Thursday, May 30, 2024

Targeting the YA Category

It seems that everyone is out to get the YA category.

How Public Libraries Are Targeted Right Now—It's Not "Just" Books: Book Censorship News, March 29, 2024

The above linked article covers all of the threats facing public and school libraries.  One article mentioned within it caught my eye.

Flathead County Library Board trustees propose removing young adult designation

Several Flathead County Library trustees want to remove the young adult fiction designation owing to the genre's wide age range that they argue fails to give parents enough guidance on whether a book is appropriate for their child.

That's the problem right there:  YA books are inappropriate for a child.  Children shouldn't be reading young adult books; they should be reading children's and middle-grade books.

The hue and cry over YA books being inappropriate is due to people thinking that the books are for children.  Perhaps children are consuming them, but most of them probably shouldn't be.

Young adult literature typically focuses on a young protagonist but varies in subject matter. According to a report from PBS Digital Studios on young adult fiction, the genre's meaning has varied wildly over the years, encompassing everything from coming-of-age-stories to serialized adventure series.

Not again.  Ugh.  People have a problem with YA books having varying themes.  They make it sound like the genre has no meaning since it can range from "coming-of-age-stories to serialized adventure series."

YA books feature young adult characters and are written for ages 12+.  Period.  They can be any kind of book.

[Board Chair David] Ingram described young adult fiction as for readers ages 12 to 25, which he added "appears to be an arbitrary classification by the publishers that does not provide guidance to the librarians making selections within this category."

Say what?!  Ages 12 to 25?  Apparently, Ingram hasn't heard of the category New Adult, which is for people in their twenties.

That aside, my first thought when seeing the age range of 12 to 25 was that the real age range, obviously unstated, is more like age 12 to 75+.  Lots of adults read YA, but even so, YA is still in between children's books and adult books. 

Ingram said he was confused by the young adult designation and that the easiest demarcation in his view would be to designate all materials as either "for minors or for adults."  Ingram turned the proposal into a motion, adding that it can include further division of materials by staff as they see fit.

So, books are for children or for adults.  This is the problem, people.  We have the YA category for a reason.  We should use it appropriately.  The books aren't for children.  They also aren't intended for adults, even though many adults read them.  Many adults also read children's books as well.  I am one of them.  

He had the support of Vice Chair Carmen Cuthbertson, who called young adult fiction "a designation that libraries didn't come up with, but a sales tool from the publishing industry."

Just stop.  But then a glimmer of hope...

The young adult fiction designation can be traced back to librarians at the New York Public Library, who coined the term in 1944. It followed decades of work by librarians there who wanted to keep adolescents interested in reading. An earlier iteration, the "NYPL Books for Young People" list, was sent to libraries across the country in 1929, according to PBS Digital Studios.

Thank you!

Cutbertson, though, characterized young adult fiction as a sales tool and agreed with Ingram that it is confusing for parents who want to guide their children toward age-appropriate materials.

No, it isn't.  If I were choosing books for an eight-year-old child, I would not pick young adult books.  Why is this so hard?

I wrote about the stigma against the YA category in a recent post.

Stigma Against the YA Category

I've been wanting to respond to some comments that occurred as a result of that post, and this post is a good place to do it.  Pornography in books was mentioned and that many books containing pornography fall under the umbrella of the YA category.  I can't comment on how true that is, but I have never found any pornography in the YA books that I have read.  Of course, I do avoid the modern YA romance books and also do not read YA biographical books, so perhaps that's why.

I do know that many YA books that are said to contain pornography do not contain pornography.  Two YA books were recently in the news locally because of a demand for them to be removed from school libraries.  The books were said to contain pornographic content. 

I immediately went online and found examples of the said content to see for myself how bad it is.  In short... I didn't see a problem.  The content is absolutely inappropriate for children, but it's not inappropriate for teenagers.  People pretend that teenagers know nothing about sex and that even a minor description of sex is inappropriate for teenagers.  These same people would undoubtedly be shocked about what teenagers routinely see online and in media.

The content is being described as pornography, but I contend that the word "pornography" is used as inflammatory language in order to garner support for book bans.

From Cornell Law School:

Pornography–"porn" or "porno" for short–is material that depicts nudity or sexual acts for the purpose of sexual stimulation.  However, the presence of nudity or sexual acts in piece of media does not necessarily make that media pornographic if the purpose of that media form is something other than sexual stimulation.  Pornography can take the form of photographs, videos, written material, audio recordings, or animation, among other media formats.

