This blog is basically about how good books are nice and bad books are the pits. And then I get grumpy.

Monday, April 30, 2007

A literary love story...

It was love at first sight as I stood in the bargain book section of a cavernous discount warehouse store and gazed at the cover of Heaven to Betsy written by Maud Hart Lovelace in the early part of the twentieth century.

It was with the front cover of the paperback that I was first smitten: the cover was designed with a piece missing which revealed a drawing on the page below of a turn-of-the-century high-schooler walking amidst falling leaves and brick buildings. I bought the young adult book, if only for the artwork of the cover. It was, after all, a bargain and this was a picture I could even frame.

I began reading and realized that during my youth I had overlooked a great opportunity for a rich literary experience. The first few pages told me how I would have enjoyed the early 1900s setting; the themes of literature and of writing; the main character, Betsy Ray.

I found out that Heaven to Betsy is part of a series of Betsy books that follow her and her friends, Tacy and Tib, through childhood and early adulthood. The language of the books becomes somewhat more sophisticated the older the protagonists become.

With their positive outlooks and engaging characters and settings, they are great for future and current lovers of 'good books with bright sides.' No doubt many a Jane Austen devotee devoured a Betsy book before picking up Pride and Prejudice or Emma.

That was a fortuitous day - the day I was standing amid lamp shades, discontinued furniture and cleaning products, because on that day I found a ray of sunshine which turned to be the Betsy Ray series.

Unfortunately, fans of the books may have to be separated from their literary love, since the series is in danger of going out of print, according to the Betsy-Tacy Society website. The site will give more information about this issue and about the books in general.

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