Posted in Books

Some Old Books On My Shelf, Part 3

Next in line on my shelf of old books is J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. As you can see in the photos, they’ve had some wear and tear. I bought them when I was roughly twelve and I’m not sure if I bought all of them at the same place or not. I know that I didn’t buy all of them at the same time. One I know (although I don’t know which) was bought at Main News on the square in Urbana, Ohio. That little shop is long gone now but it was basically a newspaper store that also sold magazines, greeting cards, convenience store types of snacks…and paperbacks.

I read all four of them when I was in seventh grade and loved them even if I didn’t fully understand everything that was going on. Whenever the topic of the Elves’ history came up, it kind of threw me. At that point in time, though, I loved fantasy stories and these seemed to be the epitome.

This is one set of books that most of my kids have read and they have read the exact same copies I read when I was twelve. These got read right along with Harry Potter. It helped that Peter Jackson’s film versions came out right about the same time the Harry Potter films started coming out – which is hard to believe was almost twenty years ago. When I heard about the LOTR’s movies, I re-read the series and understood significantly more than I did when I was in Junior High.

I’ve only read these twice but I think I’m planning on re-reading them again soon (I consider sometime in 2022 to be soon). My favorite characters have always been Merry and Pippin both when I was twelve and when I was an adult. I didn’t appreciate the loyalty of Sam Gamgee until I was an adult but he became one of my favorite sidekicks.

Oh, and when I bought these they were only $2.50. At some point, I probably need to replace them. I might have grandchildren some day and maybe they’ll want to read them.

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Some Old Books On My Shelf, Part 2 or The Hardy Boys off the top of my head

OK, I’m winging this. No research and no rereading. So if there are any Hardy Boys experts out there feel free to correct me – its been a while.

The Hardy Boys were Frank and Joe Hardy. In every book within the first few pages, the author would always mention that Frank had dark hair and was 18 years old while Joe had blond hair and was 17. Taken literally, it would mean they had one heck of a year solving all these mysteries but I don’t think this was meant to be taken quite that seriously. Realistically, each mystery could and perhaps was intended to stand alone.

They had a revolving circle of friends of which Chet Morton was the “staple”. I think he may have been in every book while others rotated in and out of various stories which is probably why I don’t remember their names – one of them I think was Biff. Frank tended to date Callie Shaw while Joe tended to date Iola Morton, Chet’s younger sister. This seemed to always be mentioned the way their age and hair color was mentioned. I think sometimes the girls got pulled into the mysteries.

Wait, I think it was Biff Hooper. I’m going to go with that.

Their dad was Fenton Hardy who I think had retired from the FBI? They had an Aunt Gertrude and I’m pretty sure they had a mother but I can’t remember anything about her.

They lived in Bayport. I don’t think it was ever said exactly where this Bayport was. I always had a feeling it was somewhere on the east coast but that might have been just because I lived closer to the east coast than the west coast.

Sometimes the mysteries would keep them in Bayport and sometimes the mysteries would take them elsewhere. In one story they went to Iceland. As a kid, I wondered if anyone ever really went to Iceland. As an adult, I know lots of people who have been to Iceland.

Many of the stories would involve their hobbies and the Hardy Boys and their friends had lots of them. The one I remember the most was The Hooded Hawk Mystery in which they trained hawks. Similar to Iceland, I thought “Do teenagers actually do this?” I don’t think the Hardy Boys watched much TV.

They also liked their cars and Chet’s was always referred to as a jalopy.

As with most mystery series (and campy Batman series from the 1960’s), the boys would always get themselves into a life and death situation that required rescue that came in the form of others or in the form of their own ingenuity. These plot elements made for great suspense as a kid even if eventually I began to realize that they probably would always escape. If they died there wouldn’t be anymore mysteries.

As for plots, I don’t remember a lot. I could probably look at the covers and get some ideas. Speaking of covers, most of them looked pretty cool.

The one piece of research I did had to do with the author Franklin W. Dixon. According to wikipedia, this was a pseudonym for a number of different authors who wrote the stories. This kind of blew my mind but it made sense and Hamlette over at The Edge of the Precipice confirmed this for me, too.

So that was my trip down memory lane regarding the Hardy Boys. I have more old books on my shelf that I plan to post about in the near future.

Do you remember anything about the Hardy Boys?

Posted in Books

Some Old Books On My Shelf, Part 1

I typically don’t keep tons of books on my shelves but that doesn’t mean I won’t occasionally find some that I’d forgotten I had – that have been there for a while. I thought I’d post about a few of them over the next few weeks just for the fun of it. The chances of me remembering specifics about plots are slim but I’ll see what happens.

The first group are Hardy Boys books. At some point I had in excess of 40 of them. Most of them I had bought myself or received as Christmas and Birthday gifts from grandparents. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I got and read my first one when I was 9 and then continued collecting and reading them until I was around 14. Yes, at some point I outgrew them but even if they are not considered “high” literature I remember them with a fondness even now.

I kept my collection until I gave them to my younger cousins to read. I don’t know it they ever read them but eventually I got them back about the time my own kids would be old enough to read them. I think one of my kids might have read one of them. Hardy Boys, or any books I read as a kid, just couldn’t complete with Harry Potter. The collection eventually made it to some of my nephews. I have no idea whether they read any of them but once again they came back to me.

So I decided to keep one just for old times sake (While the Clock Ticked) and sold the rest to Half Price Books. Recently, my son moved out to his own place and I discovered that he had used 5 of my Hardy Boys books to stack as a little shelf for his computer speakers. Those are the other five that I have pictured. They are on a regular book shelf now.

The majority of these books were purchased at B. Dalton Booksellers and Walden Books at the Upper Valley Mall in Springfield, Ohio. Way back then, malls didn’t just have A bookstore, they might have had two! Some of them were bought at the Little Professor’s Bookshop at the Promenade Mall near Punta Gorda Isles, Florida (where my grandparents lived). I remember browsing through the shelves in these stores for a long time trying to figure out which book I would buy next – much to the dismay of whoever might have been waiting on me.

It’s hard to believe that these books are more than 40 years old and that I only paid between $1.50 and 2.00 for each one (funny the things I remember).

In spite of my fondness for these books, I don’t plan on re-reading any of them. So who knows what I might remember about the actual stories in these books. Tune in next week after I’ve scanned my childhood memory.