Saturday, November 30, 2019

Promotional Items from the 2007 Nancy Drew Movie with Emma Roberts

I have made some nice recent purchases of promotional items and memorabilia associated with the Nancy Drew 2019 movie, Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase, and the 2019 Nancy Drew television show from The CW.  I will write up a post on those items once all of them have arrived.  Meanwhile, my recent purchases made me think of the 2007 movie with Emma Roberts.

In 2007, I was able to purchase a number of promotional items associated with the Emma Roberts movie.  I keep all of them in the bag seen in the next photo.

The bag was available for purchase at Barnes and Noble along with the items seen in the next photo.  Obviously, I purchased duplicates.

This next photo shows a small clutch, the press kit, the Emma Roberts cover of Nancy Drew's Guide to Life, and a metal tin that contains the Emma Roberts cover of Nancy Drew's Guide to Life.  Notice that the book in the tin has a magnifying glass attached, while the other one does not.

This last photo shows a Nancy Drew activity book, a sticker designed to be put on an iPod, a bookmark, three compacts, three pens/markers, a little spiral notebook, and a clue ball.

Sadly, the clue ball is leaking.  Fortunately, the plastic bag caught the fluid, and I now have the clue ball enclosed in a Ziploc bag.

I was disappointed that the clue ball is no longer functional.  I wanted to ask it who killed Lucy Sable.  What a shame.

There were also some other items associated with the Emma Roberts movie that I have not shown here.  I limited this post to what I keep in the bag, which is primarily the promotional items.

I will show off my swag for the 2019 productions once I have it all in hand.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Reading, Reviews, Medication, and Books Listed on eBay

This is a collection of several topics thrown together.

My reading pace continues to crawl.  Since I won't reach 200 books by the end of the year, I have no reason to try to reach any particular goal.  I recently set myself the task of choosing to read (or trying to read) books that I purchased one or more years ago that I have not managed to read.  It isn't going well.  The problem is that I don't want to read these books right now, but I am forcing myself to do so.  I have abandoned at least three of them halfway through.

I read seven books in October.  So far in November, I have read six books.  I might make it to seven... if I don't abandon the book that I am currently reading.

Since my reading pace has slowed down by a lot, I will begin spacing my reviews further apart.  That way I won't run out of reviews.  Look for reviews every three or four days.

I decided to follow up on what I mentioned about my autoimmune condition in my post about my reading pace slowdown.  I went through a difficult couple of months because Acella changed its NP Thyroid pills.  So much for the company's claim that the medication did not change at all... I now have proof that it did aside from the obvious change in appearance.

I had an appointment on Monday.  The NP Thyroid pill contains two thyroid hormones, T3 and T4.  My T3 level dropped somewhat, and my T4 level dropped significantly.  My levels are back to where they were back in the spring before my medication increase of earlier this year.  Whatever Acella did to the pill reduced the pill's efficacy by 50%.  I can now see why I've struggled for two months.  My levels were dropping precipitously during that time.

I also take a second thyroid medication, Tirosint, that gives me extra T4.  My Tirosint has been doubled to make up for the reduction in efficacy of the NP Thyroid.  This means that I have now begun yet another difficult medication adjustment period which will last for 2 to 2 1/2 months.  This is the third medication adjustment I have had this year.

I am four days in and feel better than I did on Monday; however, I can tell that how I feel has just started to deteriorate.  I always feel better for most of the first week, then the drop begins.  I can feel the very beginning of the drop coming on.

This happens because the hypothalamus detects the sudden increase in thyroid hormone in the body due to the medication increase.  The hypothalamus then secretes a hormone that tells the pituitary gland to shut down the thyroid, which then makes the patient feel sick for two to five weeks or possibly even longer.  The lengthy adjustment period is caused by the long half-life of T4.  It takes weeks for the hormone to stabilize, which is why many thyroid patients feel bad for a lengthy period of time after any medication change.

I will bottom out at around four to five weeks after the medication increase, which will fortunately be during my winter break.  The third week is also usually a bit difficult, so semester tests will be a chore, but I will manage.  I always do.


I have reset many of my eBay listings to bulk lots in order to move some books.  Check out the Bulk Lots category in my store.

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay

I want the bulk lots to disappear fast, so I price them so that the buyer gets a deal.  Most of my bulk lots will go to sellers who are acquiring inventory.  The bulk lots are designed to be desirable, so the price per book is lower than when the books were listed individually.

I also often seed the bulk lots with at least one desirable book in order to give the prospective buyer a better value proposition.  Sometimes prospective buyers contact me wanting me to sell them that one book at what it would cost prorated according to the total cost of the bulk lot.  It doesn't work that way.  If I were to sell that one book individually, the price would be higher.

Any listings that contained books moved to bulk lots were converted to other books.  This means that I have many new listings that do not show as new listings in my store or in eBay's search.

Check out these store categories to find them.

Chalet School
Cherry Ames
Hardy Boys: Other Books
Nancy Drew: Library Editions
Rick Brant

I will most likely list an additional 10 to 30 more books between now and Saturday.

I also have books for sale on Etsy.

Jennifer's Series Books on Etsy

Monday, November 25, 2019

The Transformation of Nancy Drew into CW Nancy Drew

The Stratemeyer Syndicate switched from Grosset and Dunlap to Simon and Schuster for publication of new Nancy Drew books beginning in 1979.  The Stratemeyer Syndicate still fully controlled the series at that time.

The Stratemeyer Syndicate was sold to Simon and Schuster in 1984.  This is where Nancy Drew began to evolve into a character very different from what she was under the Stratemeyer Syndicate.  1984 was 35 years ago.  It has been so many years since the evolution began that it is astonishing how shocked people are about Nancy Drew's portrayal in CW Nancy Drew.