When a book that is not for the purpose of sexual stimulation has a brief sex scene that is described minimally, it is not pornography.  

From Google:

printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings.

The key word in this definition is "explicit."  When I viewed the allegedly inappropriate content of the two books in the local news, I saw nothing explicit.  Most was left to the imagination.  That is not at all the same as reading a play-by-play of a sexual encounter with every movement described explicitly.

I will say again that some YA books may very well contain explicit sex and thus fall under the umbrella of pornography, but I do not find that most are like that.  In any case, the YA books that I read do not have explicit sex. 

Modern YA books do typically contain foul language and themes intended for teenagers.  And that's why young children should not be reading them.

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Dana Girls #5 The Secret at the Hermitage Glossy Internal Illustrations

The early Dana Girls books have glossy internal illustrations.

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

Glossy frontispiece used from 1934 to 1942:

Glossy internal illustration used from 1934 to 1937:

Glossy internal illustration used from 1934 to 1937:

Glossy internal illustration used from 1934 to 1937:

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Keeper of the Lost Cities International Editions

I posted previously that I was interested in acquiring the UK edition Keeper of the Lost Cities books.  I found four of them on a site in the United States.  My plan was to be patient and acquire them from U.S. sellers.  I changed my mind later.  

I found the complete set on Amazon and purchased it.  I was concerned that the books could arrive damaged, since Amazon does not pack items well.  Fortunately, the entire set was shrink-wrapped.

These pictures show the books in the shrink wrap just as they arrived.

I notice that the paper quality is lower for #8.5 and #9.  Those books are seen on the far left in the above photo.  Just about everything has decreased in quality ever since the pandemic, so this is not a surprise.  (Remember that you can click on the image in order to see it better.)

I purchased eight French edition books.  These books are small paperback editions.  They are cute books.

Finally, I purchased the two Spanish editions.  The series name was changed to Sophie Foster.

Monday, May 20, 2024

Duck EZStart Packaging Tape - Not Recommended

I recently became annoyed with the cheapest Duck packaging tape.  It shreds as it comes off the roll, which wastes time.  I purchased the more expensive Duck EZStart Packaging Tape to see if it would be easier to use. 

The tape is easier to use.  It comes off the roll very easily.  The trouble is that the packaging tape also lifts right off the package.

I didn't realize this at first.  Around a week ago, I realized that the tape was lifting off of packages that had been packed on the previous day.  I thought maybe I wasn't pressing the tape down firmly, so I became more careful to press the tape into place completely.  

You know... I really shouldn't have to do that.  Tape should stick easily, not lift off the package easily.

I also considered that the problem could have been the boxes.  I ordered boxes from Uline at about the same time that I purchased the tape.  I feel like the Uline boxes are slightly lower quality.  However, the eBay tape seems to be sticking fine as always, even on these new Uline boxes.  I think it's the Duck EZStart tape that is the problem.

I've continued using the tape but began using a little more of it on the packages.  I packed three packages this morning for shipping tomorrow.  I looked at them this evening.  Uh-oh.

The tape has partially lifted from both packages, most noticeably from the one on the left.  I had pressed the tape into place very firmly this morning.  It should not have lifted.  I pressed it down again and then wrapped tape all the way around the box across the middle top, down the side, across the bottom, and back up the other side.  I then wrapped some around going lengthwise along where the tape lifted. 

Since the packages don't go out until tomorrow, I will check them again in the morning.  If I see more lifting, then I will wrap eBay tape all the way around both boxes.     

I'm going to have to buy some other tape to use with this tape until I get it used up.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Lucky Purchase of Two Nancy Drew Library Editions

These days, it's rather difficult for me to acquire Nancy Drew library bindings that are of interest to me.  Many people now want Nancy Drew library editions, so I have strong competition.

I was very lucky to purchase these two Nancy Drew library editions recently.  (Click on images in order to see them more clearly.)

Here is The Mystery at the Ski Jump with the books I already had.  The new Ski Jump is the first book on the left.

I collect all binding colors plus all variant lettering styles.  I don't care about the condition.  Better condition is desirable, but I will keep any variant regardless of condition. 

Here is The Scarlet Slipper Mystery with the books I already had.  The new Scarlet Slipper is the book in the upper left.

