Monday, July 17, 2017

"Thrilling Days of Yesteryear" | @ the Library Article

If you were a reader as a child, chances are you still remember being perched in a tree, or tucked away in some special, private place, reading the adventures of some favorite character.  I think everyone must have read the "Little House" books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, laughed over the adventures of Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny in "The Boxcar Children" books, or shuddered at the scrapes Frank and Joe Hardy or Nancy Drew managed to get into.  Your Abilene Public Library has many of the books in each of these series.  In fact, we have many more of your old favorites to bring back memories!

Perhaps you enjoyed the adventures of young inventor Tom Swift.  The "Tom Swift" books by Victor Appleton were originally published in the early 1900's and featured Tom Swift, Sr.  Three other incarnations featured Tom II, III, and IV.  Each series featured an intelligent, strong young man who used his brains and brawn to solve mysteries, build mechanical marvels, and live the all-American dream.  Very popular with the boys of the 50's and early 60's, Tom Swift, Jr. books have been reprinted for new generations to enjoy.

An interesting story you might now know is that Tom Swift inspired a more modern inventor - Jack Cover, inventor of the TASER non-lethal stun gun.  According to James D. Keeline in his article "Who invented Tom Swift's Electric Rifle," Cover told him that he had read Swift as a child, and even named his invention after his early inspiration.  TASER is an acronym for Thomas A. Swift and his Electric Rifle, taken from the book Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle.

Another "retro-series" you can enjoy from your library are the "Anne of Green Gables" books by Lucy Maud Montgomery.  These books are very popular with several generations, thanks to the wonderful movies starring Megan Follows and Colleen Dewhurst.  If you don't remember, eleven-year-old orphan Anne Shirley is sent by mistake to live with a middle-aged spinster and her brother on Prince Edward Island.  Her irrepressible nature and personality liven up not only both Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert's lives, but also those of the entire town.  This series continues into Anne's adulthood and is a wonderful slice of turn-of-the-century (the last one!) Canadian rural life.

Growing up, I loved the exotic adventures in "The Black Stallion" series by Walter Farley.  In recent years, his son Steven has begun writing new titles for this series.  The first book tells the story of young Alec, who is shipwrecked on a desert island coming home from Arabia, and the beautiful wild stallion he encounters there.  Dependent on each other for survival, the boy and horse learn to trust and love each other as they establish an amazing lifelong bond.  After being rescued, Alec befriends retired racehorse trainer Henry Dailey, who lives near Alec.  Henry recognizes the Black's superior breeding, and he and Alec secretly begin training the Black to race.  But without a documented pedigree, Alec and Henry can only compete as mystery horse in a match race between two champions, Cyclone and Sun Raider.

Just because you're grown doesn't mean you can't revisit old favorite friends and relive the wonderful summer days when you first wondered about Tom Swift's incredible inventions, solved mysteries with Encyclopedia Brown or laughed over the weird goings-on at the Wayside School.  Come by your Abilene Public Library this summer and do just that!

Article Contributed by Janis C. Test, Information Services Manager

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