People who were exposed only to the original Grosset and Dunlap books must be, for the most part, near 50 years of age or older.  I was exposed to some of the Wanderer books when young, and I am 47.  I expected for fans younger than me to be more aware of how Nancy Drew has changed since the Grosset and Dunlap books, but it seems that many of them were just as shocked about the series.

The people who say that the new show is nothing like the books have not followed the evolution of Nancy Drew since 1984.  They cannot have followed it, or they would not be so surprised by how Nancy Drew is depicted in the show.  The character has been changing for 35 years and is now but a tiny piece of a corporate conglomerate.

Nancy Drew is owned by Simon and Schuster, but Simon and Schuster is owned by CBS Corporation.  CBS Corporation and Warner Brothers own The CW.  This means that, for all practical purposes, the current rights holder to Nancy Drew is responsible for the current television series on The CW.  Wrap your mind around what that means.  CBS Corporation can do anything it wants with Nancy Drew.  And so here we are.

Even though CW Nancy Drew uses the names of the classic Grosset and Dunlap books as Easter eggs sprinkled generously through each episode, the show is not at all based on the Grosset and Dunlap books.  The show is only based on versions of Nancy Drew that have been created since 1984.

Let's go over how Nancy Drew has evolved since 1984.  The versions pertinent to this discussion will be the only ones mentioned.  All media are considered.  Some fans feel that only the original books count, but that is not true.  The modern books are just as important, and so are all forms of media.  The importance of the Nancy Drew games fandom cannot be overstated.  Those fans are Nancy Drew fans, whether they have read the books or not.  Fans of other media, such as the comic books, movies, and television series, are also Nancy Drew fans.

In particular, note when Nancy has committed breaking and entering and when she has been arrested.  Many fans, particularly of the Grosset and Dunlap editions, have the mistaken belief that Nancy has never broken the law or been arrested in any of the books.

Simon and Schuster 1984 - present

The Nancy Drew Digest series ran from 1979 to 2003.  Simon and Schuster controlled the content of the series beginning in 1984.  Burt and Dave were dropped from the series.  It was a bit silly for Nancy Drew to have five friends (Bess, George, Ned, Burt, and Dave) who could travel around the world with her to solve mysteries.  By getting rid of the extra baggage, Bess and George could bring in mysteries involving various temporary boyfriends.  Ned sticks around.

Nancy does break into offices, hotel rooms, and other places in this series.  She uses either a lock pick or a credit card to open doors.  In one book, Nancy steals a master key to open a hotel room.

Simon and Schuster launched the Nancy Drew Files series in 1986.  This series ran until 1997.  In the Files, Nancy Drew investigates murder, which she never does in the original series.  Nancy and Ned do not get along, and Ned whines about Nancy's mysteries.  Nancy is arrested several times, and she quite often picks locks to break into various places.

The Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys Super Mystery series ran from 1988 to 1998.  Nancy also picks locks and commits breaking and entering.  Both Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys often break the law in this series.

The Nancy Drew On Campus series ran from 1995 to 1998.  This series was the first version to feature a gay character, and having a gay character in Nancy Drew adaptions becomes common by 2015.  George Fayne has sex and faces pregnancy fears.  The series deals with issues concerning drugs, date rape, and other modern teen issues.

The Nancy Drew Digest series ended in 2003, and the Nancy Drew Girl Detective series was launched.  Girl Detective ran from 2004 until 2012.  In Girl Detective, Nancy is thoroughly modernized.  She is imperfect, forgetful, and impulsive.  In #20 Getting Burned, Nancy breaks into a business to look for clues and is arrested.

CW Nancy Drew is sourced from all of these modern book series.

1995 Nancy Drew Television Series with Tracy Ryan

This version is based on the Nancy Drew Files series.  Ned is whiny and doesn't like Nancy's fixation on solving mysteries.

Nancy picks a lock to break into an office.  She also picks a lock to break into a house and then disables the alarm.  These are additional examples of breaking and entering.

Her Interactive 1997-present 

Nancy maintains her fearless personality quite well in the Nancy Drew games.  Furthermore, since the player is Nancy Drew, no one complains that she doesn't look right.  Nancy has quite a habit of breaking into buildings and taking things that don't belong to her.  The games wouldn't be much fun if Nancy were to avoid burglary and theft.  Nancy's behavior in the second episode of CW Nancy Drew is strongly inspired by her behavior in the Nancy Drew games.

A bulletin board featured in CW Nancy Drew in the police station is designed exactly like the bulletin boards seen in the Nancy Drew games.  One show features a scene in a pantry where there is a wine rack in front of a hidden safe.  The wine bottles are placed in the wine rack in a fashion that strongly resembles similar displays from the Nancy Drew games.

CW Nancy Drew has gone full-on supernatural, which is a distinct departure from the books.  However, the Her Interactive games have often had supernatural content.  In one game, Nancy goes around capturing ghosts.  The spirit seen in CW Nancy Drew looks very similar to the spirit seen in one of the Nancy Drew games.

A gay primary character is featured in Her Interactive's 2015 game, Sea of Darkness.

CW Nancy Drew is without doubt strongly based on the Nancy Drew games.  And interestingly, Her Interactive recently redesigned its Nancy Drew silhouette to match the silhouette seen in the title credits of CW Nancy Drew.

2002 Nancy Drew Pilot with Maggie Lawson

I remember the fan uproar over this version.  The movie opens with Nancy driving a car with her hands not on the wheel.  She also dodges in and out of traffic in a reckless fashion.  Nancy breaks into the athletic director's office and is arrested.

Nancy's behavior is much like the Nancy Drew of Nancy Drew Girl Detective, yet this movie came first.  Perhaps this movie inspired Nancy's characterization in the Girl Detective series.  In any case, the Nancy of this movie seems just like Nancy Drew Girl Detective.

