16 January 2014

THROWBACK THURSDAY: ISO some childhood favs!


Today I'm in search of some of my favorite books/series from childhood. Have they made the transition from paper to digital? Following my conversation on Tuesday with Jayne Denker, I had to look for some of my old favorites. That's right I went in search of Cherry Ames, Trixie Belden, and Nancy Drew to see if they had made the jump to the electronic world. 

Oh my, was I surprised by what I found because each of these series has been more or less digitized. What does this mean? You can share books that you grew up loving with your children, grandchildren, best friend's brood, nieces, nephews, you get the drift. What fun! I'm totally amazed in some way that publishers decided to take the step to make ebooks available of these series, but totally tip my hat to them! 

So, let's glance at what's available:



Cherry Ames by Helen Wells

For those of you who are not familiar with the Cherry Ames series by Helen Wells, you know it might actually be a fun read even if your not a tween. Set in the 1940s, Cherry was a nurse who traveled the world, faced danger, enjoyed a few romances, and was honorable, loyal, and fun. She also was intelligent and kind. When I discovered this series I was probably about nine or ten and had just read the entire canon of Nancy Drew and was looking for something new. 

Well the Cherry Ames books that I had actually weren't new as they were no longer in print. But I was delighted by the hand-me-downs from elderly relatives' attics or treasured finds from books sales where I stood on tip toes to see the display of hard covers for $0.10 a piece. Yes, that was how this book worm loved to spend her Saturdays even as a child. Book hunting. The more things change…

When I thought of books that would make the digital leap, the Cherry Ames series wasn't one I anticipated finding. I'm so glad they are available though as I know that my collection had holes and I may just purchase this series myself and have a Throwback Thursday reading orgy some day when I want to recreate the feeling of a 10-year-old envisioning herself traveling the world as her heroine did - helping to save some lives and experience life. If you'd like another take on the series, here's a great article by Michelle Slatella from the New York Times: "Cherry Ames, My Daughter Will See You Now," 6 April 2006.




I'm going to commit what might be considered heresy by some and say that I really liked the Trixie Belden series so much more than Nancy Drew! Yes, that's right, Julie Campbell's Trixie Belden series was just a fabulous read for a young girl (or boy) who wanted to have some sassy and bright role models - that were close in age and quite inquisitive. It didn't hurt that the books were set in an environment close to me in a Hudson River town. 

Trixie became my favorite heroine and I bugged my parents about what a bob-white sounded like (they never understood that question). If you too thought Nancy was a tad stuffy and George was more your cup of tea (didn't Nancy have afternoon tea), than Trixie and her group of friends were just the sort of pals you'd like to hang out with. The books always seemed far less dated too, though they were written in approximately the same time period, but with a fresher voice. 

The books I collected at first were new hardcovers, but quite inexpensive. Later, as I tried to fill in some gaps in my collection, I found a publisher who had brought the series out in paperback. So my collection of books is quite mismatched, but well thumbed as I would read and reread these constantly. 

Only the five books of the thirty-nine book series have been published digitally, but these will definitely give your young friends a fun group to get to know.





Don't get me wrong, I was as wrapped up in the Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene as the next girl. In fact all my friends shared my obsession (perhaps that was why were were friends). This was a family tradition as when I was ready to move beyond fairy tales and other stories, my mother pulled out her slightly battered Nancy Drew books to share. One treasure among them was the original edition of book one (pictured above in it's digital format) that had belonged to, I think, her grandmother. Talk about passing books along in the family!

While Nancy sometimes irritated me (I was an unrepentant tomboy, who thought her friend George was more "real"), I loved the fact that she charged ahead to solve mysteries with the support of George, Bess, and the ever-present Ned. I wonder how many little girls were introduced to the "idea" of romance through these quite innocent and sweet stories? Certainly I was. 

Now, generations to come will be able to share these books with their children as it looks like the entire collection of fifty plus books is available digitally - as is the Hardy Boys series by F. W. Dixon, Keene's alter ego. (Yes, both boys and girls had their iconic series to follow.) So happy sleuthing folks, I may just be traveling back to childhood in a bit.


Now, I have one question. I grew up pretty much during the time when personal computers and laptops became standard for everyone. Still so much of this was new that technology-wise, that I didn't miss tech details in these books. But now with most children carrying smart phones, tablets, and other devices, will the lack of these things make the books too dated for a new audience? Or will they be charming, like Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House on the Prairie books were to me? (Thinking of another childhood series!) Let me know your thoughts as well as what books you're looking for to be digitized. 

UPDATE: ONE WEEK LATER
Last week we celebrated the fact that Harlequin was about to begin reissuing thirty of Lindsay McKenna's original titlees as eBooks. Well on Wednesday, January 15, 2014, they began this year-long process and five of the thirty books are now available. Kudos, Harlequin!


Captive of Fate (The first romantic military suspense book written for the industry.)
$5.50 (on sale now for $3.82)
Alanna went to Costa Rica to meet Colonel Matt Breckenridge with all the wrong motives. She had been sent to expose him, but in the end she exposed only her own heart, her own vulnerability where he was concerned.
She fell in love with the arrogant colonel, though she had no hope that a man of war could understand the softer emotions. Even so, she dared to dream of a lifetime in his arms, and dreams of love have a way of coming true.


Chase the Clouds
$5.50 (on sale now for $3.82)
RANCHER TO THE RESCUE
Sam Reese always got his way. When time came to collect on a debt, he didn't care whose toes were stepped on. He might be as stubborn as one of his own untested stallions, but he knew the value of a man's promise.
One glance at Dany Daguerre told Sam she had no intention of honoring her ex-husband's contract. Especially if it involved riding a spitfire horse in a proper competition. Yet Sam offered her the chance to save her ranch—if she'd share his impetuous dream of winning. A dream Sam unexpectedly found included a faithful promise of love.…



Come Gentle the Dawn
$5.50 (on sale now for $3.82)
ANOTHER NIGHTMARE OR A DREAM COME TRUE?
Though weary and frightened, hazardous-materials technician Brie Williams could still spot danger, and her rugged new partner seemed to be it. Did Linc Tanner's macho facade hide chilling threats…or enough warmth to heat her senses to a fever pitch? If only she could trust him….
VICTIM OR SUSPECT?
Brie Williams was Tanner's toughest assignment. Without blowing his cover, he had to expose the shady dealings that had killed her former partner. Brie's aura of aching vulnerability made him want to bare his very soul to her, but he had to keep silent. If he conquered the darkness surrounding her, only then would their love shine like a glorious dawn.


Heart of the Tiger
$5.50 (on sale now for $3.82)
A DANGEROUS CHOICE
Language expert Layne Hamilton had vowed never to have anything to do with the CIA again. Not when "the Company" had taken so much from her.
But unlikely Company man Matt Talbot was very persuasive, arguing Layne was the only one who could help them. And if she didn't, people would die. But the mission held its own dangers, and tested the limits of Layne's courage, faith, passion and ultimately…her belief in the power of love.


Love Me Before Dawn
$5.50 (on sale now for $3.82)
Tess Hamilton met Shep Ramsey under purely social circumstances, but it was a matter of national security that provided the real basis for their relationship. Tess was working on a prototype airplane, and Shep was the man chosen to test its wings. For months her work on the plane had obsessed her, but now Shep had entered her heart and she was facing one frightening fact: If there were even one mistake in the plane, the man she loved would forfeit his life.