The new Scarlet Slipper is the same variant as the one seen at the middle top and is in much better condition, so it will be replacing that copy.  

I continue to reflect about how interesting it is that other collectors now like these books as much as I do.  In this old post, I mention possible reasons why collectors began to favor library editions.

The Surprising Rise of the Nancy Drew Library Edition

The huge change in opinion about library editions mainly applies to Nancy Drew.  There is an increased interest in other series like Hardy Boys, Dana Girls, and Judy Bolton, but the interest in the books and the pricing of them is much reduced as compared to Nancy Drew.  

Three Investigators library editions sell for high prices, but pricing of that series has gone into the stratosphere ever since the pandemic.  The pricing has more to do with the scarcity of the books and the continuing high interest in the series.

Even for Nancy Drew, library edition pricing varies widely.  Some bindings, like the ones featured in this post, are favorites of collectors.  Some bindings are far less interesting and have minimal value.  It's problematic for sellers to use blanket pricing for all library editions when some of them aren't worth much at all.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Finding Books by R. L. Stine and Other Books

I originally listed all of my R. L. Stine books (Fear Street, etc.) on eBay.  Some of them sold, but at a slow rate.  Some months ago I listed a number of Stine books on Etsy as well.  The books sold at a brisk rate.  I gradually moved all of my R. L. Stine books from eBay to Etsy.  They continued to sell steadily, and I began to run out of books to sell.  I needed to find more of them.

Earlier this month, I visited a few local stores looking for Stine books.  I was thrilled to find some.

Click on images in order to see them better.

I found some Nancy Drew Digest softcover books. 

I also found some of the River Heights books.

The River Heights series is a spin-off of Nancy Drew, and honestly, it was a dumb idea.  Most people who love reading Nancy Drew aren't interested in teenage romance books.  I enjoy the River Heights books, but they are like Sweet Valley High, which I have loved since I was 12.  If you're a fan of Nancy Drew, then you will only enjoy the River Heights series if you also enjoy series like Sweet Valley High, which is nothing like Nancy Drew.

I found three Ken Holt, four Nancy Drew On Campus, and one Stine book at another store.

Nancy Drew On Campus was another dumb publisher idea.  It was designed to rival the Sweet Valley University series, which I don't like.  I also don't like Nancy Drew On Campus.  But I will buy them when I see them, since they aren't that easy to find.

I went back on a later date and found these books.

I purchased two Nancy Drew first picture cover printings, a Vicki Barr picture cover, two Biff Brewster picture covers, the first Ken Holt book in dust jacket, another Nancy Drew On Campus book, and two Stine books.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Hardcover Yellow Spine Nancy Drew #154 The Legend of the Emerald Lady

My hardcover library edition set of Nancy Drew #57-175 is complete, but I am interested in variations, especially the books with the yellow spines.

I spotted a small bulk lot of Nancy Drew books on eBay.  (Click on images in order to see them better.)

I spotted the hardcover edition of Nancy Drew #154 and saw that it had a yellow spine.  I wanted it.  Unfortunately, the listing was priced a bit high for me considering that the rest of the books were of no interest.

Just a few days before, I had acquired a certain book at well below value.  I won't say which book or how much, but I realized that it would cover the cost of this lot.  No problem.  I purchased the lot.

The bulk lot cost $33.63 including shipping and tax, which is rather high for just the one book of interest.  In my records, I ended up adding a certain amount to the cost of the other book that was purchased at well below value, bringing this lot's cost down to a fair amount.

Most of the flashlight editions were rebound by Perma-Bound.

Notice that The Sky Phantom is taller than the other flashlight editions.  The Sky Phantom is the only one in the original binding.  Most books rebound for library use are trimmed down and shorter than the original editions.

I am not interested in building a set of the Perma-Bound flashlight editions.  I have a rather large collection of library editions, and I decided a number of years ago to focus on the more special ones.  I no longer collect all library edition variants.

I expect to offer the Perma-Bound flashlight editions in individual listings on eBay sometime soon.  If they don't sell within a certain amount of time, then I will place them in a bulk lot with other books.

I removed the library stickers from #154.

The book is now shelved with the rest of my books.

I love the yellow spines.