Dynamite Comic Books 2017-2018

The Dynamite comic books relocate Nancy Drew to Bayport, where the Hardy Boys live.  The original draft of the pilot script for CW Nancy Drew also places Nancy Drew in Bayport.  By the time the show was filmed, the producers changed the location to Horseshoe Bay in Maine.  They likely did not wish to use River Heights because that name could be confused with Riverdale.

The Dynamite comic books feature George as Asian and lesbian.  George is Asian in CW Nancy Drew.  This development is logical, since George easily passes as an Asian girl, Chi Che Soong, in the 1961 book, The Mystery of the Fire Dragon.  Why not make George be Asian?

George is not lesbian in the television show, but another primary character is.

Since CW Nancy Drew uses several aspects of the comic books, it is definitely sourced from them.

Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase 2019

Nancy also breaks and enters in this movie and is arrested for it.

Some fans don't like Nancy's portrayal in this movie, but she's not that different than Nancy Drew Girl Detective.  She's just younger.

George is African American in the 2019 movie.

George may no longer be Caucasian in future filmed versions.  Filmed versions will likely feature gay characters from this point on.

Simon and Schuster has so far avoided having any of the primary characters be gay or racially diverse in the Nancy Drew book series.  At some point in the future, that could change.

As the years pass and different people become involved with a franchise, the franchise takes on additional qualities that it never had before.  Some qualities may not stay with the franchise, but others will.

Are you exactly the same person you were earlier in life with no changes?  Nobody remains exactly the same.  Like all of us, Nancy Drew has changed over her lifespan, which in a few months will reach 90 years.  Nancy Drew will continue to change, regardless of what we think.  While new versions may not be based on the original 56 Nancy Drew books, those books will always be there for us.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

What I Think of CW Nancy Drew

In "Figuring Out My Nancy Drew," I wrote about how I respond to filmed versions of Nancy Drew.
The inherent problem with filmed versions of books is that a filmed version cannot replicate what we see in our minds when we read the books.  Filmed versions will always fall short of expectation for that reason.

I am rather open-minded about various filmed versions of Nancy Drew, since I know that they cannot replicate my reading experience.  I do not like some versions very much or do not care about them, but they do not upset me.  I also keep quiet and don't tell other people when I don't particularly care for a certain version.  I don't want to spoil someone's joy or put negativity out there.  It just doesn't matter to me.
Books and filmed media are not at all the same, so there's no point in comparing one to the other.

After exploring my feelings about the different versions of Nancy Drew, I drew the following conclusion.
Regarding the different filmed versions of Nancy Drew, most of them are not my Nancy Drew.  In particular, Bonita Granville is not my Nancy Drew.  She's too silly.  The filmed versions that I like the very best are the 1995 television series starring Tracy Ryan and the 2002 television movie starring Maggie Lawson.  I tend to prefer the modern filmed versions over the vintage filmed versions.

Okay, so I figured it out.  I am a modern Nancy Drew girl.  I prefer the modern filmed versions, and I am quite fond of most of Simon and Schuster's Nancy Drew output from the 1980s to the present day, with the exception of the Nancy Drew Files and Nancy Drew Diaries series.  My Nancy Drew is a more modern version, which is why I am open-minded about new versions.  I just don't see a problem with Nancy Drew changing to fit modern society.
It was a foregone conclusion that I would like CW Nancy Drew.  There was never a question.  Now, let's go over details.

The opening sex scene of the first episode is disgusting.  I made two observations about the scene which skeeved me out tremendously.  One observation will remain unstated.  The other is that Nancy leaves Nick, walks immediately into the diner, and then begins serving tables.  She doesn't wash her hands.  Eww.

So, I hate that scene as much as anyone else, but I can overlook it.  The first episode is the pilot, and pilots are usually off.

Nancy did get some action a second time in the pilot episode and then again in the next episode.  That may be it so far.  It's not like I'm keeping track of Nancy's conquests.  The sex has not been the focus; rather, the show has gone full-on supernatural.

At first, some people thought that there would be a logical explanation for the spirits.  Um, no.  Vapors going into and coming out of objects made it apparent to me that the spirits would be real.  At this point, nobody is still saying that there might be a logical explanation.  The spirits are real, real, and real.

We are seven shows in, and George has been possessed.  Two séances have been conducted, the second one with unmistakable spirit contact.  A toy is currently possessed.  Nancy is being haunted by the ghost of Lucy Sable.  Black shadow figures are after Nancy and her friends.

It turns out that the sex at the beginning of the series was less of a problem than the supernatural aspect.  Some fans bailed at the beginning because of the sex.  Others are now losing interest because of the supernatural.

As for me, I was disconcerted by the spirit vapors and glimpses of spirits during the first few episodes.  It was just so weird for Nancy Drew.  By the end of the third episode, I accepted it.  Fine, Nancy Drew sees and talks to spirits.  Whatever.  It's cool.

I read young adult dystopian novels with really crazy stuff that makes no sense.  If I can suspend disbelief for those books, then I can watch a Nancy Drew show with spirits in it.  No problem.

This show with spirits everywhere is no different for me than any other filmed version of Nancy Drew.  No filmed version replicates what I experience when reading, so I have always seen filmed versions as alternate versions.  Supernatural Nancy Drew is no less real than Emma Robert's goody-goody Nancy Drew or Bonita Granville's silly Nancy Drew.  I have never expected any filmed version to be much like the books, so this one is no less valid than any of the others.

I actually like CW Nancy Drew quite a lot.  The whole supernatural thing is a lark and great fun.  Why not?

The show is like a soap opera.  The story continues from one episode to the next, and each episode features a different mixture of characters, just like in a soap opera.  The story moves slowly for that reason, but the journey is a lot of fun.

