Careful what you Write

It is with a heavy heart that I address you today. It appears that one of my blog posts has been misunderstood and it troubles me somewhat.

I was looking at my stats for a moment earlier, and saw a couple that interested me. The first was a referral from an erotica site that I am assuming had linked to my erotic poem She Enters the Room (Adult Content). That is fine, rather cool in fact. No problem with that at all. It is at this point my mini rant shall begin.

The second referral is the one that disturbs me. It is from the Enid Blyton Society. Regular followers of this blog will know that I am an ardent Enid Blyton advocate and that I find the assaults on her works in applying so called political correctness an affront. The changing of the original stories and characters to conform to what are supposedly acceptable modern day norms is in my eyes a disgrace. So to find that on a closed forum, as in one where I cannot defend myself, that I am being held up as an example of prejudice and bigotry against Enid Blyton is, to say the least, a little disconcerting. I was a member of the society at one point, but unfortunately have let my membership lapse.

Now I am sure that the original poster in that forum has judged my words and expressed his honest opinion. It is likely that my words may have been misleading and easily misinterpreted. There are however numerous other posts,  including my ‘Collection Book of the Week’ posts on this blog that highlight my opinion vehemently opposing the amendment and changing of Enid Blyton’s works and my love of them in their original form. I guess that is what happens when somebody just looks at a single post without any greater overview of the whole.

Still, I am sure that it is my fault for not expressing myself in a sufficiently eloquent manner. I imagine it is my simplistic use of the English language, and my lack of appreciation that people unfamiliar with my blog as a whole, and unaware of my views concerning Enid Blyton could be reading a single post, that has led to this misconstruing of my views.

Anyway, I guess I will just have to be more guarded with my use of language in the future. I am certainly not wasting any more of my time worrying about the misguided opinions of a couple of posters on a closed forum. I have wasted too much time already. Mini rant over.

I must apologise to one and all for this post. This is not something that would usually bother me, but it’s Enid Blyton, an author I hold in the highest esteem. You can see how this has affected me, there doesn’t appear to be a single expletive in this post.

Collection Book of the Week – Go Ahead Secret Seven

This week’s riveting installment of my ‘Collection Book of the Week’ series will have to be quick as I am rather pushed for time, so I apologise for any errors, or any of those lapses into boringness that we all know I am capable of. Still, I know that there will be many frustrated and disappointed readers out there if I fail to post this week, so here we go. This week sees the featuring of a book from yet another series of Enid Blyton’s children’s adventure stories. Thus far we have seen examples of books belonging to ‘The Famous Five’, ‘The Adventure Series’ and ‘The Mystery Series’. There remains one other major series of Enid Blyton’s children’s adventures that I collect, ‘The Secret Seven’.

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This week’s book of choice is ‘Go Ahead Secret Seven’, the fifth book in the original series of fifteen stories. In addition to these fifteen books, Enid Blyton wrote two books featuring Peter and Janet, the founders of the Secret Seven. ‘At Seaside Cottage’ was set prior to the formation of the Secret Seven, which was formed in ‘The Secret of the Old Mill’. There were, I believe, a number of other stories written in French, by Evelyne Lallemand, many years later. I do not consider them related in any way to the original series, and so that is all the information regarding them that you will get from me.

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Now for the usual boring facts about my copy. I purchased this book from a book fair held at British Motorcycle museum in Birmingham in 2012. It is a first edition, published by the Brockhampton Press in 1953 and originally sold for 6s. The book itself is in pretty good condition and is very solid. The dust cover is also in good condition, with some very minor wear on the corners and spine. As is usual with the Enid Blyton books of this era, there are some really nice illustrations, both as part of the dust cover and internally. The illustrator for this book was Bruno Kay.

So, if you are still awake, prepare for extreme disappointment. There will be no ‘Collection Book of the Week’ post next week. I repeat, NO  post next week. Do not despair however, stop whining, stop wringing your hands in misery, stop wailing in grief. Everything will be alright. I have a different type of post lined up for your enjoyment. It is intended for the 11th August, and that is all I can reveal at the moment.

Comments always welcome.

Pictures Whilst Absent from WordPress

I have been mostly absent from WordPress for the last week and will not be back properly for a little while yet. I thought I would just post a few photographs to remind people that I am still alive. Also my collection book of the week post should appear tomorrow, at some point, assuming I have scheduled it properly. Enjoy the photographs.

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I hope you enjoyed the photographs. Just to whet your appetites and leave you with a sense of anticipation for tomorrow, the collection book of the week this week will be another Enid Blyton book, from the Secret Seven Series this time.

Collection Book of the Week – The Mystery of Banshee Towers

Last week I had to apologise for the lateness of my collection book of the week post and yet here we are a week later and I find myself in the exact same position. Rather than apologise, I think I am just going to move the expected publication day of this post to be a vague sometime during the weekend, rather than on a Thursday. History has indicated that I will never achieve that. I have no qualms shifting goalposts as you will no doubt be aware. I hope that those of you that wait on tenterhooks every for each new post in this series will be able to accommodate these changes into your schedules.

