for current and future generations whether we like it or not.

Other fans were extremely angry, so much so that I question why they have so much anger over a fictional character being depicted as having sex in a fictional show.  We are talking about extreme anger.  They act like their lives have been ruined by the pilot episode of the Nancy Drew television series.

In fact, a few people actually stated that the show has ruined Nancy Drew for them, that it has ruined all of the books or ruined all of their memories of Nancy Drew.  This is a bit extreme.

Some people said that those of us who enjoyed the show are not "true Nancy Drew fans."  Honestly, that statement could be turned around to say that people who didn't enjoy the show are not "true Nancy Drew fans."  However, that would be mean.  There is nothing wrong with liking or not liking the show.  The problem is that people cannot seem to accept differing opinions.

Several people were cussing, calling Nancy Drew and other fans obscene names.

Some fans have the opinion that the television show is not like any Nancy Drew book.  I assume those people have only read the original 56 books.  The television show is like a combination of the Nancy Drew Files and the Nancy Drew On Campus series.

If you are thinking, but wait!  Nancy Drew didn't have sex in the books.  I don't believe that Nancy Drew ever did in the Nancy Drew On Campus series, but George Fayne certainly did!  Having sexual content in a filmed version of Nancy Drew is not a complete departure from the books.  At least, the Nancy Drew On Campus series did include sex.

Many people are also offended simply because Nancy Drew is not like their idea of Nancy Drew, as in "not my Nancy Drew."  One person announced that she was starting a campaign called #notmynancy.  That person also cussed a lot.

Normally, we can escape into our series book discussions and ignore the craziness in the world.  Finally, that craziness has invaded our safe place.  I never thought I would have to create this Facebook group rule:  You are no longer allowed to discuss Nancy Drew's sex life in this group.

That rule isn't something I just thought up because of what happened this weekend in a group I moderate.  Not at all.

Back in February, a digital copy of the script of the show's pilot episode was shared with me.  I knew that the sexual content was going to be quite problematic, but I didn't have an answer for how to handle it at that time.

It was during the summer that the average fan began to learn about the sexual content of the show via some online articles.  The reaction was quite negative but not a full meltdown.  It was then that I decided that I would ban all discussion of the show's sexual content in the group that I moderate.  I did not tell anyone about that decision, but I had a firm resolve that I would not allow fans to fight about the sexual content.

I originally was going to warn fans of my decision in the one to two weeks before the first episode aired.  I ended up not doing that.  Ultimately, I decided to keep quiet about my unannounced new rule until the negativity began invading the group.  I wanted to let the members see for themselves why the new rule was necessary.

Oddly, it took a little more than three days for the inappropriate comments to begin in that group.  The meltdown had been in full swing in another group for those three days.  Once the comments in the group I moderate began to deteriorate, I pulled the plug, stating that members cannot discuss Nancy Drew's sex life.

That decision was mine and mine alone.  I don't care if some members hate the rule.  I am so firm in my resolve that the rule is the right decision that I do not care in the slightest who disagrees or how angry they are.  I made the decision months ago, and I stand behind it.  Those of us who do not want to read complaints about sex outside of marriage ad nauseam needed for a rule to be in place.  If people want to complain about Nancy Drew having sex, then there are a number of places online where that can be done.  I suggest complaining directly to The CW.  I don't want to hear about it.

And yes, there are at least three people who are so against the new rule that they left the group.  Two of those people were regular, active participants in the group.  It's odd to give up access and all future participation in a group about vintage children's books simply because one wants to preach about the immorality of sex outside of marriage.  I don't get it.

While I would prefer that the sex not be in the show, I can ignore it.  That is what I did last week, and I will continue to do so.  The show has an intriguing mystery, and I look forward to seeing how it plays out.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Dana Girls #29 The Secret of the Minstrel's Guitar

In Dana Girls #29, The Secret of the Minstrel's Guitar, Jean and Louise travel to Europe on the Balaska with their friend, Isabel Sarmento, and her father.  Mr. Sarmento has asked the Danas to help him figure out who is stealing cork from his warehouse.  During the journey, people keep trying to steal a guitar from a young performer.

I was so thrilled to learn all about cork.  So riveting!

Actually, I skipped that part.

My sole desire at this point is for the Dana Girls to stay off the Balaska and out of Europe.  The Winking Ruby Mystery and The Secret of the Swiss Chalet are both set in Europe and are so boring.  This book is also boring!

A gypsy fortune teller appears on page 89.  This is the third consecutive title in the series to feature a character with supposed psychic ability.