I have not heard a single negative comment about Kennedy McMann as Nancy Drew.  Even people who are put off by the sex or the supernatural aspect of the show seem to like Kennedy.  She is outstanding.  Based on her appearance, personality, and delivery of lines, Kennedy is the best Nancy Drew of all time.  She nails it in every way.  I am in awe of her.  I predict that Kennedy McMann will have a very successful career.

Carson Drew is problematic.  I think of him as a weasel.  I didn't dislike him at first like many people did, but I currently do not like him.  I expect my opinion will change for the better once he stops being so shady.  He's hiding something from Nancy, so he comes across as a... weasel.

George is awesome.  She gets all the best one-liners.  Nancy tries to help George carry an ice chest, and George snaps, "Get your hands off my chest!"

George's mother is hilarious.  She can communicate with spirits, and she gets drunk a lot.

I like Bess.  While the Bess from this series has a different background than Bess of the books, this Bess does have a similar personality.

I also like Ace.  I hope he is okay.  The ending of episode #7 has left us wondering about Ace's fate.

I go back and forth on Nancy's boyfriend, Nick.  I liked him at first and not as much currently.  Most likely, my opinion will keep fluctuating.

Ryan Hudson is supposed to be the bad guy.  I didn't like him at first, but I currently do.  The information revealed in episode #6 changed my opinion.

Chief McGinnis is beginning to grow on me.

I am neutral on Laura Tandy and the other supporting characters.

I typically do not watch television.  I used to be devoted to Survivor, but due to my autoimmunity and often feeling bad after a day's work, I lost patience for watching it around five to eight years ago.  Big Brother is the one show that I have continued to watch over the years.  However, I barely watched it this last summer due to my intense dislike of most of the cast, especially Jack and Jackson/Michie.  Ugh.

I watch very little television.

But I am watching this show.  I am making an occasion of it.  I sit in front of the television for the entire hour, doing nothing else.  That's astonishing that I'm actually sitting down and paying attention.

I really like this show.

Friday, November 22, 2019

The Blue Shadow Mystery by Josephine Chase

In The Blue Shadow Mystery, Ann Porter arrives in Philadelphia six months after her father’s death.  Ann hopes to get help from her uncle.  Ann is shocked to learn that her uncle has passed away, leaving his entire estate to his housekeeper.

Ann left her possessions at the Y.W.C.A. while on her errand.  The Y.W.C.A. burns, leaving Ann with nothing!  A kind woman directs Ann to a boarding house, where Ann gets a room. A blue shadow is seen in an upstairs window at night, and Ann suspects that something sinister is at play.

Ann is 18 years old.

This book starts off very good and is quite engaging during the early chapters.  The story weakens once Ann arrives at the boarding house.  The book has too many characters which are introduced too quickly.  This almost always loses me.  I plunged ahead, even though I had already forgotten who some of them are.  As the story progresses further, the tone changes, and I lost interest.  I did not read the ending of the story.  I didn’t care by that point.

This book disappointed me.  It starts off so promising and then falls apart.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The Golden Imp by Josephine Chase

In The Golden Imp, Diane Prothero has been on her own for three years, ever since her high school graduation and the death of her mother.  Diane is devastated to learn of her uncle's sudden death.  She decides to run his inn, the Golden Imp.  Diane is a bit worried about the mortgage payment that will come due soon, but she hopes to have the inn running well enough to make the payment.

Diane learns that her uncle might have left her a treasure, and she finds a cipher that might provide a clue.  It soon becomes apparent that one or more of the people staying at the inn might be trying to find the treasure before Diane can find it.

Diane is three years out of high school, so her age is probably around 20 or so.

Very early in the book, I guessed where the hidden fortune would be found.  It's that obvious.  I won't make any other comment, but I think most all adult readers would immediately guess the location.

Even though the location of the treasure is a given, the story is still quite suspenseful because of the danger.  Someone is trying to kill Diane, and the culprit could be anybody who is staying at the inn.  Through the course of the story, the reader learns about one murder.  Two other people and a dog also die premature deaths.  A man is shot, but he doesn't die.

Josephine Chase died two years before this book was published.  Since this book is a bit gritty and quite unlike books written by Josephine Chase, I feel confident that she did not write this book.

This is an excellent book.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Behind the Purple Mask by Josephine Chase

As I mentioned previously, Behind the Purple Mask is a very difficult book to acquire.  This is unfortunate, because it is possibly the best book in the set.

This book was probably not written by Josephine Chase since she died a year before it was published.

In Behind the Purple Mask, Gay Larimore has been hired as elderly Mrs. Simpson’s companion.  Mrs. Simpson is demanding and unpleasant, but Gay soon learns that Mrs. Simpson is cranky because of her selfish son and daughter-in-law.

A prowler who wears a purple mask roams the house at night, and attempts are made on Mrs. Simpson’s life.  Gay tracks down several leads that she hopes will lead her to the identity of the man in the purple mask.

Gay has recently graduated from college, so she is probably in her early twenties.

The author used misdirection to cast suspicion on several characters.  I always enjoy mysteries the best when the solution is not blindingly obvious.  Overall, the mystery works out just as I anticipated, but a few plot points were at least somewhat unexpected.

This is an excellent book.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

The Green Jade Necklace by Josephine Chase

In The Green Jade Necklace, Leslie Page has been recently orphaned.  She must earn her living, and she finally gets work at a newspaper.  Leslie's boss requests that she go undercover at a friend's party so that she can find out about the valuable green jade necklace whose previous owners have been murdered.  Leslie is supposed to seek information that will hopefully prevent the current owner from being murdered.  Instead, Leslie uncovers a plot to steal the valuable necklace, and she must try to prevent the theft.

Leslie is 16 years old.

I commented in my previous post that I do believe that Josephine Chase did actually write this book, published in 1931.  She died in 1931.  The word "toppo" appears on page 14.  I recall this odd word being used in the Marjorie Dean series. 

