Monday, August 23, 2010

On Nancy Drew and reading all her books this year

Originally written in 1930 when the first Nancy Drew book appeared, Nancy has stood the test of time.  But believe it or not, she's been updated.  The original Nancy Drew books had a language that reflected their times and were racially and culturally very un-PC.  So beginning in 1959, the Stratemeyer Syndicate began updating them resulting in the yellow hardcovers that are so familiar to everyone today.

I could go on about the influence of Nancy Drew and her history.  I've done a lot of research, but let me just say that growing up I read almost every Nancy Drew book there was or at least it seemed so.  I went through a phase where I did research and read anything I could find about the history of Nancy Drew and why she was important to pop culture and young girls.  So I have a lot of love for her.  But I will admit that these books are fairly standard by today's standards and the writing can leave much to be desired as they were eventually churned out by a bunch of ghostwriters (though they never get as bad as say The Babysitter's Club series or any of the Sweet Valley books).  I will also admit to Nancy being a busybody and a goody-goody.  She just can't help herself, almost literally.  So, of course, with a case involving poor people, old people, little girls, Nancy only wants to help them with no thought for herself.  She is very selfless although at the end of every mystery she somehow manages to gain a tangible reward for her services.

This year I decide to join a book challenge and read all 56 of the original yellow hardback books.  I am running a bit behind as of now.  The original goal was to read one a week and then two on occasion to fill in the missing weeks.  But I got caught up in some other books and I have neglected Nancy a bit.  Right now I'm on number 31 The Ringmaster's Secret and plan on reading at least one other if not two.  Mockingjay is out tomorrow and so I will definitely read that as soon as I get it.  And I have the feeling I might be a bit shattered after it.  Nancy Drew, surprisingly, makes a good "palate cleanser" between books.  She is so fun and full of mystery, but there are not books to make me over think.  I'm having a lot of fun so far re-reading these old favorites.

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