Nine books for the 9th month. I actually finished Footprints under the Window by Franklin W. Dixon is this month. That's the Hardy Boys book that has the brothers dress up a chinese guy as a girl to keep him safe from the bad guys. And he looks good. Chet is interested in meeting her, she's that hot. The bad guys are smuggling Chinese into the USA. That isn't in the re-write that they did in 1959. The new story is changed to catching crooks who steal a part vital used in the space program. Hipper, I guess. I personally prefer the original, less PC version, with pidgin talking Chinese. And partly I view that from a time and cultural perspective. I always say that fiction gives one a great view of the past and often it's fairly detailed. I really like the cover on the old book. Great use of color. Too bad they haven't a picture of that chinese guy dressing in drag. That never gets old.
Lisa Chippendale's Triumph of the Imagination: The Story of J K Rowling is part of a series of books about people Overcoming Adversity from Chelsea House. It's right there on the cover. Inside the book there are 30 or more titles in the series. Lots of celebrities and famous people. It's 30 bucks on Amazon. I got one remaindered at Half Price Books. I think it was 5 bucks, maybe $7. The book is only about 100 pages and there are lots of large B&W photos. Most of them seem to be publicity shots, or taken from the web, and often have nothing to do with the subject. There's a photo of a train, just a common commuter train, and the caption explains the idea for Harry came while JKR was riding a train from Manchester to London. There's nothing to indicate that the train is on a run from one of those towns to the other, and I am suspicious of the boats and water near the tracks. Helps pad out your book when you make the photo fill three quarters of a page. The text is pretty much a rehash of previously published material. I don't think Lisa interviewed Jo. You know. The book is from 2003 and it just covers the first 4 books. Nice picture of JKR on the front. but really only for the dangerously addicted.
Next I slammed back a four pack of The Hardy Boys by Franklin W. Dixon. First up While the Clock Ticked. There's a crazy man who comes to the house and accuses the boys father of cheating him. Raymond Dalyrymple also comes to see the boys dad. He's got a mystery up at his mansion, but he really wants Fenton Hardy, who's not there. The boys are heading out for a hike and he suggests they look over the Purdy place. Purdy's the crazy man. They do, but don't see anything. Bayport is a small town and the boys are often traveling on foot or motorcycle. Their boat figures into many of the stories. They have a car too. On the way home the boys meet up with Mr. Applegate, a returning character from the first book, who's had some stamps stolen. Valuable they were. You don't see stamps figuring in stories much anymore, unless people are making fun of someone. Of course the hobby is fading so you can't expect much. I wonder if it's still more popular in Europe and Japan. Back in Bayport Mr. D is having a bit of a problem with that crazy guy. On top of that someone is getting into his mansion's time-locked secret room and it's scaring him. The brothers stay over at the mansion to catch the crook. There's a clock that figures in the story and the covers of the later books give a big plot point away by showing you the person sneaking through the clock front. It's a big clock. I liked this cover from the first edition. You can see someone is getting kidnapped. That seems to happen often enough in the series. It's the brothers in this one. They get freed by yelling. Cops in a canoe hear them. They catch the crooks red handed, and free the boys. There's still the stamps and the third part of the story to tie up and you bet they do. All wrapped up in a neat bow.
What Happened at Midnight was next. The Hardy boys stay up late and have a good time breaking up the Taffy Marr jewel smuggling ring. The boy's "portly" friend Chet introduces the brothers to the new dining sensation in town. The Automat has come to Bayport, and Chet, a prodigious eater and comic relief machine, is armed with nickels and an appetite. He'll gladly get a stomach ache if he can eat his way there. There's a party out at Chet's place, with lots of food, and Joe gets kidnapped. Told ya. They don't know it at first. Joe walks out by the road running in front of Chet's family's farm and doesn't come back. He's caught by criminals. It puts Frank and some of his friends on the hurt. By car and by boat Frank soldiers on, collecting a clue here and a tip there, looking for his brother and unraveling the mystery of the Tammy Marr suggling ring. There's a lot of smuggling going on in Bayport. This one a jewel ring. Joe is eventually rescued and Chet has some more to eat. On the trail of the gang the brothers jump a train, after buying a ticket, and head to New York City. I know, they get to carry guns too. They learn some more and Frank gets pickpocketed. All their money is gone and they can't get home or eat. That would be bumming Chet out, huh. Our boys catch a couple of clues and a snooze in Central Park. No one killed them. It is 1931 in the book. They take the subway to the edge of the city and try hitching, but have no luck. After walking a while they wash dishes for some breakfast at a roadside diner. The cook gets them a ride from two young men who turn out to be secret service agents on the trail of, you guessed it, Taffy Marr. Next day Frank figures out where Taffy is and the chase is on.
