Tuesday, September 22, 2020

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

Wishing Star #8 Katie, Deborah Aydt, 1980

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

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

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

This is a very good book.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, September 20, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hate this so much.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

An Unexpected Wet Package

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


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

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


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


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

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


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

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Blogs with Series Book Reviews

I've stated several times that my vintage series books reviews are pretty much done.  I am a bit overwhelmed at this point in my life due to what is going on with school and due to some other concerns.  I'm not interested in reading old series books.  I will eventually reread some old series, but I won't be reviewing them if I have already reviewed them.  I'm done.

Consider following the other people who are reviewing old series books.  You might also consider doing some reviews yourself.

Vintage Girls Books:  Recent reviews include Whitman books like Annie Oakley, Dorothy Lamour, Troy Nesbit, and Nancy Craig.  There are also reviews of a variety of series books including Mildred Wirt Benson, Nancy Drew, Ginny Gordon, Arden Blake, Judy Bolton, and much more.

Bargain Sleuth:  This blog reviews all types of books, but a number of Nancy Drew books are also represented.

My reading was a means of coping through certain situations.  The high reading output made it easy for me to have more than one post per week.  I am now on a different trajectory, and I am not reading like I was.  If I were to try to post like I did, I would cause myself tremendous stress.  I will not do that to myself.

My blog output was such that some people have taken me for granted, which is why I have received comments telling me to get back to reading and reviewing vintage series books.  There are other blogs, linked above. 

This is what you will still get from me.

I will be reviewing vintage teen books and modern young adult dystopian novels.  I will continue to review each new Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and Tom Swift book as it is released.  I will no doubt continue to complain about the Nancy Drew Diaries series.

I will write the occasional post about collecting series books.  I will continue to write about the pandemic since it's rather a big deal right now.  I will keep you updated on when I might sell again.  I will also write about eBay, Etsy, and other sites whenever I have news to report.

The reviews that are being published to this blog currently are being played out very slowly.  I have very few posts written, and I am not interested in writing posts.  The blog could very well begin to have larger gaps between posts, like what is normal for most other people.  I'm just not into writing reviews at this time. 

If you know of other blogs that feature recent reviews of series books, please let me know so that I can add them to this post.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Wishing Star #6 Too Much in Love and #7 Don't Look Back

Wishing Star #6 Too Much in Love, Patty Brisco, 1979

Holly and Jeff are so much in love... Then Holly tells Jeff that she's going to have a baby.  What can they do?  Their parents are furious and can't agree about anything.  Jeff is so confused he hardly seems to care what happens!  Holly doesn't know which way to turn, so she runs away to find her own answers—and a decision she can accept with her heart.

This was the first Wishing Star book that I read, just to see if I would like the books.  I read the book very quickly, because I was intensely curious to see which solution would be chosen.

This is a very good book.

Wishing Star #7 Don't Look Back, Audrey P. Johnson, 1981

When she wrote in her journal, the words flowed effortlessly as she told of meeting Gabe.  What did it mean, this quickening, this awareness of a boy she had just met today?

Ellen could so easily fall in love with Gabe!  But their relationship is never smooth.  It's up and down, easy and hard...

Life is tough for Ellen.  Her father is dead, and she is determined to keep their farm going, but her mother and sister don't care.  They'd rather move to town.  Ellen is terrified of losing the farm... and Gabe.  Can she manage alone?  Or will Gabe be at her side to help?

Ellen is at the beginning of her senior year in  high school, so she is probably 17.  What's up with the "girl" on the cover of this book?  The "girl" looks rather old for 17.

On page 150, the flu epidemic of 1918 is mentioned.  I wonder if the 2020 pandemic will be mentioned in as many future books as the 1918 flu was mentioned in past books.

I skimmed a few parts of the book, but it is overall very good.  I have a slightly negative view of the book due to my astonishment about the cover picture.  The cover picture messed with me the entire time I was reading the book.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Book Hunting, Simplifying My Life, and Amazon's Commingled Inventory

I no longer like hunting for books in person.  Driving around to various locations on a mostly fruitless search is a waste of energy.  I don't have as much energy as most people, so I can't waste any.  Read about the spoon theory if you want to understand how that works.

I no longer go to antique shops.  They depress me due to the lack of changing inventory.  I very often find nothing in antique shops, so they are a downer both physically and mentally.

Prior to March, I only went to estate sales when I actually saw a photograph of series books for sale.  Now that I wish to avoid exposure to the virus, I no longer look at the estate sale photos.  By not looking at the photos, I avoid knowing about any good books and will not risk exposure by going.  The idea of being in a house with lots of people coming and going, any of whom could have the virus, is rather unappealing to me.

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

I checked one of those places yesterday.  I was pleased to find some books.




My eBay and Etsy stores will remain closed indefinitely.  I do have an agreement with a couple of you to purchase books directly from me when I am ready.  I will probably take care of those transactions around fall break, so that will be around October 15th.

My hands are full right now.  With school, we try Plan A.  When Plan A has unexpected unpleasant consequences, we go to Plan B, and so on.  Everything is in flux.  It's a steep learning curve for everyone as we navigate this strange new world.