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The book for this week is another Enid Blyton book, but this time part of the so called ‘Mystery series’, thus called because the title of each book in the series  begins ‘The Mystery of…’ This series follows the adventures of the ‘Five Find Outers and Dog’. This is yet another example of Enid Blyton’s formulaic approach to her children’s adventure stories. I have often considered how these stories generally consist of the same elements – some children and a clever pet, some stupid villains that are always outfoxed by the children, a stupid policeman that never believes them, a clever, high up policeman who thinks they are just dandy, and a healthy smattering of prejudice and bigotry that would nowadays be considered very politically incorrect.

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I acquired this book at the Birmingham book fair, held at the British Motorcycle Museum in 2012. It is a first edition published by Methuen in 1961. The dust cover is in fairly good condition, as is the book itself.

I know that I have mentioned it before, but I really enjoy the feel of these books and the dust cover designs are always interesting and descriptive of the contents of the book. In fact, I know of many collectors that purely collect Enid Blyton first editions for the dust cover designs.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s book, although I expect by now many of you are becoming understandably bored of hearing about my book collection, and that I am just speaking to myself. Still, I enjoy the sound of my own voice such a lot that I will continue with this series for the foreseeable future. Don’t forget, the next post in this compelling series will be available for your reading pleasure next weekend.

Collection Book of the Week – Five go to Mystery Moor

As most of you know, I enjoy books, not in any creepy or immoral way, naturally, but I do enjoy real books. The smell, the feel and the look of them on my shelf. A couple of years ago I decided to start trying to build a small collection of first editions. I have always been interested in Enid Blyton’s children’s adventure stories and decided that I would see if I could start acquiring some of these. I now have a very small collection of first editions, built around Enid Blyton books, along with a few other random books that I have picked up here and there.

I thought that I would like to feature one book from my meagre collection each week and include some pictures and some brief information about where I acquired it and any relevant information about it. Hopefully this will interest some people and if anyone has any ideas about further information that they would like to see included please let me know in the comments. I will call this series of posts ‘Collection Book of the Week’, I think. The order will be totally at random.

Since I make no claims of being in any way an expert, if anyone notices any false or incorrect information please let me know. Sometimes identifying true first editions can be very tricky and most of my information has come from internet searches and from talking to dealers at book fairs. Obviously I would prefer it that you told me something I thought was only worth a few pounds was actually worth thousands, rather than the more likely reverse situation, but either way I would like to know.

So unsurprisingly we will start with an Enid Blyton book, one of the Famous Five series. The book is ‘Five go to Mystery Moor’ and was one of my earliest purchases. It is the thirteenth book in the original series of twenty one books. Here are a few photographs, sorry about the quality, I am most certainly not a photographer.

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So this book was published in 1954 by Hodder & Stoughton. It is in reasonable condition, and was available for a very reasonable price, being one of the later books in the series and thus less rare than the earlier ones. This book basically started my collection and was purchased at a small (eighteen dealers) Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association (PBFA) book fair held at Hylands house in Chelmsford. This was purchased in late 2011 and only cost £35.

Many factors affect the price of first editions, but condition is one of the most important. One important point to remember is that without the dust jacket most of these books would be considered pretty much worthless. It is generally recognised that having a dust jacket (wrapper) is responsible for in excess of 80% of the value of the book. Anyway, this one has one, and while not in perfect condition, is far from terrible. Many of the first editions I have seen have had large chunks of the dust jacket missing and are really just separate pieces held together by a protective plastic cover.

So there is the first book featured in the ‘Collection Book of the Week’ series. I would be interested to hear any comments that you have regarding anything related to the format and content of this post or the book itself. I will be back with another exciting book for you next week.

Proust – The Aftermath and Enid Blyton

Just because I have finished reading Proust doesn’t mean I will stop writing about him. Well it does really, but I needed some way to start today’s post. It is actually a little strange now that I have finished was was, for me, and epic task. My Goodreads 2013 Reading challenge took a serious hit and I am way behind where I should be, even having specified fewer books than I completed last year. As I have previously mentioned I am slowly reading some Tolstoy and Sophocles, but in an effort to improve my Goodreads numbers I have also been reading a few Enid Blyton books.

I have always been a fan of Enid Blyton, especially her children’s adventure stories, in particular the adventure series, the mystery series and the famous five. I have almost completed reading first editions of the adventure series. I am interested in the way that these books have changed over the years. I have heard a few whispers about changes to many of Enid Blyton’s books in later editions, as society changes.

Many of these books were written in the forties and fifties and would not now be considered to be politically correct. I think that many changes have been made to these books and after I have finished the first editions I am going to read the latest editions, from 2011/2012. As of yet I do not know the changes that may have been made, but I feel that with any books it is important to read them in context, appreciating the time at which they were written and the social and cultural norms of that period. A number of these books were written in wartime England and as such contained a degree of propagandist bias.

Anyway more on this when I have completed the first editions and also the latest editions.

 

First post for ages

I haven’t put much up here for quite some time. I am planning to start to use this blog as a site where I can talk about the books that I am reading, possibly the books that I collect also. I should be able to manage a few reviews and critiques of some of the books, especially the Enid Blyton childrens adventure and mystery stories (famous five, adventure, mystery series etc). Here’s to starting to post on a more regular basis.