I purchased this book around 10 to 15 years ago after hearing that Josephine Chase's Detective Stories for Girls are well worth reading.  I did not get around to reading it until 2017.  I enjoyed it and knew that I needed to find the other four books.  I regretted that I waited so long to read it, since building the set was quite difficult and I must have missed many buying opportunities over those many years.

From page 22:
As a child [Leslie] had turned impatiently aside from the pleasant conventional books for girls, to revel instead in the stir and thrill of adventure stories.
I agree with that.  Conventional books for girls from the early part of the 20th century can be a bit dull at times.  Ironically, Josephine Chase's books for girls, such as the Grace Harlowe books, fall into that category.

This is a very good book.

Friday, November 15, 2019

My Reading Pace Slowdown or What Has Led Me Astray

This post is mostly off-topic for this blog.  The information shared should fully explain why my reading pace has slowed to a crawl.

In June, I wrote about how my reading pace had slowed.

2019 Mid-Year Reading Update
With everything that has happened in recent months, my interest in publishing reviews continues to be rather low and does appear to be further diminishing.  I can also see by my reading progress to this point in the year that I am reading at a slower pace than in each of the previous five years.

2014:  262 books
2015:  231 books
2016:  355 books
2017:  403 books
2018:  315 books

So far in 2019, I have read 114 books.  If I keep that pace, I will read 228 books by the end of the year.  Yes, that is still a fabulous number of books to read in one year, but it does show that my pace is dropping off.
Right.  Well, I'm not going to have read any 228 books by the end of the year.  I was recently still on pace to read 200 books by the end of the year, but I no longer expect that to happen.  It is possible, but my habits would have to change.

I detailed in the post linked above how stressful last school year was due to a textbook adoption that didn't go well.  I ended the school year very sick and sick into nearly half of my summer break.

I have autoimmune thyroid disease, known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.  The autoimmune aspect causes the trouble.  My body even launches attacks on the medication sometimes.  When that happens, I feel like I have the flu.  By the way, if you search online for information about the condition, the websites say how easy it is to treat. Clearly, the writers don’t have the condition, or they’d know better.

In early August, I finally was near optimal for the first time in five years.  It was great. Unfortunately, Acella Pharmaceuticals changed to a different supplier for one medication I take, NP Thyroid.  While Acella claims that the pills did not change, they actually did.  The pills are a different size and color.  Just know that any change in thyroid medication is the kiss of death for me.  My body goes through a hard adjustment that takes 2 to 2 1/2 months.  This doesn't mean that I feel awful all of the time, but I do have a lot of bad side effects and can feel sick for parts of each day.

Understand that my life is not horrible.  I am actually doing okay and often fine, in spite of what I just mentioned.  However, I often feel bad for part of each day.  I can actually feel fine one moment, awful a minute later which can last for just a few minutes or for 30 minutes up to a few hours, then instantly feel fine again.  On some days, I feel fine all day.  Unfortunately, I usually pay for it by feeling awful the entire next day.

I am nearing the end of my body's current hard adjustment to the change in medication.  I bottomed out right about on Wednesday, October 16, which coincided with the events described in this post.  It’s really unfortunate to be in a position where I must limit stress, and then I have people going off on me because they aren’t getting what they want.  I don’t think much of people who throw fits online in an attempt to bully others.

I also want to point out that my medication dosage has to be changed fairly frequently and that I typically go through at least one hard adjustment per year, sometimes two of them.  If I ever seem off, then you know why.  I cannot always cover the symptoms, even though I try hard to do so.

All of this, of course, slowed my reading pace.  But that wasn't the main cause.

In early 2017, I felt like I needed to explain why I read so many books in 2016, due to comments that expressed a bit too much amazement.
As I updated my reading progress this year, a few people had trouble grasping how I read so many books.  Reading is my favorite activity.  That should be enough explanation, but here's some more.  I read instead of watching movies.  In fact, I believe that I watched not even one movie in 2016, which may be the first time that has ever happened.  Think about how much time you have spent watching movies, and there you go.  There's nothing surprising about watching lots of movies, and there shouldn't be anything surprising about spending that same time reading lots of books.
My obsession has been reading, and I have stayed away from all other obsessions during the last six years.  Of course my reading pace was going to be fast.  Why wouldn't it have been?  I remain astounded that people thought it was so weird.  I can’t imagine what they will think when they read the rest of this post.

This is what happened.  Since around late May, I have been completely, totally obsessed with watching YouTube videos of Queen, Freddie Mercury, Queen + Adam Lambert, Adam Lambert, and anything connected with any and all of them.  I have been sucked into an abyss, and I cannot escape.

Now, here's the backstory.  This has been a latent interest for years.  I have liked Queen since the 1990s.  I watched American Idol in 2009 and liked Adam Lambert back then.  I didn't follow his career because I have no interest in modern music.  Besides, I was too busy reading.

It was earlier this year that I heard that Queen + Adam Lambert would open the Oscars, so I watched.  It still took a couple of months for the reaction to set in, but by late May, the flame had been lit.  I watched dozens of Queen + Adam Lambert videos and concerts.  Actually, I probably watched hundreds of them.  I spent the summer watching video after video and watched some videos over and over again.  I watched at least five Queen documentaries, the biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, and the Queen + Adam Lambert documentary.

I thought that this would die down when school started in August.  I would have less time, right?  No, that didn't stop me, not that I wanted to be stopped... Don't stop me now, I'm having such a good time, I'm having a ball...

Next, Adam Lambert released his Velvet: Side A.  I didn't think I would care, because this is modern music.  I was wrong.  Adam Lambert reeled me in with his "Superpower."

I read only seven books in October.

Last night, I got the great idea of searching YouTube for performances of “Somebody to Love” by Queen and Adam Lambert from 2014.  I watched “Somebody to Love” over and over from different venues.  I didn’t get much reading done last night.