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Glitch in Nancy Drew Mystery of the Seven Keys Game

I had heard of a glitch in the new Nancy Drew game, Mystery of the Seven Keys.  The glitch apparently has to do with filling in a design on the top of the latte after it has been prepared during the latte-making task.  Players' games are freezing up, and it is due to computers not having a good enough graphics card.

Playing the game in the lowest resolution has been mentioned as a possible fix.  I've heard that this often doesn't help.

Finally, I reached the latte-making task.  I struggled, as I often do, since the directions didn't make sense to me.  I was reminded of my frustration during the game, The Secret of Shadow Ranch, in which the player has to pick vegetables.  The ripe vegetables made no sense.  I've picked vegetables many times, and I know what ripe vegetables look like.  The game vegetables must have been from another planet.

The latte situation is like the vegetable situation.  I just don't get it.  After not understanding the first latte that I had to make, I tried to exit the task in order to exit the game.  The arrow wouldn't work.  I realized that I was experiencing the glitch.  I had to CTRL ALT DEL to open the task manager so that I could close the game.  

I opened the game again, trying spoilers on the first latte but couldn't understand the spoilers.  I had to use the task manager again to close the game.  I tried a third time with the same result.  I began to search online for solutions to the glitch.

Many people are experiencing the frozen game during the latte-making task.  It's a significant problem.

I read that you can contact Her Interactive at  They will send a file called "After-Coffee-Amateur" with the game saved right after the latte-making task has been completed.  I assume that they will also send the corresponding file for senior detective as well, if that version is needed.

I found where someone placed the necessary information online in their Google Drive.  I used their file and was able to get the game to where I can play it beginning after the latte-making.  The person who prepped the file said that they did the bare minimum, so we will have to do some tasks again.  I'd rather have to redo a bunch of tasks than suffer through latte-making that made no sense and crashed for me.  It's either that or not finish the game.

Besides, I've read many comments by glitch-free players who were very frustrated over the extreme difficulty in completing the latte art part of the task.  They say that their hands are cramping since they have to try over and over.  They find that any slight slip with their mouse causes them to have to start over.  I don't want anything to do with that, so I'm fine with having to redo parts of the game.  

If you're on Facebook and in the Nancy Drew Game Fans group, here is the post.

Windows save file for those stuck on the latte art

The Google Drive has been linked from Reddit in a public post.  Here is that post.

Comment with Google Drive link

I did use the Google Drive link, and it worked for me, even though I had to search online for some answers as to how to get the information from that Google Drive to my Google Drive and then into my computer in the correct file folder.  I mention this so that you know that the file is safe.  

It might be easier just to contact Her Interactive at the email I provided above.  Their directions might be easier to follow.  I don't know since I haven't contacted them.

I also want to update something I mentioned in my first post about the game.  I noted that the game didn't autosave for me and that I lost a small amount of progress when I exited without saving.  I did find that the game was autosaving fairly frequently after I started over, but I don't trust it.  I make sure that I save the game myself whenever I exit.

Kennedy McMann will be playing the game live tomorrow (May 13) on Her Interactive's YouTube channel.  She will be live beginning at 9 PM Eastern/6 PM Pacific.  If you miss the livestream, most channels typically have livestreams available after they have ended.

Friday, May 10, 2024

Nancy Drew Mystery of the Seven Keys Trial and Error

This post is spoiler-free and covers my difficulty as I started playing the game.

As Nancy Drew game fans know, the last Nancy Drew game, Midnight in Salem, had some problems.  The new Nancy Drew game, Mystery of the Seven Keys, also is not without problems.

The game installation went fine this time, probably because I have a very new computer that is just a step down from a gaming computer.  I have lots of RAM and storage, probably more than I'll ever need.  I got one with a lot so that it would be fast.

Some other people are having trouble with game installation.

The game plays fine, unlike Midnight in Salem.  My problems with that game had a lot to do with my previous computer, but the game was partly to blame as well.

Mystery of the Seven Keys is a bit glitchy.  I don't know what is with the bubbles floating around randomly in the first scene.  I ran a Google search and found someone else mentioning the bubbles.  And then other people aren't seeing the bubbles.  How very odd.

I'm finding that the game play for Seven Keys has a steep learning curve.  I have only made it through the first scene so far.  It took me forever as I tried to figure out how to manipulate the mouse.

The game can be played with the traditional point-and-click or in the modern version.  After hearing some bad things about the modern version, I started the game with point-and-click.  I became frustrated immediately.  It just wasn't like in the older games.