I was bored with this book from the very beginning, but I managed to reach the halfway point where I quit the book.  I do not like this book.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Dana Girls #28 Mystery of the Wax Queen

In Dana Girls #28, Mystery of the Wax Queen, Jean and Louise stay with Cousin Cynthia in New York City while they work on a mystery involving two wax queens.  A woman known as the "Wax Queen" makes wax busts.  She recently discovered a stolen bust of another wax queen, Queen Victoria, in her shop.  The Wax Queen hopes that the girls can help her prove that she is innocent of the theft.  Jean and Louise also work to bring to justice the people responsible for running a raffle ticket racket.

On page 14, the girls' "curiosity had been peaked."  The girls aren't "peaked," as in pale from fatigue.  Their curiosity has been "piqued," or stimulated.

Like The Secret of the Silver Dolphin, this book also has a psychic, the Wax Queen.  The predictions made by the Wax Queen are quite accurate, leaving no room for skepticism.  Harriet Adams clearly believed in psychic ability.

At the bottom of page 143, the Wax Queen begins to go into a history lesson about wax dolls.  At the top of page 144, "Louise interrupted gently to say that she would like to hear more about it later."  Awesome!  Harriet Adams had one of her own characters interrupt a history lesson.  She got in a tiny lesson, and then cut it short.  I love it.

This is a good book.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Dana Girls #27 The Secret of the Silver Dolphin

In Dana Girls #27, The Secret of the Silver Dolphin, a reward has been offered to anyone who can recover a lost silver dolphin.  Jean and Louise decide to try for the reward.  They become acquainted with Judy Platt, who is the heiress to whom the silver dolphin was willed.  The girls follow a series of clues that eventually lead them to Florida.

On pages 36 through 40, Judy brings the Danas a box that someone gave her to give to the Danas.  While Judy is on the porch with the box, a scorpion crawls out and is quickly killed.  The girls bring the box inside without checking for additional scorpions.  During a conversation, another scorpion crawls out of the box, causing another scare.  I don't understand why the box was brought inside or why it wasn't checked for more scorpions.

On page 42, Judy is quite upset.  Without anybody speaking, "Wisely, the whole family decided that for Judy's sake they should change the subject."  Apparently, the Danas have perfected their telepathic skills.

On page 76, the girls are at a suspect's apartment.  Jean randomly decides that under the cushion of the rocking chair would be the perfect place to hide something.  She checks and discovers some missing stock certificates.

On page 109, the Danas visit the Seaquarium.  While watching a dolphin, Jean decides to lean down and offer the dolphin a little plastic dolphin.  The dolphin grabs the toy and pulls Jean into the water.  On page 110, the trainer finds the entire escapade to be funny.  Jean should have been scolded for being an idiot, but instead the trainer winks and suggests adding that trick to the dolphin's act.

Sometimes Harriet Adams explains things that I'm not sure really need to be explained.  On page 140, Anne mentions, "We can always eat roots and berries, Mother, if push comes to shove."  The Dana Girls are puzzled, not understanding the phrase.  Anne explains, "If worst comes to worst.  That's how some of us Floridians say it."

The whole silver dolphin thing puzzled me.  As far as colors go, silver and gray are extremely similar.  I looked up dolphin colors, and silver is not one of the colors.  There is a pink dolphin, however, and a pink dolphin would have been more interesting in this story.

This book has a psychic in it.  The girls are skeptical, but Aunt Harriet fully believes everything that the psychic predicts.  Since Harriet Adams projected herself into Aunt Harriet, I conclude that Harriet Adams believed in the abilities of psychics.

The title of this book should have been The Search for the Silver Dolphin.  The story is all about the search, not about what the secret might be.

This is an overall good book, but I did get bored toward the end of the story.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Dana Girls #26 The Riddle of the Frozen Fountain

In Dana Girls #26, The Riddle of the Frozen Fountain, Starhurst is finally back in session after a recent damaging fire.  Actually, it seems like years have passed.  Professor Crandall has purchased an old fountain at an old estate, and he has been warned not to move it to Starhurst.  Jean and Louise investigate, discovering that the estate is plagued by prowlers and even a shaggy white gorilla man.  Jean and Louise feel certain that the fountain holds an important secret.

The shaggy white gorilla man shows up three different times.  I laughed each time, due to how ridiculous it sounds.

Jean and Louise are buried by a large amount of snow that slides off of a roof.  Later, Ken is hit by a sandbag.

Lettie is back to her old pranks in this story.

This book reads just like all of the early books in the series that are set at Starhurst.  It was so nice reading one last Dana Girls book which follows the premise of the early books.  Unfortunately, this is the final Dana Girls book set at Starhurst.

This is a very good book.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Dana Girls #25 The Mystery of the Stone Tiger

In Dana Girls #25, The Mystery of the Stone Tiger, the Danas finally return to Oak Falls.  Glory be!  The girls learn that a black-robed ghost roams around Oak Falls at night.  Louise and Jean's friend, Elise Hilary, asks them to help solve a mystery at her family's museum.  The black-robed prowler has been seen there as well.  Soon after the girls arrive home, their own house is plagued by prowlers.

