Tuesday, May 7, 2013

I'd Rather Be Sleuthing

If I could pick one thing I've almost always liked, it would be Nancy Drew. Now, I say "almost always" because the first time I picked up a Nancy Drew book, I hated it. I'm not sure what I was thinking there, because I've loved mystery books since I read the Boxcar Children as a young girl. 

It made sense to me to do my collection based around Nancy Drew, because if I could have all these books for real, I would. Collecting isn't always about having the rarest or most expensive stuff, although it's neat to have rare items in your collection. Your collection should be something you love or are interested in. 

The first thing in my Nancy Drew collection would be the 56 original Nancy Drew Mystery Stories

Click on the link above and scroll through to see different covers and read a brief synopsis of each book. 

This is what Nancy Drew books looked like when I started reading them, in the late '90s. If you're older, you probably remember them looking a little differently.
The link above has several different covers for some of the books. The covers of the books in the photo above would be the last picture for each book. 

The reason behind the different covers is because some of the books have been revised from the originals, which brings me to the next items in my collection: Applewood Books' reproductions of the first 21 Nancy Drew Mystery Stories. Only the first 6 have been reprinted, so the others tend to be fairly pricey. The books were revised to shorten them and remove stereotypes and outdated language. I've never read any of the originals, but I would really love to.

The next group of books in my collection would be the Nancy Drew Digest books. These were sold as a continuation of the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories. The numbering picks up where the yellow books left off, at 57, and goes until 175. I've read and own a few of these. They read a lot like the yellow cover Nancy Drew books to me, just updated. 

There are many other Nancy Drew books, as you can see here. I have one of the Nancy Drew, Girl Detective books, but it's too...different and weird from the others. Some of the books are aimed at a younger audience, like the Nancy Drew Notebooks, where Nancy is 8 instead of a teenager. Some of the books were also aimed at an older, teenage audience, like the Nancy Drew Files, where romance is often involved in addition to the mystery. I'm all for Nancy and Ned together forever, but I like my favorite teen detective solving mysteries, not kissing boys. 

The next thing I would add to my collection would be Nancy Drew movies and TV shows. There have been a few over the years, but I like the originals the best. My mom remembers watching the Nancy Drew TV show when she was in high school.

The original Nancy Drew movies from the 1930s, starring Bonita Granville as Nancy

Nancy Drew TV show from the late 1970s,
starring Pamela Sue Martin as Nancy
Season 2

The final part of my collection of Nancy Drew things is something I already own: the Nancy Drew computer games by Her Interactive. The 28th installment of these games comes out later this month. Some of them are based on Nancy Drew books. 

Based on the first Nancy Drew book in honor of Nancy's 75th anniversary
According to the game box, this is based on the best selling Nancy Drew book of all time.

195 books, 4 movies, 2 seasons of a TV show, and 28 computer games. Now that's what I call a collection! :) I may not have absolutely EVERYTHING Nancy Drew here, but I have all the things I like and care about. 

Nancy Drew Links: 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Digital Age

Since I didn't get a chance to attend the roundtable discussion on digital books, and I don't have my journal, I thought I would just give my thoughts on digital books. 

I love reading for fun. I have at least five shelves full of books and then several boxes full of books because I ran out of shelf space. A couple of Christmases ago, I got a Kindle Touch, my first foray into the world of eBooks. 

Here are my pros and cons of Kindles and eBooks:


  • I have access to most of my Kindle library anywhere I go. I find I do most of my reading on the Kindle app on my iPhone or iPad, because I always have one of both of those devices with me. I don't have to carry around a physical novel, and if I finish one, I can pick another instantly. You can also read books from your Kindle library online or on a desktop application on a computer. I don't use my actual Kindle much because I like carrying as few things as possible.
  • My Kindle and iPad both weigh less than a pound. Together, they don't weigh much over one full pound. I have around 50 books in my Kindle Library. The only way those same 50 books would weigh just over a pound as physical copies would be if they were very, very tiny and the pages were made out of tissue paper. 
  • Having access to my books at all times (since my phone is always on me) means I can read literally anywhere without having to have a physical copy of the book. I can read while waiting at the doctor's office, while I'm waiting for the doctor to see me once I'm in the room, in the car, under the covers without a flashlight, while eating dinner (and the "pages" are safe from spaghetti sauce stains!), and while waiting for food at restaurants. 
  • You can change the font size and style. On the Kindle apps, you can change the color of the pages (to black or sepia, if white hurts your eyes). You can highlight (in four colors on the apps), bookmark, and search for words or phrases throughout the book. It's all very handy.
  • The book is delivered instantly. No leaving your house to go to the bookstore or waiting for the book to be shipped to you.
  • You can't buy Kindle books directly from the iPhone or iPad app. You can buy books from an actual Kindle, on Safari on an iPad, and of course from any Internet browser on a computer.
  • I've noticed a couple typos and spacing issues in some of the digital copies of the books. 
  • Reading on a computer screen is bad for your eyes.
  • I miss real book smells and turning real pages. 
  • "Print replica books" (it's like a .pdf style copy of the book; the pages look like the pages in the print copy) can only be read on an iPad, Kindle Fire, or computer. 
  • Not EVERYTHING is available as a Kindle eBook. I still have to buy physical copies on occasion.
  • You miss out on the dust jackets and other beautiful elements of the book.
Even though Kindles are super convenient, nothing really beats turning real pages and the smell of a book. Kindles just smell like...electronics. And those don't smell good even when they're not about to catch fire. I usually go for Kindle books now though, just because they're convenient, especially for school. My iPad weighs less and takes up less space in my backpack than a stack of textbooks. I've gone digital, but physical copies of books will always hold a special place in my heart.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


Bookplates have been around since at least the 15th century. I touched on them a bit when I did my blog on provenance, but I’d like to go more in-depth about them.

First and foremost, bookplates are an individualized way for the owner of a book to identify him or herself. But bookplates can also be works of art. Artists and engravers such as Albrecht Dürer, M.C. Escher, Paul Revere, Rockwell Kent, and Leonard Baskin have designed bookplates.

Hieronimi Ebner's bookplate by Albrecht Dürer

Rockwell Kent's bookplates

Bookplates can be created with a number of techniques, from the classic pen and ink to woodcuts, linocuts, metal engraving, etching, and even silk screening. It is common for these small-scale works of art to be hand printed on fine paper.

Both individuals and institutions can have bookplates. Notable people who have a personal bookplate include Queen Victoria, George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Sigmund Freud, Walt Disney, and Jack London. Institutions that are likely to have bookplates are public and private libraries, universities, law firms, and museums.

George Washington's bookplate

Walt Disney's bookplate

As part of this class, we were encouraged to design our own bookplate. Mine (so far) incorporates a stack of books, because I have always loved reading, and a cat perched on the stack that looks like my cat, because I love animals (especially my cat). I also want to incorporate a magnifying glass, because I love mystery novels, Nancy Drew, and I am a criminal justice major.

Semi-rough sketch/idea for my bookplate

Saturday, April 13, 2013

2nd Annual the Book Beautiful Edible Book & Tea

This year, I was a participant in the Book Beautiful's 2nd Annual Edible Book & Tea. I'm fairly certain that our tea was inspired by this event, held every year at the George A. Smathers Library at the University of Florida, as it seems to be the original edible book contest (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong). 

My friend Max and I teamed up to create "Tor-Till-A Mockingbird", our twist on Harper Lee's classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird. We made cinnamon tortilla chips, fruit salsa, and chocolate mousse. Max and I actually won Best in Show! :)

All in all, it was an interesting experience, and it seems that everyone had a good time at the tea. I really enjoyed looking at everyone's books. They were all too pretty to destroy by eating! 

From my point of view, here are the pros and cons of this project:


  • Different kind of assignment. Much better than writing a paper or taking an exam.
  • FOOD. Who doesn't love food?!
  • The tea was really nice. It was a nice, relaxing event amid all of the other schoolwork I had to do.

  • Kind of expensive. Not nearly as expensive as I thought it would be, but still. It doesn't really cost anything to write a paper. Reminded me of how much money I had to spend on materials for my art projects in the ONE art class I've taken at Marshall, on top of the textbook (luckily, the textbook for this course was about 10 dollars).
  • Time! By this, I don't really mean that it took forever to do our project. It was just kind of a hassle, because with food, you can't do it way ahead of time, because you want it to be as fresh as possible. I knew we couldn't do any hot food, and we didn't want to make a cake, because we figured there would be a lot of cakes. We had to buy all of the produce and everything the day before the tea, and then make the food. With a paper, you can write it the day you get the assignment sheet, if you really want to. With this, you had to do it at the last minute, and it felt a little rushed. 
Here is a link to photos of our bookmaking! 

