Monday, September 19, 2005

One of my favorite series

I've read most of them. Books | Who made Nancy Drew?: "As Benson -- the first woman to earn a master's degree in journalism from the University of Iowa -- testified during a highly publicized 1980 court trial to determine copyright status and ownership of Nancy Drew, 'I was probably a rough and tumble newspaper person who had to earn a living, and I was out in the world. That was my type of Nancy. Nancy was making her way in life.' (Benson worked as a newspaper reporter for more than 50 years and, after being widowed a second time, took to piloting planes to Central America for solo archaeological explorations.) Adams was every bit as progressive. A woman running a company was practically unheard of then, and she managed to stand up for herself in the male-dominated world of publishing while raising a family -- long before there were many resources for working mothers.

Adams spent more than 40 years feverishly keeping up appearances that Keene was a real person, and Benson spent almost as long modestly avoiding the limelight. Today, of course, hardly anyone remembers the court drama and media speculation over the true author behind the girl detective series. The Stratemeyer Syndicate is gone; Mildred Wirt Benson and Harriet Stratemeyer Adams are dead. Nancy, however, lives on. (The 1959 version of 'The Secret of the Old Clock' sold around 150,000 copies in 2002, making it one of the top 50 bestselling children's books.)

My other favorites were The Adventures of Tom Swift Jr and Cherry Ames, and Trixie Belden. These were discovered in my alphabetical quest to discover a book that was being read to us in school, but we moved and I didn't know the name of the book. So until I found Meg, Charles Wallace, Mrs Who, Mrs What and Mrs Which I kept reading. The base library kept me going and during the summer of 1968 and throughout the school year I read the young adult section at the Vandenberg AFB library. Every single book that starred a girl or had science fiction, teenage sleuthing or a sense of adventure. Anything that wasn't normal (boring). I finally found my intrepid heroes in the L section, A Wrinkle In Time, one of my all time favorites.

And I wonder where my authority issues and independent streak come from. More reading and less television might lead one to critcal thinking, independent judgement and the ability to see the world in the future, not someone else's special effects.

Imagination is a wonderful and precious thing.

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