Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Nancy Drew #5 The Secret at Shadow Ranch Original Tandy Illustrations

The early Nancy Drew books were illustrated by Russell H. Tandy.

Click on each image in order to see it at a higher resolution.

Glossy frontispiece used from 1931 to 1943:

Glossy internal used from 1931 to 1937:

Glossy internal used from 1931 to 1937:

Glossy internal used from 1931 to 1937:

Plain paper frontispiece used from 1943 to 1965:

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

My Valuable Percy Jackson Boxed Set

In this recent blog post, I included photos of my Percy Jackson boxed set.

Both Digital and Printed Books Have Advantages

In late December, I pulled the boxed set down off of a high shelf near the ceiling so that I could read the first book.  When I pulled the boxed set down, I regarded it as an approximately $50 item that wasn't anything special.  I certainly didn't see it as highly desirable or valuable.  It's just something that I've owned for 14 years and kept due to the secret compartment.  You can't go wrong with a secret compartment.

That said...

I had NO IDEA that my boxed set is now worth much more than what I paid for it.

I purchased the boxed set new from Amazon on December 18, 2009 and paid $49.97.  Look at these recent auction results.

Click on each image in order to view at a higher resolution.

I am astonished.  I have nothing else to say.

Monday, January 29, 2024

Nancy Drew #4 The Mystery at Lilac Inn Original Tandy Internal Illustrations

The early Nancy Drew books were illustrated by Russell H. Tandy.

Click on each image in order to see it at a higher resolution.

Glossy frontispiece used from 1930 to 1943:

Glossy internal used from 1930 to 1937:

Glossy internal used from 1930 to 1937:

Glossy internal used from 1930 to 1937:

Plain paper frontispiece used from 1943 to 1961:

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Nancy Drew #3 The Bungalow Mystery Original Tandy Internal Illustrations

The early Nancy Drew books were illustrated by Russell H. Tandy.

Click on each image in order to see it at a higher resolution.

Glossy frontispiece used from 1930 to 1943:

Glossy internal used from 1930 to 1937:

Glossy internal used from 1930 to 1937:

Glossy internal used from 1930 to 1937:

Plain paper frontispiece used from 1943 to 1960:

Monday, January 22, 2024

Nancy Drew #2 The Hidden Staircase Original Tandy Internal Illustrations

The early Nancy Drew books were illustrated by Russell H. Tandy.

Click on each image in order to see it at a higher resolution.

Glossy frontispiece used from 1930 to 1943:

Glossy internal used from 1930 to 1937:

Glossy internal used from 1930 to 1937:

Glossy internal used from 1930 to 1937:

Plain paper frontispiece used from 1943 to 1959:

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Both Digital and Printed Books Have Advantages

The subject of whether printed books or digital books are better is a frequent topic of discussion among book readers.  I contend that both formats have their benefits and that this should not be considered an either/or situation.

On January 4, 2023, I wrote:

I prefer some books in printed format and others in digital format.  I only keep modern young adult books in a digital format.  I don't see them as collectible, and I just want them to read.  I am content to have them stored on my iPad.

I sold my Harry Potter set a few years back.  I now have the books in digital format only.  Reading the books on my iPad is much easier than reading such heavy books.  Selling the set freed up valuable shelf space.

The 1st generation iPad became available in March 2010.  By September 2010, I decided that it sounded like a device I would want to have.  I went into a local store to view the display model.  I fell in love at first sight.  I needed one. 

After I purchased my iPad, I walked out of the store, feeling like it was the best day of my life.  Whenever I had the iPad with me in 2010 and 2011, it attracted attention.  People approached me and asked how I was getting online, whether it was via public Wi-Fi or a data plan.  Now I'm on my fourth iPad, a lovely blue iPad Air, and nobody gives it any notice, since tablets are commonplace. 

In early 2010 before I purchased my first iPad, I read through the Percy Jackson series for the first time.  I purchased a boxed set on Amazon.  It even has a secret compartment.

Fast forward to now.  After I watched the first three episodes of the Disney+ Percy Jackson series in late December, I decided to read the first Percy Jackson book again, since I had forgotten everything.  I got out my boxed set and retrieved the first book.

I dislike reading modern books in printed copies, but I didn't want to purchase the Kindle edition of the first Percy Jackson book when I already had it in a printed copy.  I started reading the book.

I found it so annoying.  I kept thinking of my iPad and how I'd rather be reading on it.  Let's compare the iPad and the book.

My iPad weighs 1 pound, 4.6 ounces, including the case.  The first Percy Jackson book weighs 1 pound, 4.2 ounces.  The weight is only slightly different, so that's not the problem.  

When I am reading printed books, I like to hold the book in my right hand.  I use my thumb and pinky to keep the book open.  It requires some effort when reading a modern book, which doesn't stay open unless the binding is broken.  I'm certainly not going to break the binding, so I found it annoying having to use constant pressure from my fingers to keep the book open.  It made my fingers hurt.  Yes, I could have read the book by laying it flat, but that's not my preference.  You know how it is.  We like to do things a certain way.

If I were reading on the iPad, I'd have the iPad in one of several locations.  I read at my computer desk, and I often lay the iPad down with the top edge propped up on my computer mouse.  Sometimes I hold the iPad resting upright on the right arm of my chair or in my lap.  I find all of these options to be much more convenient than holding the book.  Also, it's easier to turn the pages.  I just tap on the right side of the screen. 