I cannot handle anything extra at all right now.  That's why I had to simplify my life.  I had to quit selling on eBay and Etsy indefinitely, because some buyers can take away most of an evening with their questions or how they handle transactions.  Read this post for several examples from early 2019, including the one where a buyer purchased 32 books in 32 separate transactions.  By keeping my stores closed, I avoid the time-wasting buyers.

I also put my Facebook groups on moderation, which is something that I resisted for a long time.  I knew that I would do it once I decided that moderation was less work than retroactively reacting.  With school starting during this pandemic, I finally reached that point.

At least now, people won't be able to post their off-topic books and topics.  The posts get shut down before they reach the groups.

I also want to touch on how this pandemic has permanently changed my behavior.  I used to go to the grocery store at least five days per week.  If I wanted something on a whim, I went to get it.  I now only go once per week, on Saturday mornings.  If I wish I had something else to eat during the week, I do without.  I find something, even if I don't particularly want to eat it.  Any food is good enough.

The other big change is my dealings with Amazon.  It had become my go-to place for most everything.  When people switched to online shopping in March, Amazon was so flooded that shipping dates were a month out.  I didn't want to wait that long, so I started purchasing from Walmart.com, Chewy.com, and occasionally Target.com.  All the other companies ship faster than Amazon without me having to pay an extra fee (i.e. Amazon Prime).

Walmart does pack in terribly flimsy boxes, however.  If I want something like boxes of cat food, then Chewy is a much better option.  Chewy uses sturdy boxes.  Walmart is great for lightweight items, but heavy items show up falling out of the half-destroyed boxes.

I had already quit buying certain products from Amazon for another reason: the commingled inventory.  Let's say that two people sell a certain supplement.  One seller offers the genuine product, and the other seller offers a counterfeit product.  Both sellers use Fulfillment by Amazon.  They ship their products to Amazon, and Amazon commingles them by tossing them in the same bin.  We can no longer trust anything coming from Amazon. 

I had purchased a medical-grade air purifier for my classroom.  I wanted to go ahead and purchase the replacement filter so that I would have one on hand months from now.  I went to Amazon, where I could buy the genuine filter from the manufacturer or cheaper ones from other sellers.  I wanted the genuine filter.  I quickly decided that I could not risk purchasing from Amazon.  I went to the manufacturer's website and purchased the filter directly from them. 

I don't know for sure if I have ever ended up with fake product from Amazon, but I am suspicious about some Post-it Brand Notes that I purchased from Amazon last year.  The packaging appears to be real, and the notes look real enough.  However, they barely stick to anything. 

3M's Highland Notes are its cheaper alternative to its Post-it Notes.  These Post-it Notes that I purchased from Amazon are the least sticky notes I have ever used and are far worse than Highland Notes.  Either 3M has trashed its quality of product, or I purchased a counterfeit product.  Regardless, I will never purchase Post-it Notes from Amazon ever again. 

Even when the product says "shipped from and sold by Amazon.com," it cannot be trusted to be genuine because of the commingled inventory.  The fakes get tossed in the same bin as Amazon's genuine product inventory.  The bottom line is to be very careful when purchasing anything from Amazon.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Wishing Star #5 Francesca, Baby

Wishing Star #5 Francesca, Baby, Joan L. Oppenheimer, 1976

She hears the cry in the night... Francesca?  Baby?... and thinks, My mother is a drunk.

Together Francesca and her sister manage to survive a mother who is rarely sober, a father who is seldom home.  But resentment, anger, guilt, and hopelessness still build up in Francesca.  Even her new-found love for Bix can't solve her problems.  There has to be help somewhere.  But where?


The book pictured is an earlier Scholastic edition not packaged for the Wishing Star set.  Due to the use of stock photos online, this book is hard to locate in the Wishing Star version.

On page 46, Bix ponders the career choices of girls.  "Why do so many girls want to be a nurse or a teacher?  I mean, are that many girls that much into those two careers?  Or do they just think there's a better chance in those two fields?"  Bix continues, "Isn't it possible there might be something else they'd like a whole lot more, some field they hadn't even considered, hadn't dared try?"

This resonated with me.  Like the girls mentioned by Bix, I never considered any career choices other than nurse or teacher.  I was just that unimaginative.  I assume that the people around me had conditioned me to believe that those were the only two career choices possible.

I recall a career bus at my high school when I was in the 10th grade.  We each had to sit in front of a computer and read about career choices.  The young man who was in charge asked each of us what we wanted to do.  When he asked me, I said that I wanted to be a nurse or a teacher.  I could tell that he didn't like my answer.  He replied, "If that's what you want to do."  He moved to another student and did not interact with me again.

He failed at his job that day.  He should have asked me about my strengths and interests in order to give me some other ideas.  Of course, I probably would not have helped him.  I never had any thoughts about any possibilities other than nurse or teacher.  I was like a robot programmed to do one or the other. 

In spite of that, I don't regret becoming a teacher.

This is a very compelling story that I thoroughly enjoyed.  I do feel that the problems were resolved a bit too easily, but with this type of book having a limited length, the author cannot make the story completely realistic.

This is an excellent book.