Reading is currently a low priority, although at least I am still reading.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Mark of the Red Diamond by Josephine Chase

As stated in my previous post, the Detective Books for Girls series consists of five books, all attributed to Josephine Chase.

1.  The Mark of the Red Diamond, 1929
2.  The Green Jade Necklace, 1931
3.  Behind the Purple Mask, 1932
4.  The Golden Imp, 1933
5.  The Blue Shadow Mystery, 1935

However, Josephine Chase died in 1931.  Her death makes it unlikely that she wrote the last three titles in the series.  Having read all five books, I am certain that Chase did write the first two books.  The writing style changes somewhat with the third book and even more so with the fourth and fifth books.  Chase probably did not write the third book, and she definitely did not write the fourth and fifth books.

In The Mark of the Red Diamond, Dale Alden's aunt recently passed away, leaving her alone in the world.  Dale inherited a small sum of money, but she must now earn her living.  She takes a job as a social secretary to Mrs. Treverton in Palm Beach, Florida.  While traveling to Florida by train, Dale witnesses a hold-up by a man wearing a mask.  The man has a curious red diamond on his arm.  Later in Florida, that bandit is once again spotted.  Dale begins to suspect Mrs. Treverton's son, Adrien, of being mixed up with the bandit, who remains at large.

Dale is 17 years old.

On page 138, Dale and a detective need to follow the bandit by automobile.  The detective says that he cannot drive, so Dale drives the car for him.  I was surprised that a man cannot drive a car.  Usually in these old series books, the men all can drive, and the women might not be able to drive.  Of course, the female protagonists of series books always can drive.  They have special powers.

In one passage, Dale actually shoots the bandit in the leg.

Parts of this book are quite suspenseful.  This is a very good book.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Judging People Who Sell Books Part 2

This is the second part of a blog post from October 28, 2015.  It was written four years ago.  I believe that I delayed publication of the post for a month or so for some reason, then it slipped my mind. 

Please read "Judging People Who Sell Books" before proceeding.


When I wrote about sellers being judged, some readers were concerned that they are being judged.  I actually do not believe that the vast majority of the collectors who sell are being judged.  I could be wrong, but I tend to think that just some sellers of series books are the ones who are judged. 

I have noticed that some collectors are rather apologetic when they sell their extras, as though there is something wrong with it.  They comment that they are not trying to be dealers.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with selling your extras.  There is nothing wrong with purchasing large lots of books to get just one or two books.*  Most collectors end up with extras when we end up finding a better copy of a book that we already had.  How else are we to be expected to get rid of those extras?  The books have to be sold.

Some sellers get judged because they have sold so much for so many years.  It can also have to do with a certain attitude they give off.  I can think of a few sellers who are rightfully judged by a small group of collectors, but it has to do with problems that those collectors have had with them.  Some sellers are very difficult buyers.  When those sellers purchase books to resell from other collectors, they make complaints to get partial refunds and also leave low DSRs in eBay feedback to try to hurt other collectors.  However, the few of us who are aware of what is really going on with those particular sellers never mention which sellers in a public forum, so the rest of you have no idea.  In fact, some of the people who should be judged by most collectors somehow do not get judged by the average collector.

The sellers who are judged are the ones who are perceived to be openly purchasing books solely for the purpose of selling them.  The point of my post was that collectors should not be so quick to condemn those particular sellers, that sometimes more is going on than is apparent.  Some collectors assume that other collectors are making this rich profit off of books purchased, when they may only be breaking even or making a narrow profit because they have to sell many books purchased years ago at a loss.

In my case, I am often upgrading books I have had for many years.  I also grow tired of books and decide to sell them.  In these two cases, I almost always have to sell the extras at steep losses.  I have no choice; the books are worth much less than what I paid for them 10 to 15 years ago.

I do use the extra books from large lots to balance that out.  It's the only way I can justify selling my older purchases.  If I can get a large lot for cheap enough, then I can sell the extras at enough of a profit to cancel out the losses from books purchased 10 to 15 years ago.  Since I use this method of reducing my losses, I assume that some other collectors are doing the same.  That's why I don't mind when collectors purchase books from me that they intend to sell in order to make a small profit.  Those collectors, like me, are also selling some books at steep losses.  That's also why I contend that collectors should keep a more open mind about people who sell series books.

Fortunately, I am not one of those collectors who paid $500 for the Judy Bolton book, The Secret of the Sand Castle, back in the early 1990s when it was impossible to find.  Imagine if you were one of those collectors and wanted to sell it now.  You'd be lucky to get even $100 for it and would probably have to take less.  That is the sort of situation that faces many collectors.  Can you blame them for trying to offset their losses?

Another reason that some collectors resent sellers is that they wish never to pay more than around $5.00 for a book, regardless of scarcity.  Since they want their books cheap, they don't like others selling them at high prices, even though other buyers are willing to pay that amount.  Furthermore, some collectors resent other collectors who are willing to pay high prices for books.

I'm not saying that everyone feels this way.  Probably most collectors do not, but since some do, it explains why those collectors have a problem with some sellers.


*Note added November 10, 2019:  There is also nothing wrong with purchasing books solely for the purpose of reselling them.  If I am in a local store and see a book priced low that is worth a good bit more, then I will purchase it.  I recall that around five or so years ago, someone in one of the Facebook groups said that series collectors should never purchase books in a local store unless the books are needed for their collection.

That practice would only work if all series book collectors avoided purchasing books that are extras.  It's never going to happen.  If I don't purchase the book to resell, then most likely another local collector will purchase the book to resell.  Why should I pass on buying the book when it can offset some of the losses from selling the books I purchased many years ago?  Not only that, but I enjoy purchasing books to offer to other collectors online.  Sometimes I might purchase a book and offer it at just a slightly higher price online.  I'm not making much, but I am helping to get the book into someone's collection.  There is nothing wrong with that.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Detective Stories for Girls by Josephine Chase

In 2017, I became interested in the Detective Stories for Girls series by Josephine Chase.  The books were published by the Penn Publishing Company.