I also can adjust the font size on the iPad.  I can't do that with a printed book.

I find that it's a lot easier to read printed copies of vintage series books than it is to read modern books.  The bindings are a lot more tight on the modern books.

Vintage hardcover series books weigh less than modern hardcover books.  For instance:

1st printing of Nancy Drew #8 w/DJ:  0.88 pounds
Nancy Drew #33 Green APC:  0.62 pounds
Nancy Drew #26 thick early PC:  0.64 pounds

Here are two very heavy modern hardcover books that I have on hand. 

Keeper of the Lost Cities # 6:  2.3 pounds
Harry Potter #7:  2.4 pounds

The two I selected are extreme examples, but many books are large and heavy these days.  I'll take the Kindle edition over even the softcover book.  I especially love being able to highlight passages and search the text of Kindle books.

Going back to Percy Jackson, I made it a little over halfway through the first book before I gave up.  I found it increasingly difficult to hold the book open as I got into the second half of the book.  I couldn't stand it anymore, so I purchased the Kindle edition to finish reading it.  

For me, it's not a case of one format being better than the other.  I like reading the printed copies of the vintage books that I own.  The books are lightweight and easy to hold.  I never have a problem with reading them.  For modern books, I only read the Kindle edition.  I dislike reading modern hardcover books that are thick and heavy. 

The modern paperback books weigh less than the hardcover books and would be preferable but for one reason:  The modern paperback books are now printed on pulp paper that is gray when the books are new. 

When the Nancy Drew Diaries series began in 2013, I purchased the hardcover and softcover versions of the first two books.  I wrote, "I was further disgusted about the gray pulp paper used on the softcover books and deeply regretted that I wasted money on them."  I ended up selling those books.  I could not stand the poor paper quality.  The paper looks dirty, and books printed on pulp paper are harder to read.

In closing, I prefer the digital edition for all modern books.  For vintage books that I own, I prefer to read the vintage books.  For vintage books that I do not own that are in the public domain, I am fine reading the digital edition.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Nancy Drew #1 The Secret of the Old Clock Original Tandy Internal Illustrations

The early Nancy Drew books were illustrated by Russell H. Tandy.

Click on each image in order to see it at a higher resolution.

Glossy frontispiece used from 1930 to 1943:

Glossy internal used from 1930 to 1937:

Glossy internal used from 1930 to 1937:

Glossy internal used from 1930 to 1937:

Plain paper frontispiece used from 1943 to 1959:

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Selling Trends, Upcoming Blog Posts, and Motivation

Popularity of bare tweed Nancy Drew books

Right now the blue tweed and solid blue Nancy Drew books are selling briskly, so much so that I'm having trouble keeping an inventory.  Since my unlisted extras had dwindled to just a small quantity, I worked on sourcing more tweed books.

Pickings are slim right now, but I found some bulk lots to purchase.  These books arrived today and came from several bulk lots.  Click on the image to see it clearly.

The books aren't in the best of condition, and I paid more than I would have preferred, which was my decision.  If the books are selling briskly and I am having trouble sourcing them, then it's worthwhile to pay more than I normally would.

Both eBay and Etsy reward sellers who have regular sales by giving them better placement in the search results.  Since the tweed books are selling well, I need to keep them in stock so that the rest of my inventory has a chance at being seen in the results.

Some people think that the tweed Nancy Drew books are only worth $2 to $3 each.  All I'll say is that I paid more than $3 each for these books.  And I'm not keeping them; I will sell them.  

My profit margin will be narrow, but as I stated, it will be worthwhile since these books will help keep me in good favor with eBay and Etsy.

Recent comments now showing

A few years ago, I removed the "recent comments" widget from this blog because it wasn't working.  That was disappointing, since it was a way for blog followers to see recent comments, which can appear on any of the several thousand posts in this blog.

Last week I figured out how to get the recent comments back, so they are now visible once again in the right sidebar.  I can only have up to five recent comments displayed, but that is better than nothing.  This blog doesn't get very many comments, so checking the "recent comments" widget once every week or so is often enough.

Upcoming blog posts

I have given some thought as to how I can have regular new content in this blog even when I'm not writing posts.  I realized that I can post images that I have not already posted elsewhere.  I spent a good amount of time this weekend scanning glossy internal illustrations from the Nancy Drew, Dana Girls, and Judy Bolton series.  

I created posts with the images.  I have enough posts, if staggered once every few days, to last a few months.  Those will begin to post once I get them scheduled.  

I have written a post about digital and printed books plus another post on recent Keeper of the Lost Cities purchases.  Those will publish sometime soon.

Ongoing autoimmune flares

During the last month, I have had several autoimmune flares.  I know what triggered some of the flares, but others are a mystery to me.  One month ago, my thyroid levels were near optimal, and I feel that they are still quite good overall, although I keep fluctuating.  

I believe the most recent flare was caused by when I had to drive on very slick ice Tuesday of last week.  We had school that day when we shouldn't have.  It was a most harrowing experience.  It triggered a flare which seems to be ongoing.  I hope I'll come out of it soon.  

I mention this because the flares are causing me to lose motivation very easily and over things that normally wouldn't faze me.  

Varying Motivation

My motivation for posting on Facebook waxes and wanes.  I was enthusiastic a few months ago, and then I began to lose enthusiasm.  The problem is when certain people take the opportunity to pick my brain.