I read WHAM and The Sign Of The Crooked Arrow the same day. The novels aren't that long and there aren't many words on a page. It takes me longer to write this big ass essay than read one of the books. I don't really know how long each takes but I'm guessing I'm right. The Sign Of The Crooked Arrow has the Hardy Boys out west searching for clues about the gang of baddies that are using phony cigarettes filled with knock out gas to rob people. "Hey, buddy. Got a light?" Next thing you know you wake up without your wallet. Then Mr. Hardy gets hit in the leg by an arrow. Since he's laid up in the hospital for a while he sends the boys to New Mexico to help their cousin Ruth. She's been having trouble at her ranch. The boys take Chet along. He's been learning judo, and eating cake. What a guy! More clues are found. On the way to the ranch Chet and the Hardy boys are followed by a strange plane and nearly crash when their chartered plane conks out. Cousin Ruth's ranch hands are a mixed lot. The boys make friends with some of them. They also make friends with an Indian name Pye. Frank nearly gets hit by an arrow. Then there's a fight with some of the ranch hands, followed by a flash flood. Then Chet and Frank get captured by the bad guys. They aren't being feed and Chet is frantic. Joe and Pye help them escape and the day and the ranch are saved. Yippee-ki-yay... anyway on to the next book.
The Mystery Of The Flying Express has the Hardy boys detecting on a train. A weird old man bugs the Hardy home and snoops on their conversations. This leads them to a spy ring and a lot of running around. Their father appears more in this book than most and often in disguise. There is the usual danger and excitement, with the added bonus of being on a train. At one point they have to fly to catch the train, so you've got planes and trains and spys. Can't get better than that. I got these last two Hardy Boys books, and two others, at HPB for $2 each. This was the only one without a dust jacket. I couldn't find good enough scans so I took pictures of the books I own. I'll read those two in October. There's a blimp in one.
I read the first two books in The Wyrd Museum Trilogy and while they were ok, I just didn't like them that much. Robin Jarvis is the writer and he's one blood thirsty mother. The first book is The Woven Path and in the first chapter Jarvis has a US airman gunned down in the streets of London during World War II. MP's found the airman standing over a bloody corpse and holding a bloody knife. No, bloody not bloody. Yep, both the corpse and the knife are covered in it. Bloody, hell! Then they blast him. There's a long envolved story that starts with a kid and his family. Neil's dad is a bit useless and he needs a job. He's divorced and has two boys. The younger boy is Josh and the dad is Brian. He takes the position as caretaker for The Wyrd Museum. It's run by an old lady who, with her two sister, lives on site. The place is rarely visited and it's filled with ill kept artifacts. Turns out the three old ladies are the fates and Woden is trying to kill off the tree of life. It gets more complicated. I think the Amazon review is pretty spot on:
Gr 8 Up-Neil's father has accepted a live-in job as the caretaker of the Wyrd Museum, an old house full of strange and macabre objects that is owned by three elderly sisters who are as disconcerting and fearful as the exhibits. While roaming in the Special Collections Room, Neil encounters a talking teddy bear that blackmails him into traveling back to the Blitz in London in order to rescue his four-year-old brother, Josh, who had been tricked by the magical bear. As Neil and Ted maneuver around London, meeting American soldiers, local people, and even a German spy, a demon breaks loose from the museum into the past as well, and, suddenly, in order to save the future and change the past, they must recapture it. Jarvis tries to do too many things with this story and ends up not doing any of them well. Time-travel fantasy and family drama are mixed in with horror-the descriptions of those killed by the demon are very graphic-and a dose of Nordic mythology and sentimentality. Hints are dropped about the origins and identities of the museum's owners, but only readers with a background in mythology will understand the references to weaving that they make. The plot involving Josh is dropped almost completely until the book's end when he magically reappears, and making one of the female characters an ambitious German spy pushes the whole thing just too far over the edge. Lisa Prolman, Greenfield Public Library.
Raven's Knot is the second book, and it pretty much continues where the first left off. The trilogy is really one long book. Woden brings back two of his raven's, Thought and Memory, as well as the murderous valkarie. He makes the latter by enchanting women. He sends them off to kill. One of them turns out to be Neil's mom, but nothing is ever made of it. Woden attacks the museum, it's the gateway to the tree of life, but he still can't get in. Several people die grissly deaths. A priest is tricked by Woden into committing mortal sins. He's later ripped apart by the valkaries and we are there in his head. Nice. Parts of both books are pretty good, and other parts I just didn't like. Too many of the later. I got tired of reading them. It took me 5 days to finish the first one. That's not too bad, but the two weeks to finish the second one, that's not too good. Other people seemed to like them in reviews I did see. I picked up the lot at HBP during a 20 percent off sale and I don't think it cost more than $6.50 for all three. I mostly got my value. I just won't keep them.
During the time I wasn't reading the above I was re-reading the last Harry Potter novel. I just can't get enough I guess. Maybe it was to wash the taste of Robin Jarvis out of my head. It's always better to end the month with a good book. Hell, end any day. Good luck finding one.