The cover art of this book is my favorite Dana Girls cover art.  I love the colors and how the scene glows.

This book features a disgusting smarmy man named Emil Gifford.  On page 15, Emil is described as "about thirty years of age, short, and boyish looking.  He wore triangular-shaped sideburns which, Louise thought, gave him a silly look."  Horrors!

On page 104, the Danas are warned that a "buried curse" has been placed on them.  It seems a bit counterproductive for the culprit to warn the girls about the buried curse, since (ahem) the girls might dig up the buried curse.  That is exactly what happens.

The girls learn that a buried curse is always placed near the dwelling of the intended victims.  The girls go outside and find a patch of earth that has been disturbed.  Jean digs into the area and finds two wax heads of herself and Louise.  The interior illustration depicts the scene as quite creepy, since the faces look exactly like Jean and Louise.

This is a good to very good book.  After so much travel, it was a pleasure to have a mystery return to Oak Falls.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Dana Girls #24 The Secret of Lost Lake

In Dana Girls #24, The Secret of Lost Lake, the Danas' train is wrecked in the Rocky Mountains, and Baron, a valuable dog that the Danas are taking home to his owner, escapes and disappears.  The Danas leave the train to search for the dog and end up working on the mystery of the witch of Lost Lake.

The characters in books written by Harriet Adams make dumb statements.  On page 1, the Danas are told that they are in "dinosaur country."  Aunt Harriet asks, "Do you mean those mammoth prehistoric reptiles lived here?"  Seriously?  I guess Harriet Adams thought that her readers needed an explanation of what dinosaurs were.  Trust me, Harriet, all children know about dinosaurs.

On page 1, the theory about dinosaurs having been killed by glaciers is mentioned.  On page 82, the theory about volcanic ash causing the extinction is mentioned.  I especially recall the volcanic ash theory from my childhood.  Now, the accepted theory is that the mass extinction was caused by a large asteroid that hit the Yucat√°n Peninsula of Mexico.

On pages 21 and 22, Mr. Strong wants the girls to see an "interesting cave."  Jean asks, "You mean the formation is interesting?"  Say what?!  Does it matter why?  If someone wants to show me an "interesting cave," I'm going with it, no questions asked!  Mr. Strong replies, "No, it's what is inside."  More stupid dialogue follows.

On page 45, Jean digs a hole in a cave and finds an Indian headdress.  Jean proceeds to place the headdress on her head and dance around.  This is so wrong and for several reasons.  I am reminded of a similar scene involving a skeleton in Nancy Drew #52, The Secret of the Forgotten City.  Harriet Adams wrote that book as well.

On page 46, Louise digs up a pair of moccasins.  These girls are so lucky when it comes to finding artifacts.

On page 76, the Danas tumble down a hill in a landslide of rocks and dirt caused by an explosion.  Of course, they are just fine.

On page 79, the Danas find a dinosaur's backbone.  These girls make archaeology look easy!

On page 101, Jean sits on the back of a sheep and rides it as it runs.

On pages 106 through 108, the girls are menaced by a mountain lion.  Mr. Strong kills it for them.

This book is good to very good.  It is also quite stupid.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Dana Girls #23 The Sierra Gold Mystery

In Dana Girls #23, The Sierra Gold Mystery, the Danas fly into San Francisco, where Louise learns that her sapphire ring has been stolen.  Meanwhile, another traveler, Janet Crane, asks the girls to find her missing grandfather.  The girls visit Aunt Carol, who tells them about a buried chest of gold nuggets in gold country.  The girls have three mysteries to solve, so this book should have been called A Three-Cornered Mystery.  But wait, never mind...

On pages 17 and 18, the theory of the lost continent of Lemuria is presented as if fact.  The Lemurians are mentioned as giants who came to California and discovered gold.  What was Harriet Adams thinking?  The Stratemeyer Syndicate mystery books are typically strongly grounded in reality.  The lost continent of Lemuria and the Lemurian giants are not reality.  This is bizarre.

On pages 82 and 83, a man named Dusty holds back a landslide at a tunnel entrance with his body so that Janet can be rescued.  That is improbable enough, but then... After Janet is pulled out, Jean makes Dusty stay in place so that she can crawl inside and look around.  She doesn't get in a hurry, either.  This is dangerous and stupid.  Was Harriet on crack when she wrote this book?

The landslide scene reminds me of a scene from Sweet Valley High #115 and #116.  It's not good when a Dana Girls book reminds me of the Sweet Valley High Death Valley books, which I consider to be the worst books in that series.

I quit reading halfway through the book.  It's not that the book is necessarily bad.  I was a bit bored and just wasn't getting anything out of it.  I have better things to do.