1.  The Mark of the Red Diamond, 1929
2.  The Green Jade Necklace, 1931
3.  Behind the Purple Mask, 1932
4.  The Golden Imp, 1933
5.  The Blue Shadow Mystery, 1935

I wrote about these books on my Facebook page on June 29, 2017.

I had owned The Green Jade Necklace for many years and had finally followed up on reading it during the summer of 2017.  I regretted that I had not tried it years before, since these books are extremely scarce and hard to find.  I had to have missed many purchasing opportunities.  I immediately set out to purchase the other four books, discovering quickly that completing the task was close to impossible.

I was able to acquire three of the four remaining titles in 2017.  I could not locate a copy of Behind the Purple Mask.  In the intervening time, I ran searches online quite often hoping that a copy, any copy, of Purple Mask would come up for sale, to no avail.

Several times I almost read the other three books in the set, but I held off hoping that Purple Mask would surface.  The books feature different characters, so it might seem silly that I did not go ahead and read the books I had.  I knew that if I were to read the other three and then later acquire Purple Mask, I would very likely never read Purple Mask.  I told myself that I would keep waiting.

I sometimes feel that certain actions in life can bring about other events.  I don't think that we can actually make things happen, aside from the obvious cause and effect, such as applying for a job can result in getting that job.  However, I like to think that certain decisions can somehow cause other things to come in line, in sort of a vague happenstance.

In August, I decided to try to get around to continuing to read the Grace Harlowe series, which I broke off reading in 2011.  I couldn't quite manage to start Grace Harlowe, so I decided to read Marjorie Dean.

Josephine Chase wrote the Grace Harlowe High School Girl and Grace Harlowe College Girl sets under the pseudonym of Jessie Graham Flower, A.M.  Chase also wrote the entire Marjorie Dean series under the pseudonym of Pauline Lester.

I must say that I thought of Josephine Chase's Detective Stories for Girls as I read through the Marjorie Dean books.  Perhaps my reading a set of books written by Josephine Chase brought about what I wanted to have happen.  Probably not, but I'd like to think so.

During the time that I was reading Marjorie Dean, I checked eBay one night and saw that a copy of Behind the Purple Mask had been listed on eBay.  That book had not been up for sale online to my knowledge at any time between June 2017 and August 2019, over two years.

I was able to purchase the book and knew that once I finished my reading of Marjorie Dean and possibly Grace Harlowe that I would immediately dive into the Detective Stories for Girls series by Josephine Chase.  This was a thrilling development which made me very happy.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Trying to Continue Reading the Grace Harlowe Series

It's bothered me for many years that I broke off reading the Grace Harlowe books in early 2011 and never got back to them.  On September 14 on Facebook, I posed questions about what I should try to do with the Grace Harlowe situation.  I have reordered the questions to match the order in which I actually tried the different options.

1. Should I read my reviews of the first 10 Grace Harlowe books and then try to read the 11th book, Grace Harlowe's Golden Summer

I read my reviews, but they meant nothing to me.  After reading my reviews, I tried to read Golden Summer (the book where I left off almost nine years ago) and couldn't do it since I didn't know the characters.

2. Should I read the first 10 Grace Harlowe books again so that I can read the 11th book, Grace Harlowe's Golden Summer?

This option was the only way I had any hope of reading Grace Harlowe's Golden Summer.  It was suggested that I was being too restrictive when I stated that I would need to read the first 10 books again.  Not at all.  I simply cannot force myself to read a book where the story continues from previous books and where I have no memory of the characters.  I only read books when I get some kind of enjoyment out of them.  I would get no enjoyment without refreshing my memory.

Therefore, I tried to begin reading the first 10 books again.  I read part of the first book and quit. I tried the tenth book, Grace Harlowe's Problem, and quit.  I then tried to read Grace Harlowe's Golden Summer again and quit again.

Grace Harlowe's Golden Summer is the counterpart to Marjorie Dean's Romance. Marjorie's romance was not interesting to me.  Grace Harlowe doesn't have a Leslie Cairns to liven up the series, so I have no interest in reading Golden Summer.

At this point, I wanted to skip to option #4 and forget the whole thing.

3. Should I try to read Grace Harlowe Overseas just to figure out whether I can stand that set? I fear that I needlessly spent lots of time and money assembling the Overseas and Overland Riders series a decade ago and that I may not like any of them. Others have said that Overland Riders is mostly unreadable.

I had already read the first 46 pages of Grace Harlowe Overseas before I tried option #1 and #2, so I continued with this option.  I continued reading Grace Harlowe Overseas and read all of it.  Grace Harlowe Overseas is a pretty good book, although I wasn't particularly in the mood to read books set during the First World War.  I had hope that I could continue with the Overseas set.

I lost hope temporarily at the start of Grace Harlowe with the Red Cross in France due to too many bombs going off over and over, and I wanted something else to happen.  Yes, the content is typical of a book about war, but I didn't want to read about war.  I was simply trying to follow up on a commitment I made a long time ago when I spent a lot of money on these books, started reading them, and then never finished reading them.

Fortunately, Red Cross in France gets past the constant bombing, although more bombing happens later.  Now, if you like things constantly getting blown up, then I highly recommend the beginning of Red Cross in France. You will love it.

I then tried to read the Grace Harlowe with the Marines at Chateau Thierry.  Grace faces explosions constantly.  Grace is braver and smarter than the soldiers.  I couldn't deal with it.

I tried the next book, couldn't read it, and decided to abandon the Grace Harlowe Overseas series.

