Sunday, March 28, 2010

Ginny Gordon and the Lending Library

At the Big Charity Book Sale I discovered a book that was tailor-made for me.   Not only do I browse in the classics, fiction, biography, and cookbooks, but I also check out something called the "Vintage" section.  The '50s novel  Ginny Gordon and the Lending Library describes my book-buying habits and storage problem exactly.

Chapter 1 begins:

"Oh, no," Lucy moaned as she climbed the Gordons' front steps to join Ginny on the porch.  "Not more books!  Whatever are we going to do with them, Ginny?"  

"I don't know, Lucy," Ginny said disconsolately to her best friend.  "It was really very stupid of me to order those books for our lending library before we had a place to set up in business."
Julie Campbell, one of my favorite writers as a child, wrote Ginny Gordon and the Lending Library. She created the Trixie Belden books, my favorite mystery series, starring the incorrigible Trixie Belden, her best friend Honey, and siblings and friends who are all members of a club called the Bob-Whites.  Trixie can't help getting involved in mysteries.  Crimes happen and she's always finding clues and barely escaping with her life.  These were the most exciting books ever at age seven and I begged my mother to buy me one every time we went to the grocery store.  Whitman, a publisher of inexpensive books for children, reissued classics like Little Women and popular series like the Bobbsey Twins, but also published original mystery series, sometimes with celeb heroes like The Lennon Sisters and Annette.  They were displayed on a revolving rack near the cash register and proved too tempting for young readers like me.

"All right, all right."

Julie Campbell was a busy woman:  she ran her own literary agency in the 1940s, and when Whitman Publishing asked her to scout some writers who could "produce" original mystery and adventure series, Campbell pitched her own.  The Ginny Gordon books were published from the 1948 to 1956.  These books were a little before my time.  I was still toddling next door to read Golden Books collected by our next-door neighbor, who taught "country school" in a one-room schoolhouse until they shut it down sometime in the '60s.

I wish the Ginny Gordon books had been available during my childhood.  The Trixie Belden books were still in-print in the '60s and the series continued until the '80s under various ghost writers.  The characters in Ginny G. and the Lending Library remind me very much of Trixie and the Bob-Whites.   Ginny Gordon, her friend, Lucy, and a group of boys and girls belong to a club called the Hustlers.  Like the Bob-Whites, they raise money for good causes.  They accomplish this by running small businesses.  When the book begins, they have plans to start a small "portable" lending library by subscriptions, but haven't found a storefront.

This book is very lively and perfect for nostalgia buffs and Trixie fans!


Hannah Stoneham said...

This sounds like great fun - well done you for finding such a gem!

Have you read Nicola Beauman's "A Very Great Professions" - it has quite a lot on the book buying and reading habits of women between the wars and I have a feeling that you might enjoy that.

thanks for sharing


Frisbee said...

I love Nicola Beauman's A Very Great Profession. I seem to remember reading about lending libraries there. It inroduced me to many great writers.

Buried In Print said...

Oh, this looks like *so* much fun; I'd have plucked it from the Vintage section too! I used to read a lot of Trixie Beldens too (and the Bobbseys), enjoying them more than Nancy Drews, to which more of my friends were addicted. These Whitman books bring back all kinds of fond memories, although I only have one (Alcott's Rose in Bloom) still on my shelves.

Frisbee said...

Trixie is better than Nancy Drew. I have to agree!

I saw the Whitman Rose in Bloom, but it was in poor shape. Alas!