I found that the settings allow players to toggle back and forth between the two ways to play.  I changed to modern.  Whoa.  The mouse was extremely sensitive, and I spun in circles.  I ended up trapped behind a counter and couldn't figure out how to get out.  It would have been funny if I hadn't been so annoyed.

I read online that the game has a glitch where the mouse cursor freezes.  One fix has to do with unplugging extra Bluetooth controllers that are in use.  That didn't apply to me.  I saw where a patch had been added, so I reinstalled the patched version of the game.  I ended up stuck behind the counter again.  I couldn't figure out what my problem was.

I switched back to point-and-click and continued to be frustrated.  I switched back to modern again and got stuck behind the counter yet again.  I finally noticed directions about using the keys A W S D to move in different directions.  Ah.  I managed to get out from behind the counter.  

I could spin in circles to look around with the mouse, but I had to use the letter keys to move.  It was awkward.

The spinning in circles was way too fast.  I found where I could reduce the mouse sensitivity in the settings, and I gradually reduced it to the very lowest level.  That took the spinning down to just turning at a reasonable speed.

I couldn't figure out what to do.  I mean... it can be difficult at times in the older Nancy Drew games, but this was at a whole new level.  Like, I had no idea.

I looked at spoiler-free threads and figured out that many people who always have played on Senior Detective (like me) decided to start over on Junior Detective just to have some clue as to what to do.  I started over on Junior Detective, and it helped.  I managed to get past the first scene. Whew.

That's where I am now.

Other observations:

I seem to recall that the older games had a warning if the player accidently tried to exit without saving.  When I was in Senior mode and feeling annoyed, I clicked "quit to desktop" without thinking and failed to save the game.  Be careful, or you could lose your progress.  

In my case it didn't matter, since I had barely started the game and then decided to start over in Junior mode.  I then read online about autosave.  Oh, really?  Why didn't I get that?

When I finally made it out of the first scene, I decided to save and quit.  I did, and then I started the game again a few minutes later.  I noticed my save and an autosave, which was when the second scene started.  It appears that autosave might kick in at key moments.  If so, that won't help if I quit at random moments.

The on-screen text is way too small.  There isn't a way to change it that I can tell.

I managed to get into Nancy's phone.  I selected the camera option and couldn't get out of it.  I accidentally snapped random pictures each time I tried to exit.  This was the result.

I finally saw in small text in the corner of the screen that I should hit "tab" to exit the camera.  Sigh.  Larger text would help greatly.

I also found the characters' voices to be too low.  The default settings have the sounds in the middle.  I raised the character voice level to 10, keeping other sounds at the default.

As I began the game, I was thrown off by the people sitting at tables who were just there.  They were moving and active, but I couldn't speak to them.  After I got used to it, I realized that this is more realistic than in the old games where the only people present are the possible suspects.

I believe I've figured out most of the mechanics of gameplay, and I should be able to begin to enjoy playing the game this weekend.

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Books Purchased at the February 2024 Library Book Sale

I never posted photos of the books that I purchased at the book sale in February.  Before I get to that, I must mention the Fall Better Books Sale.

Books Purchased at the Fall Better Books Sale

In October, I went to the Fall Better Books Sale, where I purchased a large number of comb-bound cookbooks.  Photos can be seen at the above link.

Since the purpose of the Fall Better Books Sale was to sell off extra books in advance of the February sale, I felt certain that the big book sale would have many comb-bound cookbooks.  And so it did.  

I purchased these comb-bound cookbooks in February, and they definitely came from the same collection as the ones I purchased in October.  (Always click on photos in order to see them more clearly.)

It's been  2 1/2 months since I took these photos, so I don't remember exactly what I was thinking when I took the next two photos.  I think I was just giving an idea of what comb-bound cookbooks are like.  The ones that feature specific small towns sell the best.

The sale had very few series books.  These are the ones that I found.

Just like in October, I grabbed the Keeper of the Lost Cities books that I saw.  I got lucky with Flashback, since it is the Barnes & Noble special edition first printing.

For many years, the highpoint of the sale for me has been the vintage teen books paperback section.  

The sale wasn't that great this year, and they said upfront that they didn't have as many books as in 2023.  Even so, I was able to purchase some good books.