Let's say that I post an image of a Nancy Drew book.  Someone will then take the opportunity to ask me a very basic question that can be readily answered by a simple Google search.  I answer briefly, knowing what will happen next.  They then ask a follow-up question.  I answer again.  They then ask yet another question.  It is exhausting.

Other people will take the opportunity to ask me esoteric questions.  The problem here is that they choose to ask about something I don't know.  It's awkward and also tiring.

I am often asked "why" questions.  Especially common are the questions about whatever I have posted.  They ask me why the cover art was done in a certain style.  They ask why certain colors were used or why the logo was done a certain way.  

I don't know!  

These scenarios occurred several times on Facebook in the last couple of months, and my enthusiasm lessened.  During the last month, I have been wary when I have posted an image, wondering what I was going to get asked next.

I just want to encourage engagement, meaning that I want to read comments.  The comments can be short with minimal effort.  I don't expect anyone to go to a lot of trouble.  I just don't want my post to be interpreted as a signal to corner me and treat me like an encyclopedia.

Those of us who are treated like encyclopedias do feel used.  Other people have expressed this to me privately, and I feel that way at times as well.  I also feel taken for granted.  People just expect me to provide content for their enjoyment and have no idea how long the creation of that content takes.

Time-consuming content creation

I wanted to know how long the glossy internal posts were taking me.  For one book, I timed myself, not including the time to retrieve the book from and return the book to the shelf.  I found that scanning the images, editing them, uploading them, creating the post, and getting the images placed in the post took a full 15 minutes.  Multiply that by over 30 posts.  I must have spent over 8 hours working on the posts.  It was probably even longer than that, since I had to figure out how I wanted to go about certain things.

Questions that are welcome

On answering questions, I should clarify something.  If you want to open a discussion with me about color variations on picture covers, interesting buying and selling trends, library editions, whether a certain printing in Farah's Guide exists, whether Farah is correct on value and scarcity, your complaints about how collectors behave, and stuff like that, then I will be on board immediately.  It will not tire me.  I will enjoy answering questions and engaging in a discussion.

It's just exhausting having people ask me really basic questions or questions outside of my knowledge base.  I hope you understand the difference.  Ask wisely, and you shall receive.  Be careless with what you ask, and I will shut down.

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Thoughts on the Narnia Movies

I haven't read the Narnia books in at least 15 years.  Going by what I remember, this is my ranking of the books from favorite to least favorite.

1.  The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
2.  The Horse and His Boy
3.  The Magician's Nephew
4.  Prince Caspian
5.  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
6.  The Silver Chair
7.  The Last Battle

That is the order in which I think I would place them.  If I were to read them again, the order of a few would likely shift.  Even so, I'm about certain that Dawn Treader would remain in first place.  I've always loved it.

I recently watched the movie adaptations of the first three Narnia books.  It seems that my opinion about the movies is a bit different from the majority opinion.  Why does that not surprise me?

I don't judge the movies by how faithful the adaptations are.  My opinion is solely based on how much I enjoyed watching each movie.

I partially enjoyed The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  Parts of the movie really interested me, while I forwarded through other parts.

Prince Caspian bored me, as in completely.  The movie is pretty much one huge fight scene.  It is a wonderful movie if you like lengthy fight scenes, but I'm not interested in that sort of thing.  I forwarded through much of the movie.

What I loved about the book is missing from the movie.  Keeping in mind that I haven't read the book in 15 or so years, I do remember what I loved about it.  I loved the parts with Doctor Cornelius and the backstory that he provides.  I love the Pevensies' arrival in Narnia and how they come to be with Trumpkin.  There's some fun stuff where Trumpkin doesn't believe who they are, and this is mostly eliminated in the movie.  The movie bored me.

I knew that The Voyage of the Dawn Treader would certainly fall short of the magic of the book, and I knew that the plot would be changed a lot.  Undaunted, I was eager to watch the movie.  I strongly suspected that I would like it much better than the other two movies.

I was not disappointed.

I watched every second of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and never felt like forwarding through anything.  Nothing drags, and everything is interesting.

The movie does change a lot from the book, but we still see Caspian and his crew traveling to multiple islands to discover the fate of the seven missing Lords of Narnia.  

I always have found the ending of Dawn Treader with Reepicheep to be moving.  The same happened when I watched the movie.  Tears came to my eyes.  Oh, such a valiant talking mouse!

After I finished watching Dawn Treader, I searched online to see what other people think.  Most people like the first movie the best, while others like the second movie the best.  Many people hate the third movie.  It just goes to show that you can't go by other people's opinions.  

On Reddit, I found this comment about the third movie:

I liked it, I found it fun. I guess I just don't view things as seriously as other people. I can actually enjoy things.

Ha.  Of course, this person was downvoted.  How dare anyone like the third movie!  At least someone agrees with me.  Yes, events were left out and the order of the islands was changed, but I greatly enjoyed this adaptation of my favorite Narnia book.

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

More on Fan Meltdowns - Both Percy Jackson and Nancy Drew

I'm just going to say it.  The complaining on Reddit about the new Disney+ Percy Jackson series has now reached an insane level.  Some of the complaints make no sense.  These people are toxic, and all they want to do is make every other fan as miserable as they are.

Here is one bizarre complaint that astonishes me.  Some fans are complaining that the scenes fade to black for commercial breaks when there aren't commercials.  They act like this is not a thing on streaming services.  Somehow, this new Percy Jackson series has reverted to an earlier time, back when commercials actually existed.

