Saturday, December 26, 2020

The Enola Holmes Series

I watched the preview for Enola Holmes on Netflix.  I thought I might enjoy the movie, but I decided that I should read the books first, provided that I found them interesting.

I read the beginning of the first book on Amazon, and then purchased it.  I loved it, so I read all six books.  I then watched Enola Holmes on Netflix.  

Let's start with the books.  They are magnificent.  I cannot possibly express how very much I enjoyed them. 

I can't say a lot about the books, simply because I don't want to spoil anything.  I will say that the books remind me a lot of Dickens.  I feel like I'm actually in Victorian London and in the world of Dickens.  That's excellent, because I love that setting.  I have never read Sherlock Holmes, so I can't make any observation about that.

Getting just a little more specific, Enola is trying to stay away from her older brothers, Sherlock and Mycroft, for the duration of the series.  That Enola is in hiding and playing a game of cat and mouse makes the books very suspenseful.  Enola is also a very good detective and is a lot of fun.

I am very glad that I read the books before watching the Netflix movie.  There are several reasons.  The Netflix movie makes a lot of changes.  One of these would have taken away from my reading of the books.  The story involving Enola's mother is changed significantly in the Netflix adaptation, and if I would have have seen the Netflix movie first, I feel that I not only would have felt less suspense but would have expected a certain outcome as I read the books.  

To me, Enola's character in the movie does not have the depth of the book character.  Of course, this is to be expected, but still, I found the character to be lacking.  Don't misunderstand:  The Netflix character is great, but I didn't find her nearly as great as the book character.

I do like Tewksbury better in the Netflix movie.  I really enjoyed the interplay between him and Enola and the hint of romance.  The book's character has a different trajectory, so she wouldn't have the slightest interest in a romance.  

In closing, I recommend both the Netflix movie and the series of books, although the books are more special, in my opinion. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

The Thing in B-3 by Talmage Powell

I purchased The Thing in B-3 in a local store last week.  The Thing in B-3 was written by Talmage Powell.  The book was published by Whitman in 1969.  I had seen the book in the store previously, but on that day, I impulsively decided that I might enjoy reading it.  I paid $5 for the book.  

I find that Whitman books vary greatly in quality.  Some books are favorites, but I find that many  Whitman books are substandard or boring.  For that reason, I am always wary of them.  I love the appearance of Whitman books, but the stories are often not very good, in my opinion.

Deciding to purchase The Thing in B-3 was certainly a risky decision based on my past experiences.  I've done it before with other Whitman books and have often regretted those purchases.  I hoped that this purchase wouldn't end up a disaster like so many others.

This is a book where it is best not to give much of a summary.  

Bill Latham, student at Crownover University, has a job in the morgue, cleaning the floor.  One night he finds a body in drawer B-3, an unidentified body that should not be there.

That's all I'm going to reveal.  Spooky, yes?

The text was written quite well and is engaging.  The early part of the story is quite unsettling.  Much of the book plays out like a typical juvenile mystery story, with the backdrop being an unexplained event.

I enjoyed how the author switches perspective between the different characters.  At different times, the text switches between Bill, his father, the housekeeper, Bill's faculty advisor, another doctor, and a couple other people who are involved in the plot.  This is executed well and is not confusing.  Knowing the thoughts of the different characters added to my enjoyment of the story.  

This is a very good to excellent book.  I am so glad that I purchased it.

Monday, December 21, 2020

New Community for Series Book Discussions

I just created a subreddit for vintage series books on Reddit.  Follow the link, and you can read my initial post explaining a few things.  I am hoping that those of you who do not use Facebook will consider joining us on Reddit.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Books Purchased Today and Recently

I purchased these books locally a couple weeks ago.

The Secret of the Old Mill is the 1927A-1 printing with the mistake "soorry" inside.

Today I purchased some Nancy Drew books with dust jackets.

I also purchased quite a few tweed Nancy Drew books without dust jackets.

I purchased a Whitman book and a Three Investigators book.

Finally, I purchased Little House in the Big Woods with the Sewell illustrations and the dust jacket.  I decided to purchase it as soon as I saw the price of $10.  I was certain that the price was too low, even though I had no idea of the actual value.  I have never been interested in collecting the Little House books, even though I read them when I was young.

My book has "G-U" on the copyright page, so according to this site, it was printed in July 1945.  I looked at sold listings on eBay.  An extremely nice book and dust jacket from 1952 sold for $400.  My book isn't anywhere near that nice, so it's worth a good bit less.  I found another one from 1947 possibly in slightly better condition than mine that sold for $150, so that is probably in the ballpark of what my book is worth.  In any case, I am confident that my book is worth more than $10.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Wishing Star #18 Secrets and #19 Sisters

Wishing Star #18 Secrets, Deborah Aydt, 1981

As soon as I sat down to dinner I could tell my parents were upset.

"Something has happened," my father admitted.  "And it's pretty bad.  I've been fired."

"What are we going to do?" I whispered.

Nobody answered.

Cathy's life changes forever after that night.  She switches to a new school, and must cope with her parents' depression and anger as her father is turned away from one job after another.

Her new life holds some happy surprises though.  Cathy fits in with the kids at school, lands a job of her own, and realizes that her friend Benedict is becoming more than just a friend...

It's interesting that the title is Secrets and that the summary mentions nothing about a secret.  There is one, and the summary should have mentioned that part of the plot.

This is a very good book.

Wishing Star #19 Sisters, Audrey P. Johnson, 1982

Would it always be like this?  Would Robin always have to look out for Rae?  Give things up for her?  Robin knows she shouldn't overprotect her sister—but Rae is different...

Robin doesn't really mind moving to the little town on the St. Lawrence River.  She's not crazy about the cold weather, but she's looking forward to making new friends.  And the first one she makes is Chris, who turns out to be very special!

Everything is terrific—except for Rae.  Rae is handicapped, and so self-conscious she spends all her time alone.  Robin feels guilty about her own life—the dates, the parties, the boyfriends—until Rae begins to change.  Before Robin knows it, Rae has her first boyfriend.  The only problem is, it's Chris...

I was surprised that the "handicap" is a slight limp.  I guess I was expecting a bit more than that.  I feel like the early part of the book exaggerates Rae's problem a bit, even though having a limp would be difficult for a teenager who is self-conscious.  Robin states her feelings about Rae on page 5:  "I felt guilty that I was strong and healthy and popular."

I can see where Rae might not be strong or popular because of the limp.  I find it odd that the limp also makes her unhealthy.  Huh.

I enjoyed reading this book, but I found a number of things odd.  I was a bit unsettled and puzzled by the ending.

The rest of this post contains spoilers.  Quit reading now to avoid having the ending spoiled.

When Chris first meets Robin and Rae, he is clearly interested in Rae instead of Robin.  Rae remains aloof, which is how Chris and Robin end up together.  After Chris and Robin have a falling out, Chris goes out with Rae.  They seem to get along pretty well.

Meanwhile, Robin works at a nearby greenhouse and meets Jeffrey.  Jeffrey is cold and arrogant at first, and Robin doesn't like him.  Later, they become friendly, and Jeffrey makes it clear that he is interested in Robin.

Rae and Chris break up.  And then, Robin reflects that she will get back with Chris.  The book pretty abruptly ends.  Uh, what?

I don't like Chris.  Something just doesn't feel right about his relationship with Robin.  I really thought that Robin would develop a relationship with Jeffrey.  She just abandons Jeffrey without any closure.  She isn't even sure about Chris, but she's going to get back with him, even though he has bad traits.  I don't get it.  I thought the author was headed towards a different ending.