Friday, May 3, 2024

25th Anniversary of the May 3 Tornado + Deciding Which Books to Save

Today is the 25th anniversary of the F5 tornado that devastated the Oklahoma City metropolitan area.  I wrote this post because of last weekend's tornado outbreak.  When I take cover from an approaching tornado, I take whatever is most important with me into the shelter.  I usually take a few books with me as well.  My collection is so large that I can only save a few books.

Back when I was growing up, I never worried about tornadoes.  I knew what to do, but I also firmly believed (very naively) that I would never have any chance of being impacted by a tornado.  My opinion changed on May 3, 1999.

1999 Bridge Creek-Moore Tornado

This is the opening paragraph from the above link:

The 1999 Bridge Creek–Moore tornado (locally referred to as the May 3 tornado) was a large and exceptionally powerful F5 tornado in which the highest wind speeds ever measured globally were recorded at 301 ± 20 miles per hour (484 ± 32 km/h) by a Doppler on Wheels (DOW) radar. Considered the strongest tornado ever recorded to have affected the metropolitan area, the tornado while near peak intensity devastated southern portions of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States, along with surrounding suburbs and towns to the south and southwest of the city during the early evening of Monday, May 3, 1999. Parts of Bridge Creek were rendered unrecognizable. The tornado covered 38 miles (61 km) during its 85-minute existence, destroying thousands of homes, killing 36 people (plus an additional five indirectly), and leaving US$1 billion (1999 USD) in damage, ranking it as the fifth-costliest on record not accounting for inflation.  Its severity prompted the first-ever use of the tornado emergency statement by the National Weather Service.

Also visit today's National Weather Service Facebook post for a few pictures and a good summary of the impact of the deadly tornado.

I sat frozen, watching the tornado coverage during the late afternoon of May 3, 1999, for around two hours, knowing that the storm track of this monster tornado showed it heading directly towards where I live.  I didn't have a storm shelter at that time.  All I could do was put a pillow over my head and huddle down in the center of my house.  I remember thinking calmly to myself, The cats will die.  I took cover as best I could when the tornado was around 8 miles away, heading directly towards me.  I had a radio on, listening to the coverage. 

As cross streets were named, I said to myself, 7 more miles... 6 more miles... 5 more miles... and so on.  I knew that as long as the power was still on that the tornado hadn't arrived.  The baseball size hail began.  That was ominous.  Sometime after that, the house began making creaking and popping sounds.  It was eerie, and it had to have been from the storm's pressure.  And then the lights went out approximately when the named cross streets were just 1 mile away.  And I waited and waited some more.

Finally, I said to myself, It's been too long.  I knew that somehow the tornado had missed me.  I went outside, where I found scattered pieces of small debris everywhere, like canceled checks with addresses from miles away and other small items that must have come out of attics.

I later learned that the tornado dissipated just one-half mile away from me.  Yes, half of a mile away.

I had deep trauma from that event.  I thought about it and dwelled on it everyday for at least six months.  I couldn't avoid seeing the debris.  I drove by completely demolished neighborhood subdivisions at least five days per week.  I remember a mound of badly smashed cars that was at least 20 feet high, piled by the side of the road.  It was traumatic seeing all of that damage over and over for months.

I don't think of it very often any more, except during April and May and especially on May 3 every year.  When I do think of it, I get a little upset and have tears come to my eyes.  I became just slightly teary while I typed my recollection of the event for this post.  It happens every time I think about it.

I have never been more scared in my life than I was on that day.

Ever since then, I have paid close attention to severe weather forecasts.  The National Weather Service had us under a moderate threat for severe weather on Saturday, April 27.  Their forecast indicated that we had a significant risk for tornadoes including some strong tornadoes.

Their forecast did pan out, and at least 22 tornadoes touched down in the state on Saturday.  The closest one was approximately five miles away from me.  In the early afternoon on Saturday, I gathered together what I needed to take into the storm shelter, like my medications, devices, and other important items.

At first, I wasn't going to gather any books to save in the event of a tornado strike.  I just wasn't in the mood.  I then reconsidered.  Obviously my 1930A-1 Nancy Drew Old Clock with dust jacket needed to come with me, even if I didn't take anything else.

To help me decide what I should gather, I went to my Facebook page and found a post from June 1, 2013.  These books went into the storm shelter with me that day when I took cover.