Insane.  I'm sorry, but this is insane.

Some viewers do have commercials.  Not everyone pays for the more expensive service that is commercial-free.  Second, the shows might air on television at some point.  It's crazy, but television does still have commercials.  I know.  It's so hard to believe.

That's how toxic they've become.  They are complaining that the show fades to black where a commercial might be placed.  Okay...

They are also fixating on the episodes being too short.  If a show is 30 minutes instead of 40 minutes, then this is the absolute worst development ever.  I assume that they would rather not have the show exist at all than have an episode shorter than they would like.

In a bizarre twist, some fans are now complaining that author Rick Riordan was too involved in the production and that he should have been less involved.

I captured a few comments from this Reddit post that I feel are worth quoting here.

elitist bookreaders with superiority and gatekeeping complexes ruin modern entertainment for everyone else

Yeah, I agree.

Guys this is done on purpose because they are trying to ruin your experience bc they are angry with Rick still about "casting". This isn't just your average criticism.

They are trying to ruin everyone's experience.

That's what's behind the hyper-negativity here, I think: This intense assumption among some fans that

(1) they are OWED certain details in the show,

(2) the series should look like what they have had inside their own heads for years, or else it's "wrong," and

(3) they know as much about TV production budgets, directing, casting, acting and writing as people who do these things professionally.

Criticism if it's realistic and comes from some understanding of what making a show actually involves, is fine. But much of what's here isn't criticism; it's just bashing something for Not Being What Is Inside My Head.

People are too entitled these days.  How about being grateful for what we have? 

Nancy Drew fans complained a bit much about CW ND, but a least they didn't complain about totally stupid things.  

So, this is the subreddit which is the most toxic.


The problem is lack of moderation.  The moderators need to bring it under control.  There are ways that this can be done, but it will be very unpleasant for the moderators.  I really can think of no worse position a moderator can be in than serve as a moderator during a fan meltdown.  I was in that position in late 2019.  It was awful.

The Big Nancy Drew Fan Meltdown of 2019
Finding a Middle Ground to Discuss CW's Nancy Drew

When the CW show ended, I finally made a confession.

From Reflecting on Allowing Discussion of the CW ND Television Series:

In 2019, I stood my ground on allowing discussion of the CW ND television series, despite strong opposition that came from quite a few collectors.  On May 31 of this year, I posted the following to the Collecting Vintage Series Books group on Facebook.

... I am following through on a promise that I made to myself in late 2019: I will not allow bullies to prevent me from allowing discussion of an adaptation of a legacy vintage series just because they don't approve of it.

I was treated rather badly in late 2019 when Nancy Drew premiered.  I received some pretty hateful private messages.  I was compared to Joseph Stalin.  That was when I promised myself that I would not back down.  It is reasonable that a group devoted to Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys should be able to allow discussion of modern adaptations of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys.

The series finale aired on August 23.  I posted the following right after I made my final episode post.

And it's a wrap!  I have fulfilled my promise to myself that I made in late 2019.  I was bullied about allowing and facilitating discussion of this series in this group.  I promised myself that I would post about every single episode in the series until it was over.  And so I have.

I am very proud of myself for following through, and I have felt slightly uncomfortable the entire time.  Every single time I posted about the latest ND episode, I felt discomfort.  Yes, all 62 times. 

It took a toll on me.  The haters did keep us from discussing the show as freely as we would have, which is sad.  I am certain that most fans who watched the show didn't comment in the group because they were afraid.  I was nervous myself, but I kept posting the weekly discussions.  I wasn't going to allow the haters to win a complete victory.  They wanted the CW ND show out of the group, and I kept it in there the entire four years it was on the air.

I believe that I would never had kept up with the weekly discussions throughout the four years if I had been treated better in late 2019.  I stood my ground due to how unfairly I was treated.

The Percy Jackson subreddit moderators could reduce the toxicity, but it requires great inner strength and the resolve to stay the course despite extreme criticism.  Haters really dislike being brought under control.

I began writing this post several days ago.  Since then I have seen signs that the moderators of the Percy Jackson subreddit are trying to reduce the toxicity.  I wish them well.

Sunday, January 7, 2024

The Percy Jackson Movies

The first two Percy Jackson books were adapted into movies.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, 2010

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, 2013

I've always heard how bad the movies are and that they are just terrible.  For that reason, I've never been interested in watching them.  I continued to feel that way during the last couple weeks as I followed the current Percy Jackson meltdown on Reddit.  

On January 2, I said to myself, What are you doing?  Why are you just believing these people that the movies are bad?  You usually enjoy adaptations.

On Wednesday, January 3, I watched the first Percy Jackson movie.  I watched the second movie on Thursday, January 4.

The first Percy Jackson movie isn't bad at all.  I enjoyed most of it.  My favorite moment is near the beginning when Percy is attacked at the museum (follow the link to see it).  I find Percy's reaction right after the attack to be great.  It's exactly how I imagine someone with ADHD might react after being attacked by a supernatural monster for the first time.  I love it.

I don't like Grover in the movies anywhere near as much as Grover in the Disney+ show.  Grover in the show is quite likeable and what I would want Percy to have in a best friend.  I also like Luke in the show better than Luke in the movies.