4. Should I forget the whole thing? This one is tempting, but I hate that I have never gotten back to Grace Harlowe.

It's option #4 then.  I can't read these books.  I never liked the original two Grace Harlowe sets that much, which is why I broke off reading the books in 2011.

The Grace Harlowe situation has bothered because I put forth much effort and spent a lot of money acquiring all four sets of the Grace Harlowe books over 10 years ago, most of the books with dust jackets in the original Altemus editions.  It has nettled me that I never have read them and have never even tried to read them. If the books had been cheap, I wouldn't care.  These were not cheap books.

I have given it a good shot, so I have to be satisfied with that.  At the time that I wrote this post, I planned to sell all of my Grace Harlowe Overseas and Grace Harlowe Overland Riders books.  I decided to hold off on selling the Grace Harlowe High School Girl and Grace Harlowe College Girl books in order to make certain that I wanted to part with them.  Since then, I have decided to rid myself of all of my Grace Harlowe books.  Some of them have already been sold.  I am happy to have freed up some shelf space.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

The Marjorie Dean Post-Graduate Series

The Marjorie Dean Post-Graduate series consists of the following books.

1.  Marjorie Dean, Post-Graduate, 1925
2.  Marjorie Dean, Marvelous Manager, 1925
3.  Marjorie Dean at Hamilton Arms, 1925
4.  Marjorie Dean's Romance, 1925
5.  Marjorie Dean Macy, 1926
6.  Marjorie Dean Macy's Hamilton Colony, 1930

Marjorie Dean has graduated from college and returned to Hamilton to work on Brooke Hamilton's biography.  Leslie Cairns also remains in Hamilton, solely for the purpose of getting even with Marjorie for what she perceives to be Marjorie's wrongs against her.

Marjorie's role throughout all of the Marjorie Dean books is to serve as a good example of how to live.  Her perfection does not bother me as it does some other readers.  My problem is that I do not find Marjorie to be very interesting in the Post-Graduate series.  I need a certain amount of excitement in my books—the excitement can be psychological without any kind of action.  I dislike lame romance, detailed event planning, and excessive teasing between the characters.  The Marjorie Dean Post-Graduate series is full of that kind of content.

I found Marjorie to be rather boring in this set of books.  Her story arc had pretty much run its course by the time these books came around.  I was not interested in Brooke Hamilton or his biography.  I didn't care about Marjorie's social events or various charitable endeavors.  That is, Marjorie is a wonderful person and her various endeavors are splendid, but I did not find reading about them to be interesting.

Marjorie's nemesis, Leslie Cairns, is a different story.  She is the real star of the Marjorie Dean College and Marjorie Dean Post-Graduate sets.  Leslie is the most interesting of out all series book rivals.  I would go so far to say that she is easily one of my very favorite characters out of all series books, top five for certain, but more probably in the top two.

I have always loved Lenora Whitehill from the Beverly Gray series, and I love Leslie Cairns just as much as Lenora.  It's odd to love a villain, but Leslie experiences remarkable personal growth.  She begins as a completely awful character who hates Marjorie for no reason that anyone can tell.

Leslie does terrible things to Marjorie over and over.  She causes endless trouble, but Marjorie perseveres.  Foreshadowing lets the reader know that Leslie will face consequences eventually.  Leslie's story gets really interesting as that time approaches and each of Leslie's schemes ends in utter disaster for Leslie.  Still, she schemes.  Finally, Leslie loses something very important to her.  She continues to scheme.

Marjorie does Leslie a favor anonymously, and Leslie is later informed that Marjorie was the person who helped her.  Slowly, Leslie begins to understand.  She realizes that Marjorie is not the horrible person she thought.  Leslie even reflects that she has no idea why she didn't like Marjorie.  She slowly begins the process of becoming a better person.  As Leslie works to right her wrongs, she then becomes the victim of bullying and gets to experience how she made others feel.

Leslie's transformation from a snobbish, selfish, and mean bully to a caring, worthwhile person occurs over the course of 10 books and is a magnificent story arc.

From Leslie's first appearance in Marjorie Dean, College Freshman:
"I have heard that some of those high schools are really excellent," drawled Miss Cairns.  "I have heard too that they turn out a lot of digs and prigs.  Girls, you understand, that have to get all they can out of high school because college is out of the question for them.  I feel sorry for them.  I never knew any of that sort, though.  In fact, you are the first high school girls I have ever met.  What?"
Leslie has an interesting habit of punctuating her speech with "What?"  I came to love that interesting quirk.  Leslie also has what is described as a "hob-goblin laugh" where she leans her head back and laughs silently.

From the last book, Marjorie Dean Macy's Hamilton Colony:
Leslie shook hands warmly with Delia, pleased by the maid’s friendly sincerity.  She could not help mentally contrasting her present democratic attitude with that of her former snobbish contempt for persons in humbler circumstances than herself.  "Cairns II, you're improving," was her whimsical thought.  "There’s a lot of room yet for improvement, though, so don't get chesty."
Even though Leslie has magnificently transformed, a touch of her imperious attitude comes out at moments.  In another passage, Marjorie sees the old Leslie for just a moment.  "Watching Leslie’s face Marjorie glimpsed the shadow of the old dominating leader who had ruled the frivolous San Soucians by sheer determined will."  After all, Leslie's transformation would not be convincing if a touch of her former self were not present.  Nobody changes completely without retaining some of their former personality.

Leslie is the only character featured on the cover of Marjorie Dean, Marvelous Manager.  It is highly unusual for a series book villain to be pictured on the cover instead of the titular character.  And the final book in the Marjorie Dean series is mostly about Leslie with very little about Marjorie. I like Leslie so much that I wish she had had her own spin-off series.

I highly recommend the Marjorie Dean College series and Marjorie Dean Post-Graduate series.  This recommendation is based on Leslie Cairns and her extraordinary redemption.