This is an excerpt from my June 1, 2013 post:

I took my most valuable Nancy Drew first printings (the ones with stars on the spines), my Wanderer hardcover Nancy Drew books that are not library discards, my Girls of Central High duotone jackets (these are most of the books upside down in the bottom row), three Linda Carlton (Perilous Summer is upside down in the bottom row), the last Girl Scouts by Fairfax, and the last Outdoor Girls book.

I thought of Beverly Gray World's Fair, but I drew a blank on where it was at.  With stress and a short amount of time, one forgets many things. Of course I know exactly where the book is right now.  I thought of my duotone Moving Picture Girls books, but I didn't want to get a chair to retrieve them.  I thought of many books.

I wasn't in the mood to take even one book into the shelter on Saturday.  Looking at the books in the above photo, I didn't see a strong reason to choose most of them.  I decided against taking my Beverly Gray World's Fair (and I knew exactly where it was and stared at it on the shelf on Saturday afternoon as I decided).  World's Fair isn't that hard to find.  Seriously, it isn't.  The problem is that sellers overprice the book.  With some patience, the book can be had easily in dust jacket for $250 to $400.  It may be out of reach for most collectors, but it's not that hard to acquire.

I knew I had to take my breeder set Nancy Drew books with dust jackets.  The breeder set consists of the first printings of the first three Nancy Drew books, Old Clock, Hidden Staircase, and Bungalow Mystery.  David Farah denotes these first printings as "1930A-1."  They are very valuable and about impossible to acquire.

I also decided to take my 1930A-1 first printing Nancy Drew Lilac Inn with dust jacket.  That's a very tough title to get in a first printing book and jacket.  In my opinion, it's the second-hardest to find of all Nancy Drew first printings, right behind the 1930A-1 Old Clock.

I thought about taking only those four books.  There are so, so many books that I would want to save.  There are probably 1,000 books that are absolute must-save books, but I can't save them if the worst ever happens.  There are too many of them.

I quickly decided which other books I should take in addition to the four Nancy Drew first printings:  my Nancy Drew 1940s style library editions.  They are so darned scarce and in such high demand that it is my duty to save them if at all possible.  They certainly aren't the next most-valuable books after my breeder set Nancy Drews, but they probably are more scarce than the breeder set books.  

I wrapped the books in plastic and took this picture.  I put them in a tote bag.

The books did go into the storm shelter with me around the time that a small tornado was five miles from me.  Right now, the books are still wrapped in plastic.  I may leave them in plastic for all of this month, just in case.

Thursday, May 2, 2024

All That's Left in the World by Erik J. Brown

All That's Left in the World by Erik J. Brown was published by Balzer + Bray on March 8, 2022.

Publisher's summary:

When Andrew stumbles upon Jamie's house, he's injured, starved, and has nothing left to lose.  A deadly pathogen has killed off most of the world’s population, including everyone both boys have ever loved.  And if this new world has taught them anything, it's to be scared of what other desperate people will do... so why does it seem so easy for them to trust each other?

After danger breaches their shelter, they flee south in search of civilization.  But something isn't adding up about Andrew's story, and it could cost them everything.  And Jamie has a secret, too.  He's starting to feel something more than friendship for Andrew, adding another layer of fear and confusion to an already tumultuous journey.

The road ahead of them is long, and to survive, they'll have to shed their secrets, face the consequences of their actions, and find the courage to fight for the future they desire, together.  Only one thing feels certain: all that's left in their world is the undeniable pull they have toward each other.

Andrew and Jamie are very likeable characters.  The reader can't help but like both of them immediately.  Andrew is gay, and he knows it.  Andrew is drawn to Jamie instantly, and he's not surprised by his feelings since he's been aware for some time that he's gay.  

Jamie has only ever had girlfriends.  The feelings that he begins to have for Andrew take him by surprise.

Each boy thinks that he alone feels the way he does, so this conflict is the main focus of the story.  The two boys face the usual struggles that characters face in post-apocalyptic stories.  They struggle to find food and water while they try to avoid people who would take everything from them.  While the boys face these problems, their feelings for each other are always in the forefront of their thoughts.

This book is apocalypse light served up with fluffy romance.  I greatly enjoyed reading this book and consider it to be overall excellent.

The ending is set up for a sequel, and I was pleased to see that the sequel is close to publication.  The second book is The Only Light Left Burning, and it will be released on May 28, 2024.  I don't have long to wait before I can read more about Andrew and Jamie.