The second Percy Jackson movie isn't as good as the first.  The relationship between Percy and Tyson is quite endearing in the book, and the movie loses all of that.  In the book, Tyson is a homeless kid who is much larger than the other students.  He's a charity case, and Percy watches out for him.  Percy is Tyson's only friend.  I really enjoy the first part of the second book.

In the movie, Tyson just shows up at Camp Half-Blood one day.  I had no reason to care.  Even worse, "spray mist" is used by Tyson so that he appears to have two eyes during most of the movie.  Tyson also uses sunglasses at times.  Not only is this a lame way to avoid the cost of special efforts, it just makes Tyson look normal instead of a cyclops.  It takes away from the impact.

The second movie is not interesting at all, and I don't think I enjoyed a single scene in the entire movie.  The movie fell quite flat.

I'm glad that I did check out both movies, since I liked the first one.  Fans online act like both movies are awful.  The first one is fine.  It may not be an ideal adaptation, but it is entertaining.

Friday, January 5, 2024

The Percy Jackson Fan Meltdown

This post will remind Nancy Drew fans of the Nancy Drew fan meltdown in late 2019, which was caused by the premiere of Nancy Drew on The CW.

If you're not familiar with Percy Jackson, here's what you need to know.  Percy Jackson is a middle-grade fantasy series.  Percy learns that he is a demigod, the son of Poseidon.  He is sent on a quest to recover Zeus' missing master bolt in order to avoid a war between the gods.

The first two books were adapted into films in 2010 and 2013.  The characters were aged up to older teenagers, which changed the dynamic.  The author, Rick Riordan, was displeased with how the movies were done and refused for years to have anything to do with Hollywood. 

Riordan learned that Percy Jackson was being developed as a television series by Disney (which also publishes the book series) and would come to fruition regardless of his involvement.  He decided to be involved so that he would have some creative input.  Riordan is extremely pleased with how the television series has turned out.  You can see how thrilled he is in this YouTube clip.

The new adaption of the Percy Jackson series is now airing on Disney+.  The first four episodes are available, and episodes 5 through 8 will be released once per week during the rest of this month.

I read through the five Percy Jackson books around 14 years ago and then read them for a second time sometime in the few years after that.  It's been at least 10 years since I've read the books.

I am not sure where I heard about the Disney Percy Jackson adaptation, but it had to have been on Reddit.  It was during the first few days after the first two episodes dropped.  Even though I haven't been interested in Percy Jackson for years and could barely remember anything, I checked out the Percy Jackson subreddits.

I quickly realized that the Percy Jackson fans were in the middle of a full-fledged meltdown.  Meltdowns can be interesting, so long as one doesn't have a vested interest or have to moderate the meltdown.  I decided that I should watch the Disney+ series.  Even though I had forgotten most everything about the book series, I knew that I liked the books and that I usually enjoy adaptations of books that I have enjoyed reading.

In short, the Percy Jackson show is just fine.  I don't have problems with adaptations of books, because I understand that the adaptations cannot—under any circumstance—reproduce my experience as a reader.

As regular readers know, I was able to enjoy the Nancy Drew series that aired on The CW.  In that case, Nancy Drew fans did have legitimate complaints about that show.  Nancy Drew having sex and dealing with spirits running amok is significantly outside of what appears in the original book series.  Even so, I was able to enjoy the show for what it was.  

But this new Percy Jackson series and the massive meltdown that surrounds it?  There is no justification for the meltdown.  There is nothing wrong with this new series.  Is the series perfect?  No, but no adaptation is perfect.  It is just fine.

Here's what is happening.  

There is name-calling.  

For instance, fans who are complaining are said to be "deranged."  While I wouldn't use that word, I do agree that some of the complaints are rather petty.  

Some fans are angry with Rick Riordan because he was involved.

This makes no sense.  This was one fan's response:  "Absolutely insane.  The definition of delusional.  Do not disrespect Rick our book father."

Some fans say that the children cannot act.

I guess I'm some kind of idiot, because I don't see anything wrong with their acting.  The complainers are expecting the kids to be like seasoned actors.  If I were Percy Jackson, I'd react exactly as he does to learning that he is a demigod.  I wouldn't be flamboyant about it.  

Some fans say that Annabeth shouldn't be played by a Black girl.

In the books, Annabeth is a white girl with blonde hair.  The complainers are then accused of being racist and so on.  It appears that a lot of the people complaining about Annabeth's race have finally shut up.  It may also be that the moderators are now deleting those complaints.  Saying that a character should or shouldn't be a certain race never ends well.  

Some fans think that Percy's stepdad, Gabe, is not being depicted as abusive enough.  

I feel like these fans want to see Gabe beating Percy up.  Gabe is being portrayed as a huge jerk, and that's good enough for me.  I don't know if the Disney series will resolve Gabe's character how the book does, but fans should reserve judgment until they see all eight episodes.  

Some fans say that the show isn't violent enough.  

I guess these fans want to see blood and gore during the fight scenes.  It's a children's show.  Why would it need to be more violent?  Bizarre.  Speaking of which...

Some fans say that the show shouldn't be aimed at children.  It should be aimed at adults.

Their reasoning is that they think the show should have been made for the original Percy Jackson fans of 15 to 19 years ago.  They therefore think that the show is supposed to be for people who are now around 30 years old.  They think that the show is too childish for their age group.  


