I am old enough that while working my first library job librarians were still debating the efficacy of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries. At the time, there were two distinct camps: Those that felt children should only read “quality” literature and those that believed that any reading was good. This dichotomy played out in library selection meetings and at library conferences around the country as the debate waged over spending precious tax dollars for what, by some, were deemed titles just slightly above pulp fiction. (Note: The distinction that books by Carolyn Keene were not pulp was based solely on the hard covers of this series versus the paperbacks of such authors as Philip K. Dick or Edgar Rice Burroughs. Remember – At the time, a similar debate waged over the merits of paperbacks, perceived as ephemeral and not worthy of being in a library collection, regardless of the author!)
I definitely fell into the latter category; after all, I had loved Nancy Drew mysteries. My childhood friend, Julie B., introduced me to this strong female heroine and her two best friends and ever faithful sleuthing partners, Beth and George, when she lent me her copy of The Hidden Staircase. I thought Julie was immensely lucky as she owned a wonderful collection of 10-13 titles which she began lending to me. Her collection consisted of early titles in the series, so, with my allowance and every birthday and Christmas, I acquired the later books in the series. Our goal was to own every Nancy Drew title, that by combining her early titles and my later ones, our collection would meet in the middle.
There are those avid readers who pride themselves on never re-reading a title and those that re-visit well loved books time and again. On this topic I fall in the middle as I generally don’t re-read books simply because, in the words of Frank Zappa, “So many books, so little time.” But I do remember the first book I ever re-read. It was a sunny day during summer vacation and I read The Clue in the Old Stagecoach three times, cover-to-cover. The magic of the words transported me into Nancy’s search for hidden treasure. Having just re-read The Bookseller for The Directors’ Book Club, my list of re-read titles (not inlcuding library storytime favorites) is now a dozen plus a few:
- The Bookseller by Mark Pryor
- Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
- The Clue in the Old Stagecoach by Carolyn Keene (Three times in one day!)
- Dune by Frank Herbert
- Harry Potter, #1-7 by J.K. Rowling (First as the titles were released & re-read before each movie premiere.)
- His Dark Materials, #1-3 by Philip Pullman (For the summer science fiction book club.)
- Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (Just because what is not to love about a time travel romance between Claire and Jamie aka Sam Heughan with his own blend of whisky.)
One thought on “Fond Memories of Nancy Drew”
I did not read Nancy Drew but I have a vivid memory of visiting my grandmother and see a shelf full of Nancy Drew books in my mom’s childhood bedroom. Maybe I need to read a few.