Waxing nostalgic

A Child's Garden of Verses Little Golden Book

I don’t know about anyone else, but over the course of the last year I’ve found myself indulging in nostalgia more than usual (for me, at least). I guess it makes sense that the past looks better than…well, now. In my case, I’ve been collecting vintage postcards of Southern California, many of which depict places I remember from my childhood (I’m a native Los Angeleno). My significant other says I’m creating an autobiography through postcards.

It isn’t just postcards, though; I find myself looking back fondly on other things as well. I thought it might be fun to share some of the things I loved as a kid, in case any of you loved these things, too.

If you’re looking for books on any of the subjects below – or maybe even something from YOUR past that you loved! – please visit, drop us a line, or give us a call (818-509-2665) and we’ll tell you what we’ve got in stock (and we can hold anything for a week, so you’ve got time to come on in).

Did anyone else love the Golden Guides? I learned a lot about the natural world from their books on seashells, rocks and minerals, fossils, insects, and many more. The weirdest Golden Guide was one I certainly did not have as a kid: they actually did one called Hallucinogenic Plants, which is now very sought after (we’ve had a few here in the past, but don’t have one right now).

We usually have a few of the Golden Guides, in the $2-$3 range.

Remember the Gothic soap opera Dark Shadows? We’re not talking the rebooted Tim Burton movie from a few years back, but the original daily television show. It had vampires and werewolves (David Selby was a very handsome lycanthrope!) and charismatic witches (Lara Parker’s “Angelique”), and a creepy old house (Collinswood), and crazy flashback sequences. It was on every day at 3:30, I got out of school at 3:10, and if I rode my bike as fast as I could I’d make it home just in time to watch it with my mom.

We usually have a few of the old paperback novels and some larger books about the making and history of this strange and addictive series.

Dark Shadows was fun, but the British spy series The Avengers, which followed the exploits of John Steed and Emma Peel, was more than just fun – it was positively formative for a lot of little girls (like me!) in the 1960s and (via reruns) the ’70s. It wasn’t merely that Mrs. Peel (as played by Diana Rigg, possibly the single best pairing of actor and role in the history of television) could kick any villain’s ass, it was also that she and Steed (played with equal parts humor and steely resolve by Patrick Macnee) operated completely as equals. To say The Avengers was ahead of its time is an understatement.

The book in the photo is a nice signed Patrick MacNee autobiography for $30. We often have both novelizations and books about the making of this groundbreaking show as well.

Does every kid go through a period of loving “true” stories of ghosts and aliens and other things that go bump in the night? Well, okay…some of us never grow out of that period! As a kid, I especially loved books by John Keel (especially Strange Creatures from Time and Space with that incredible Frazetta cover!) and D. Scott Rogo, but I probably gobbled up a few Hans Holzers, too. This one’s notable for being edited by Raymond Buckland, a famed expert on the occult in his own right (it’s priced at $7.50).

Mythology! Who doesn’t love stories of mighty heroes and petulant gods, of frightful monsters and perilous quests? I had some illustrated mythology books I really loved as a child (and I still have my childhood copy of this one, not as well known as the D’Aulaires’ books but my personal favorite). However, it was Edith Hamilton’s classic collection that most of us read, either for school or pleasure. I must not be alone in loving mythology because our mythology section has been very popular over the last few months, but we still have some wonderful books, like this one ($3.50).

As a kid, I couldn’t have told you what my dad did for a living, but I could rattle off the name of probably every dinosaur known at the time! I had dinosaur books and dinosaur toys and dinosaur models, and I knew every movie ever made that had dinosaurs in it. If you’ve got a dinosaur itch to scratch, we’ve got a nice shelf of fun books on the terrible lizards, at less than terrible prices (the book in the photo is $5.95)

Did you love Little Golden Books as a kid? I’m pretty sure I read every single one that our local library had on their shelves. These adorable little books, with their distinctive gold spines, have been around since 1942; a few are highly sought now (especially certain Disney titles), but we usually have dozens of them priced for around $2 (as the one in the photo is) or less.

I have a terrible confession: I’ve never been much of a superhero fan, so I didn’t grow up consuming comic books at the rate that many of my peers did. However, there were a few comics I really liked, especially Doctor Strange. I’m not old enough to have grown up during the glory days of Doctor Strange comics by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, but I did love the ones by Steve Englehart and Frank Brunner, the best of which are collected in this volume (priced at $20). But no matter who your favorite comic characters were, chances are we’ve got a good selection of them in our graphic novels section.

Who could forget the youthful joys of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys? Apparently NO ONE, because they keep getting reincarnated as new television series. The original books are still easy to find (these things have been reprinted endlessly), and we usually have a good selection of both series priced at $2.50 per book.

Did you love playing board games as a kid (or even now)? I truthfully wasn’t a huge game player (I preferred to read, big surprise), but there were a few I really liked – did “Mouse Trap” count as a board game? I guess it did, but I never played the game – I just built the mouse trap. This fun book, by the way, is $10.00.