Adaptations of children's book series are typically aimed at the target age of the book series.  Percy Jackson is a middle-grade fantasy series, so the adaptation is aimed at current middle-grade children.  This view that the show ought to be aimed at adults is a bit... weird.

Many fans are now complaining about the complainers.

It's now to the point that most of the complaining consists of people complaining about the complainers.  This is rather funny.

Here's a good comment that I saved.  It could be addressed to fans from any fandom.

Please don't be like this

Please don't be that fan that needs everything that's on the show to be exactly as it is on the book. Please understand that this is a different type of media and some adaptation will exist, while prior moments of the story will be kept and are being told almost just like we imagined in the books. Please don't act like a spoiled **censored by the mist** and flop this show just because you can't live in a world where uncle Rick decided to take some creative decisions regarding his own characters for his own show, such as their appearances.  Please don't be like this.  We, demigods, this fandom, are way better than doing this and being this type of fan.  We've waited so long, don't ruin this for absolutely nothing...

Someone else wrote this.

Why do you want [the production to be] a copy of the book?  Just read the damn book then!  This isn't the same Percy Jackson you fell in love with, because it isn't a book.

After I watched the first three episodes, I decided that I really needed to read the first book again to refresh my memory.  I have now done so and can see where the show has deviated from the book.  It's just not a problem for me.  I expect to enjoy the rest of the shows.

Here are some of the current post titles in one of the Percy Jackson subreddits:

MODS: Please we need a rule excluding posts complaining about other "X type" of posts.

PSA: People are allowed to post their criticisms of the show here, it's not toxicity it's opinions.

Why is everyone being so negative?

Time to create a post complaining about the complaints that are complaining about complaints complaining!

Should we make a sub specifically for criticism?

Guys, you’re turning away fans

I’m tired of all the posts telling people to stop being negative.

Holy negativity

That’s it, the toxic fans have forced me out of this subreddit.

The problem with all the complaining is that it has ruined other fans' experiences.  Fans who are enjoying an adaptation want to get online and enjoy the experience with other fans.  We all agree that people have the right to complain, but the complainers are so prominent that they drown out everyone else.

That's what happened in late 2019 during the Nancy Drew fan meltdown.  In 2019, the worst part was when fans that I respected chose to insult and blame those of us who were able to enjoy CW's version of Nancy Drew.  I will never forget how scornful they were.  Some Percy Jackson fans are behaving in the same fashion.  Worst of all, they are being scornful of Rick Riordan since he likes the adaptation.  That's not cool.

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

10 Years of Reading: Each Year Has a Story

2023 marked the tenth year that I kept track of every single book that I read.  I read 2,015 books during those 10 years.  As I reflected on my 2023 reading in December, I realized that my reading from each year tells a story about that particular year.  This post contains quotes from my 2014 through 2023 posts about the books that I read.

2014:  262 books read - I use books as escapism.  (2014 post)

I have always used reading as escapism, and I become an unusually voracious reader during times of great stress, particularly when the stress is caused by a physical ailment.  I didn't realize as 2014 began that it would be a year of great stress and illness and that I would use books as escapism to a greater degree than I ever have in my entire life. 

2015:  231 books read - I realize that I like boys' series books.  (2015 post)

I have never cared for boys' series books.  That is... I didn't think that I cared for them.  The only boys' series I had read were the Hardy Boys, Perry Pierce, and Ken Holt.  While I overall enjoyed the Hardy Boys books, I did not like certain aspects of them, such as some of the boisterous behavior of the boys.  I enjoyed Perry Pierce more than the Hardy Boys, but I also didn't care for similar situations.  When I read Ken Holt back in 2010, I struggled with the great detail and some of the qualities shared with the former two series.  Based on those experiences, I concluded that I didn't like boys' series books very much.

In the last year I have read the Three Investigators, Brains Benton, the Power Boys, Rick Brant, Roger Baxter, Troy Nesbit, and Biff Brewster.  I greatly enjoyed most all of the books in most of the series.  I read the Ken Holt books again, and I liked them better than I did in 2010.  Since I responded quite well to most of the books in these boys' series, I can now conclude that I do in fact like boys' series books.  This is quite a revelation for me, since I thought that I didn't like boys' books.

2016:  355 books - I explain my reading pace.  (2016 post)

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.

I also watch very little television.  That's more time freed up.

I don't read every word of every book.  I don't need to read the obligatory explanation of how Frank is older than Joe, their father Fenton is a detective, and so on in every Hardy Boys book.  I skim or skip over those paragraphs.  That saves time.

I am reading children's books.  Most of them do have at least 150 pages, but they are nowhere near as long as the average book for adults.  This means that I can read more children's books than I could adult books.

In "How to read 462 books in one year," Sarah Weinman explains her reading technique.  "What also seems to happen is that I read a page not necessarily word by word, but by capturing pages in sequence in my head. The words and phrases appear diagonally, like I'm absorbing the text all in one gulp, and then I move on to the next sequence I can absorb by paragraph or page."

I can't do what Sarah describes, but I do sometimes read individual paragraphs diagonally.  It considerably speeds up reading.

2017:  403 books - I attain my goal of reading an average of one book per day.  (2017 post)

The idea of reading one book per day appeals to me, even though it is a daunting task.  I set myself a goal of reading 365 books by the end of 2017.  I have some significant doubt as to whether the goal is reachable, and it depends upon the length of the books I read.  Indeed, I have set the goal at 365 to force myself to keep reading as many books as I can as quickly as I can. 
I have approximately 500 books on my "to read" list.  These are books that I truly want to read very soon, but even at one book per day, I will need around 1 1/2 years to get to all of them.  It's a bit overwhelming and even a little depressing.  By having a goal of one book per day this year, I will make good progress on my reading list.

