Stuff, Vintage Books

Vintage Harlequin Romances- Finds for September




I fell in love(pun, ha ha) with Harlequin/Mills and Boon covers when I discovered my mom’s old books from the 1970s. Since then I have a very strict time period for which I collect 1980 or earlier and I usually only focus on a few authors because they make for an entertaining read every now and then.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a big fan of the typical romance genre, in fact I don’t think I have read any contemporary Harlequin romances, what I love like my passion for other vintage books is the language, and settings. I like really convuluted sexist (I know, I know shame on me as a feminist and I am a feminist) plots and I love that the heroines aren’t imagined, or spunkier or different from their times, which I think is the case with a lot of historical fiction. The vintage books actually have a more accurate representation of that current society. I love reading especially the books from the 1960’s and 1970’s where you see the conflict between traditional women’s roles and the new modern roles and of course its a fantasy, so there is always a happy ending and the woman gets both.

As for the covers, I love the old school illustrations, in fact the style of the first one is actually my favorite, its so pulpy and awesome and I wish I had a better vocabulary to describe it.  I’ll try to do a monthly post about my collections. Its going to be harder and I have to be more selective because my local thrift store has raised prices for old paperbacks from $.25 to $1.99

Books, Vintage Books

Vintage YA Fiction – Trixie Belden


I have just discovered some new young adult vintage fiction series. Trixie Belden was written around the same time as Nancy Drew but for same reason did not make that transition into my generation unlike Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys.  I was lucky enough to pickup two paper backs from the 50’s for a dollar each, they are #4 The Mysterious Visitor and #5 The Mystery Off Glen Road. Like all other YA mysteries the plots are really simple and of course has very little violence. In #4 ,which I just finished, the villain is an imposter who is trying to swindle on of Trixie’s friends and a revolver or real danger is present only in the last 3 pages.

The most charming thing about the series is how well the era is captured in the dialogues and the writing. Trixie is 14 years old and lives in Sleepyside, NY which is a suburb of Manhattan. She lives on a farm with her three brothers and parents. She also has a neighbor Honey Wheeler and her adopted brother Jim Frayne. Jim, Honey, Trixie  and her brothers Brian and Mart make up the Bob-Whites which is their secret society.  Trixie also rides the bus along with her friends because they all live far from the village , which is where the poorer people live.  She struggles with math woes and hates to write “themes” which I gather are essays or term papers. They all also have to dress for dinner and dressing in jeans is referred to as dressing “sloppy.” In fact one of the character’s mom won’t let her wear jeans at all. Trixie also calls her mother “Mom’s” and the book definitely reinforces the idea that women who cook, clean etc are virtuous. In fact, Trixie, for being a tomboy even makes comments like “Mom’s just goes in the kitchen and walks out with something delicious.” Also, her chores are babysitting, while her brothers get to groom horses.

Its charming to be transported back to a post WW II suburb in NY.

I’ll post more as I read more.

Books, Vintage Books

Some new friends from the world of Vintage books

Now that round one of wedding days are over and round two hasn’t consumed me yet, I had a little bit of time to catch up wit my good friends….my old books. Last week , I bought a used book called Emily of New Moon. Emily of New Moon is a written by Lucy Maud Montgomery who is famous for writing the Anne of Green Gables Series.  Anne of Green Gables was one of the defining books of my childhood. I used to read that book over and over again and pretend that I was Anne Shirley living in Prince Edward Island. Anne of Green Gables is a must read for anyone who is interested in life in North America during the turn of the century. The book has wonderful details about schoolhouses, types of fashion popular among adolescents and of course it is a great story.

Anyway, Emily of New Moon is also a series set in Prince Edward Island and I am so glad , I started this series. I don’t think it is going to be as dear to me as Anne of Green Gables was , but it was still really fun to read.

Plot Synopsis:

Emily is a 11 year old girl who loses her father to consumption and has to go stay with her two estranged aunts in Prince Edward Island. The setting is right after the WW I and New Moon Farm is in a tiny little village. In  the novel, Emily is imaginative child who is whimsical and wants to be a poetess and has a hard time adjusting with her aunts who are very sensible and do not know how to interact with children. However Emily also makes some friend and has some wonderful adventures on the farm like, solving a old mystery, learning more about her family and herself and becoming a better writer.

I will probably re read my old faves the Anne of Green Gables series soon and write a synopsis on that soon and I plan to finish the Emily series as well.

The best part about these books is that they are a part of public domain and can be downloaded and read for free!!! One site for reading them is Project Gutenberg 

Vintage Books

Vintage Young Adult Fiction

I have learned so much about vintage fiction in the past few weeks. I started collecting old editions of Enid blyton recently on ebay and while browsing the different seller stores, I have learned about various vintage mystery series aside from Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys. I guess , after having spent years reading British YA fiction, I am starting to read American YA girls fiction, now officially past the age of young adulthood.

The Ones I’m really interested in learning more about are

Mystery Series

Trixie Belden Mysteries- Written and set from 1946 to the mid 1950’s.

Cherry Ames – Written during WW II to encourage girls to enter nursing.

Dana Girls- Series during the time of the original Nancy Drew series

Judy Bolton – Series set in the 1930s

Donna Parker-Late 1950’s and 1960s

Non Mystery Series:

Sue Barton- Nurse Heroine from 1936

Ginnie and Geneva-

Chalet School Series

Betsy and Tacey Series