Saturday, April 6, 2013


Merriam-Webster Online defines provenance as "the history of ownership of a valued object or work of art or literature." For a book, this would include personal or library bookplates, notes made by an owner, or things left between the pages (flowers, notes, photographs, receipts, etc.).

My personal copies of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland will probably never have provenance, as I don't make a habit of writing in my books. A few of my books have my name written in them because I loaned them to a friend once upon a time. Some of my picture books have crayon scribbles in them because four year old me thought it was okay to color in ALL the books.

I did write in my copies of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events because they have built-in bookplates. It seemed kind of silly not to, since there was a line right there, telling you to put your name on it.

This is in Spanish Neato.

Each bookplate varied slightly between volumes. The picture of Count Olaf at the bottom changed to reflect his disguise in the book, as you can see in the two images above. Just a fun fact. ;)

I also have a Big Book of Beatrix Potter that has both a built-in bookplate and a matching bookplate with a nice note from my neighbor on it.

The Big Book of Beatrix Potter!

The matching bookplate with a nice note from Ms. Logan, who moved to Florida.

The built-in bookplate and my younger self's terrible handwriting

I did, however, find a few copies of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland online that have provenance. This copy, found at AbeBooks, is inscribed to "Edith Mary Alice Berkeley from the Author May 15/80" on the half title and includes Caroll's bookplate on the front pastedown. This past lot from Christie's is for Alice's Adventures Under Ground (a facsimile of the original manuscript that was later developed into Alice's Adventures in Wonderland) that is inscribed on the half title "Mrs Standen from the Author Jan 1887." Carroll noted in his diaries that he spent a forenoon at Macmillan's inscribing copies. Forty-four of these copies are known to exist. I also found several more recent copies of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland that have been signed by the illustrators.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Books of Art

The topic for this week was "Baby's Choice," and Professor Ingersoll said we could write about anything our little hearts desire. 

My little heart desires artist's books. 

In this post, I will be focusing on artist's books and the like that are inspired by Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

I had trouble finding artist's books for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. However, I did find some book sculptures and an altered book.

Su Blackwell is an artist whose medium of choice is paper. She creates book sculptures by cutting out images from old books and using other pages from the book to create a three-dimensional diorama. She leans toward young girl characters, and places them in settings that express the vulnerability of childhood and convey a sense of childhood anxiety and wonder. Alice fits this perfectly. 

Blackwell (2007) Alice, A Mad Tea Party.
In fact, Blackwell has made other book sculptures based on Alice.
Blackwell (2008) Down the Rabbit Hole.

Blackwell (2007) Through the Looking Glass.

Joseph Marsh is a freelance graphic designer who had to produce an altered book for a bookmaking class he took. The goal of the project, according to Marsh, was to alter a book to reflect its original content. The center of the book is cut out, so it's no longer readable, but Marsh still created a very cool work of art.

Joseph Marsh's altered book
See more photos (including close up shots) of the book here.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


I would venture to say that there are at least one hundred different editions of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and probably more. I am looking at three different editions of the novel in this blog, but I chose just one—my favorite—for the book description.

Book description: 2010. Format: Hardcover. Trimsize: 5 3/4" x 8 1/4". Pages: 160. Smooth, cloth-like binding with metallic pink stamping on front cover and spine. Fourth printing. Full color dust jacket and full color illustrations throughout by Camille RoseGarcia (1970- ), an internationally known artist whose work has been in magazines such as Rolling Stone, Juxtapoz, and Modern Painter. Semi-glossy paper used to showcase Garcia’s illustrations. Black endpapers with a pattern of small lavender illustrations. Published by Collins Design, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers. Text first published in 1866 and written by Charles Lutwidge Dodson (1832-1898), better known as Lewis Carroll, who wrote a sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland called Throughthe Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There in 1871. Book is in excellent condition; only one previous owner. Book designed by Agniszka Stachowicz. Printed in the United States of America. No markings, bookplates, or other notes inside covers or on pages. Printed using offset lithography and commercially bound. No headband is present, not even a decorative one.