2018:  315 books - I begin to grow tired of writing reviews.  (2018 post)

You will also notice that I did not review all books that I read.  Sometimes I do not review a book simply because I do not feel like it.  When I read a single volume by an author, I am less likely to write up a review.  The motivation to write the review is lower when the book is not part of a larger set.

I also balk at writing reviews when I did not enjoy books that were highly recommended to me or that were mentioned as having been someone's childhood favorite.  I read several such books this year.  Those books weren't bad, but they didn't do anything for me, either.  I hardly want to write up a review of one of those books saying that it wasn't very interesting to me.

2019:  185 books - I get really annoyed about people criticizing my reading choices and how I spend my time.  (2019 post)

There are books that I had purchased that I had never read.  I had a feeling that reading them would not be very satisfying but I had to try the books at some point in time.  A time with no reading goal and no strong interest in reading seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Some readers might not understand my reasoning, but it made sense to me.  I wasn't going to read much, so I figured that I should just make a task out of it and force myself to read certain books kind of like I was reading them as part of a job.  Does that help?  If not, don't worry about why.  It worked for me.

So I proceeded through one book after another.  I had to decide whether I could read the books, as in whether I could ever in my entire life manage to read the books.  If I couldn't force myself to read them at a time when I didn't care if I enjoyed what I read, then I would never be able to read them.  I wanted to list the books for sale if I couldn't read them.  I didn't want to sell them and regret it later, wondering if I would have enjoyed the books if I had tried them.  I had to try.  And try I did.

For those who think that I shouldn't be reading books that I don't enjoy... I didn't read all of them.  I read a couple dozen books partway through and quit.  Some books were read halfway.  Some books were read for only a few chapters.  The very first page or two of some books scared me off.  Never worry about me wasting my time and energy on bad books.  I know when to stop.

I must have between 8,000 and 10,000 books in my house.  I am very satisfied that I have cleared out books that took up a length of at least six feet on my shelves.  Some books have already been listed and sold.  I am very pleased to have made headway with books that were taking up place and had never been read.  That is why I forced myself to try all of those books that I found boring.

Also, some of you might be wondering why I purchased a bunch of boring books.  At the time I purchased the books, they wouldn't have been boring.  I already explained in my previous post that my taste in books has changed in the last 10 years.  If I had read the books 10 years ago, I might have enjoyed most of them.  Reading lots of boys' series books since 2014 has changed me as a reader.

2020:  106 books - I fear for my life.  (2020 post)

I am not myself at all.  I'm too worried about school starting and about everything having to do with the pandemic.  I go back to work five weeks from today.  School starts six weeks from tomorrow.  Yikes.  I feel like I'm trapped on the Titanic headed for a disaster.

I have decided that my listings on eBay and Etsy will come down regardless of how we do school.  I just don't need to be packing books or answering buyer's questions in the evenings.  I expect that both of my stores will be closed from around August 3 through at least late August.  I will have to see what happens and assess my stress level.

I keep pushing my fears into the back of my mind, but August 5 creeps closer with each day.  And of course, everyone is deeply worried about school, not just the teachers but also the parents and children.  This is a such a mess. 

With all that is on my mind, I don't get much out of reading anything.

2021:  60 books - My reading output further declines.  (2021 post)

want to read, but most all books are unappealing to me at present.  I find that the only kind of books I currently find remotely appealing are ones about an apocalypse of some kind.  I don't need it to make sense, but I do want it to have occurred in the world we know, involve very little fantasy, and be written in an engaging fashion without a bunch of boring content.  Most of the books I try fail on one or more points.  I abandoned a number of books this year since they didn't end up meeting those conditions.


I have kept quite busy, so it should be understandable why I didn't read as many books.  For a time, I thought that I wouldn't even make it past 50 books, so I'm pleased that I ended up reading 60 books altogether.  One study found that Americans read an average of 12 books per year with the median American reading just 4 books per year.  Reading 60 books is just fine.  

In closing, I want to express that I do not need any advice.  While most books do not interest me right now, I read as fast and with as much interest as ever when I come across a book that does interest me.  I haven't changed, but I have other concerns and interests right now. 

2022:  47 books - I read online content instead of books.  (2022 post)

I am constantly reading, but these days what I read tends to be on Reddit and Quora.  I love reading online discussions about anything and everything and spend a significant amount of time each day doing so.  I just haven't been very motivated to read actual books.

As I've stated before, I don't need any advice.  I'm not disappointed in my reading output.  The pandemic has taken a lot out of me and continues to do so.  While the pandemic itself is waning, the impact continues.  Much of my stress this last year was caused by events that came about due to the fallout of the pandemic.  

2023:  51 books - I obsess over the Keeper of the Lost Cities series.  (2023 post)

The story of 2023 is my obsession over the Keeper of the Lost Cities series.  It's impacted me profoundly.  This sort of thing doesn't happen often.  When it does, I never forget my initial exposure.

I didn't mention in my post that my obsession stems from my hunt for clues to the protagonist's past and to something else.  I discovered early in my reading that clues are present in anagrams formed by some character's names.  Some of the anagrams are hard to decode, and I'm proud that I figured them out.  My search for clues and anagrams has been great fun.

