Posts Tagged ‘vintage books’

I confess to breezing through these two books, both in satisfactory condition, and from my mother’s childhood book collection (the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree – only I kept every damn book, and she just kept her favorite childhood ones).

The first was written by a very familiar author, L.M. Montgomery: “Magic for Marigold”.

First Editions go for a nice $60-$75, in good condition. This is a second edition, printed in 1929. I am not a good judge of this book: I read “Anne of Green Gables in junior high, and I am one the very few young girls who did not fall in love with Anne, and Lucy Maud Montgomery. I do read fan fiction by authors who love her works, but it’s really not my genre.

Marigold is engaging in the first chapter, and quite funny. I fell in love with the cats, Lucifer and The Witch of Endor. Marigold never trusted the pair, but she loved all the kittens. And that’s really all I have to say about it, because that is all that engaged me. A true romantic would have been in love with the book. A true fan would love the book. Sadly, I am neither.

My first thought was, “You’re not serious? Isn’t this a comic strip?” Then I wondered who June Gueldner was. The book was published in 1943 and is worth only a few dollars, even in Vintage condition: too many were published, too many survive, and Brenda Starr only retired a few years ago, after 71 years in the comic strip business.

Still, this is an original by the original comic strip artist, Dale Messick. And it is rife with 1940’s clichés about working women. Oy vey. No wonder my mom was a feminist ahead of her time.She knew Brenda Starr was a romantic farce.


Yeah. Pretty much. It’s about a smart girl who becomes a damsel in distress and is rescued by someone tall, blonde, and handsome. We should all sigh collectively.

I do think Brenda evolved into a feminist after Dale Messick retired and other artists took over the trade. She stayed in her twenties throughout her entire life. And, truthfully, she paved the way for a lot of us feminists by being a Girl Reporter and getting the job done. Instead of mocking her, I should be thanking her.

Thank you, Brenda, for paving the way for women in the news business. Brenda had “moxie”, and a lot of it.


Yeah. I do not make this stuff up.

Fortunately, the last person to wear that hideous outfit was Pesky, that freckled guy on the left. The clam shells looked better on him in cartoon.

So — on to the next reading adventure!!

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Another vintage book review. I just wish this book was in better condition. It’s been well-loved.

I remember reading this when I was a pre-teen. The damage to it might have been caused by me, or my siblings. Some of it is just age and poor binding.

The book was published in 1926 and has my grandfather’s stamp inside of it, plus an inscription to my father, making it a Christmas gift from Santa Claus. I’m not sure why Gramps had to stamp his name in it when the book was clearly Dad’s. But, that would be my Gramps. He was just making sure everything was marked as belonging to the family, in case it ever was lent out.

I want to digress here: a friend of mine has been searching for a particular Hardy Boys edition. I searched all of my vintage books, but – alas- not a single Hardy Boys. And I have only this one Tom Swift. Most of my vintage Young Adult mysteries are “girl” books: Brenda Starr, the Curlytops, and the like.

So – the story. Oh, if only we were still so innocent as we were in 1926, when Tom Swift was written! The Great War was over. The Second World War was silently brewing, but we Americans were naively unaware of the winds of war. The Great Depression was still years off.  Young men in novels were still gallant and honorable. Tom Swift was coming of age at the same time as the young Indiana Jones, but without the aid of cinematic special effects.

Tom was an inventor, and in this book, he invents a coast-to-coast air transport system to carry packages from the Atlantic to the Pacific under 18 hours. Given the technology available at the time, that’s pretty astounding. The author imagines an improbable car that attaches to, and detaches from, the belly of the airplane.

Of course, there’s adversity, but Tom’s enemies are always a bit bumbling and Tom always manages to be a bit like MacGyver (escaping with just a paper clip and personal will), and the conversations are so… out-dated. But to credit the author, Tom’s love, Mary, is not portrayed as a dumb girl, but as a steady and thoughtful young woman who stays calm in a crisis and often comes up with a solution on her own.

The racism… Well, it’s just there. I can’t do anything about the casting of either “faithful servant”: Koku, who is described only as a giant, and who has a singular lack of English; and Eradicate, the Black servant who is portrayed as slightly off-center and jealous of Koku. I suppose that it was meant to be an “inclusive” novel, giving small parts to other nationalities. It’s kind of offensive in its betrayal of minor characters, but (I guess) at least they were given roles. Kind of Orphan Annie supporting roles, I think.

If I flash back to my father’s childhood: the Tom Swift books were no doubt exciting and innovating.

If I flash back to my childhood: Tom Swift was fun, and I was too naive to understand the subtleties.

For my grandchildren: the book is a white elephant.

It isn’t worth anything in the condition it is in, unless my father’s hand-written signature somewhere inside counts for something.

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If you follow my blog, you may remember that I recently sorted all our books and redid all of our bookcases.

Then I went to Nevada and retrieved my inheritance.

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Aiyiyi… I still have three boxes unpacked! I have: Reader’s Digest “classic” books, paperback mysteries, childhood Scholastic books, history books, a vintage animal encyclopedia set, vintage field guides, and just plain vintage books. Lots and lots of vintage books.

005Brenda Starr, Girl Reporter; the Curly Tops; Emerson; Shakespeare; the Bobbsey Twins; childhood nursery rhymes; vintage Forestry books (and that’s just what I have unpacked).

008If you’ve never read the Billy Whiskers series, you are sorely missing out. Billy pulled a cart and got into all kinds of mischief. (These books are *not* in good shape, sadly.)

021PIPPI! Books illustrated by Sam Savitt! ALL of my favorite Scholastic prizes!

Did I mention I still have three more boxes to unpack, all bankers box size? There’s no way that I will get to these any time soon as summer is nearly upon us and the heat index is rising for this weekend (too hot to be working in the loft – I will be doing something outside in the shade)!

BOOKS! All that READING. Classics! The House of Seven Gables. Poetry. Cheap mysteries! Tom Clancy. BOOKS!!

Um, can you tell that I’m a bit of a bibliophile? I hoard books. I can’t part with books. There are books in there about the exploration of the Great Basin.

First, however, I need to finish The Circle of Ceridwen, books 1-3, by Octavia Randolph…














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