Monday, January 1, 2024

Books Read in 2023

The quality of the reading experience is much more important than the quantity.  For that reason, 2023 was an excellent reading year for me.

I read 51 books in 2023, which was a slight increase from the 47 books I read in 2022.  While my total is just slightly higher, I actually read much more in 2023 than I did in 2022.  10 of the 51 books were read three times apiece.  If I were to count my duplicate readings of those 10 books, then my total books read instead would be 71 books.  Additionally, the 10 books that I read three times over are very long books of 600 to 900 pages each.

January:  16 books

Suzie by John Benton
Sherri by John Benton
Lori by John Benton
Marji by John Benton
Marji and the Kidnap Plot by John Benton
Nancy Drew Diaries #24 Captain Stone's Revenge
Marji and the Gangland Wars by John Benton
Julie by John Benton
Lefty by John Benton
Vicki by John Benton
Jackie by John Benton
Terri by John Benton
Nikki by John Benton
Connie by John Benton
Valarie by John Benton
Sheila by John Benton

February:  6 books

Stephanie by John Benton
Candi by John Benton
Hardy Boys Adventures #25 The Smuggler's Legacy
Sandi by John Benton
Augie by John Benton
Kari by John Benton

March:  13 books

Tracy by John Benton
Paco by John Benton
Kristi by John Benton
Lorene by John Benton
Rocky by John Benton
Renee by John Benton
Lisa by John Benton
Sally Lockhart, The Ruby in the Smoke, by Philip Pullman
Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger
Keeper of the Lost Cities #2 Exile
Keeper of the Lost Cities #3 Everblaze
Keeper of the Lost Cities #4 Neverseen
Keeper of the Lost Cities #5 Lodestar

April:  5 books

Keeper of the Lost Cities #6 Nightfall
Keeper of the Lost Cities #7 Flashback
Keeper of the Lost Cities #8 Legacy
Keeper of the Lost Cities #8.5 Unlocked
Keeper of the Lost Cities #9 Stellarlune

I read through all of the Keeper of the Lost Cities books again immediately after finishing my first reading.  My second reading was from late April to early June.

June:  2 books

The Chinese Riddle by Nina Brown Baker
The Ranee's Ruby by Nina Brown Baker

In early August, I began reading through the Keeper of the Lost Cities series for the third time.  My third reading concluded in early November.

November: 6 books

Keeper of the Lost Cities Graphic Novel Part 1
The Thickety: A Path Begins, by J. A.  White
The Thickety #2 The Whispering Trees by J. A. White
The Thickety #3 Well of Witches by J. A. White
The Thickety #4 The Last Spell by J. A. White
Seniors #1 Too Much Too Soon by Eileen Goudge

December:  3 books

Seniors #2 Smart Enough to Know by Eileen Goudge
Seniors #3 Winner All the Way by Eileen Goudge
Percy Jackson #1 The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

I am currently fighting the urge to read through the Keeper of the Lost Cities books for the fourth time.  I ought to be able to hold off for at least a few weeks, since I'm reading the Percy Jackson books.

I first read the Percy Jackson series 14 years ago and read through the original five titles at least a second time a few years after that.  A Percy Jackson series is currently airing on Disney+, and I had forgotten most everything about the books.  I watched the first three episodes, then I decided that I would enjoy the rest of the series much better if I reread the first Percy Jackson book.  After I finished rereading the first book, I decided to continue through the set.

I have been tracking the books I've read each year since 2014.  I was thinking about this a few weeks ago and realized that each year's reading tells a story.

The story of 2023 is my obsession over the Keeper of the Lost Cities series.  It's impacted me profoundly.  This sort of thing doesn't happen often.  When it does, I never forget my initial exposure.

March 13, 2023:

I am perusing Simon & Schuster's website, with my results limited to children's books aimed at the same age as the Nancy Drew series.  What is this stuff?  Why would I want to read these books?  I am so out of touch.

I do judge books by their covers and by their titles.  I won't try the Dork Diaries series.  I do tend to gravitate towards books with titles not completely dissimilar to classic series books.  I also gravitate towards the more nicely painted covers.

The Keeper of the Lost Cities series looks like it could be a possibility.  I am about to check out the sample on Amazon.

My goal that evening was to sample some other Simon & Schuster books in order to compare their quality to S&S's Nancy Drew output.  I didn't expect to get sucked into an obsession that has now lasted nearly 10 months and shows no sign of lessening.

I wonder about what I miss out on because I never have that initial exposure.  I'm glad that the one Keeper book stood out when I glanced over S&S's offerings on the night of March 13.  Otherwise, I never would have tried the series and would have missed out on something that I love dearly.

The Keeper fandom has grown slowly but steadily over the 11 years since the first book was published.  It was supposed to be just a trilogy but has expanded as its popularity has grown.  The fandom has grown primarily by word-of-mouth, and I am doing my part by recommending the books.

If you have enjoyed middle-grade fantasy like Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Fablehaven, or similar books, then you should give the first Keeper book a try.  The worst thing that can happen is that you won't like the book.  But even if that happens, then you will be sure that you won't miss out on something that you might have liked.  

While I didn't read a massive number of books like I did around five years ago, my reading experience in 2023 was the most satisfying it's been in years.  This is because I found a special series of books that I greatly enjoy.