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review 2019-03-15 15:58
Collins Concise English Dictionary, William T. McCloed (ed.)
Collins Concise English Dictionary - Wil... Collins Concise English Dictionary - William T. McLeod

YES! I've finally found my trusty dictionary that has served me well since 1985 when I was given it, along with a thesaurus, for Christmas. It's worn, torn and tatty but still holding together and I've missed it these last several years while it's been hidden in a box in a self-storage container. I've already used it: "Pertinacious" is now in my vocabulary.

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review 2019-02-17 11:20
Collins Spurrell Welsh Dictionary
Collins Spurrell Welsh Dictionary - Will... Collins Spurrell Welsh Dictionary - William Spurrell

This is where I learned such things as that there are no "k"s in written Welsh because there wouldn't have been enough of them in a typical set of "moveable type" used for English and what dipthongs and tripthongs are.

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review 2019-02-01 22:36
Barbie Doll Fashion: Vol. 2, 1968-1974 by Sarah Sink Eames
Barbie Doll Fashion: Vol. 2, 1968-1974 (Barbie Doll Fashion) - Sarah Sink Eames

This is second in the three volume overview of Barbie fashions. The photographs are clear, with many variations and examples with original packaging shown. Eames also makes sure to include a section at the end on the various versions of the basic outfits for every doll released in these years.


For the most part Eames presents everything chronologically and grouped together by character, making note if an outfit is repeated from year to year. This volume goes beyond Hilary Shilkitus James' books by two years, going up to the point where Mattel stopped tagging the clothing.



A 1962-1965 Painted Hair Ken in "Goin' Hunting" (1965) looking at "The Casual Scene" (1971). He's pretty stoked he'll never have to wear it.



A 1969 New Good Looking Ken in his original shirt and odd pieces. 1969 Julia in her original nurse's uniform.


It is a broad range, covering the late 60s, the talking dolls, and what many (including myself) believe to be the last years of real ingenuity and quality in the doll and its accessories.



A 1965 bend-leg Skipper in 'Town Togs' (1965) (missing green trench-coat and cabbie hat to match leggings), 1969 Julia doll in 'Leisure Leopard' (1969) hostess pajamas, and 1970 Francie with Growin' Pretty Hair in the real fur trimmed coat from "Furry Go Round" (1967). As I've mentioned, I just don't have enough of the clothes complete or the dolls themselves from these years to a do a real overview.


This is the only one of the three volumes I've read, but all three follow the same format. In total the series covers every outfit and doll released from 1959 to 1979. Volume III is scarce and a buyer will have a hard time finding it without paying out the nose.

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review 2019-01-30 15:30
The Wheel of Time Companion by Robert Jordan, Harriet McDougal, Maria Simons & Alan Romanczuk
The Wheel of Time Companion - Maria Simons,Alan Romanczuk,Harriet McDougal,Robert Jordan

After Robert Jordan's untimely death in 2007 there was unfinished business in the Wheel of Time universe. Brandon Sanderson was tapped to finish the series that year, but there was a need for a book to act as a comprehensive index for the series. Harriet McDougal, Robert Jordan's widow, promised an encyclopedia-like book to be released shortly after 'A Memory of Light'. It was hinted that the book would contain passages from Jordan's own notes. I thought that might mean it would shed light on aspects of the books that had never seen print.


As an index, I was pleased with this book. There were a few odd choices in the organization of the book (as in which characters were listed by first name and which were listed by surnames), but in the end you can find every single named character in the book and there is detailed strength in the One Power descriptions for many of the Aes Sedai and Asha'man. That is awesome.


Other highlights include an Old Tongue glossary and alphabet and descriptions of nations. This was cool. I suppose I should include the art, because it wasn't bad  - it was just that (obviously) they didn't match what was in my head. The sole exception was a picture of Mat and Queen Tylin, which...was fan service? It was repulsive. 


However, what I was really looking for were hints to the unwritten sequels and prequels that Jordan may have been toying around with, substantial information about characters that never made it into the final books, and behind-the-scenes snippets about what sources Jordan used to help him create this engrossing world. There was none of that. The entries for 'Bela' and 'Chair of Remorse' were the only ones that expanded my knowledge by a significant degree other than the power levels and the Old Tongue entries mentioned above. I mean - not even some explanation on 'The Book of Translation'? Even 'The Big Book of Bad Art' had some unique substance in the form of 'The Strike at Shayol Ghul'. It was likely too much to ask, if other substantive notes exist Jordan's estate is well within their rights to hold on to them for future use (how magnanimous of me).


This is a great volume to have for any fan of 'The Wheel of Time', but hardly necessary. 

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review 2019-01-29 22:48
Barbie Doll and Her Mod, Mod, Mod, Mod World of Fashion by Joe Blitman
Barbie Doll & Her Mod, Mod, Mod, Mod World of Fashion - Joe Blitman

I know, another one! There should be only one more of these, though. Until we get more. Haha.


1967 was a year of big changes for the toy. Ken was being discontinued and wouldn't reappear until 1969 with a bigger body and a new head mold. Her first and best friend Midge vanished as well, replaced by Christie - the first black doll the same size as Barbie (there had previously been a black Francie doll) - and the British Stacey. Midge's head mold would be used again as Barbie's new best friend PJ in 1969.



The difference is startling. The clothes were brighter, shorter and more and more of the dolls would come with "real" eyelashes. Above left is a 1963 Midge in "Lunch Date" (1964), right is a Talking PJ in her original mini-dress. Her pigtails are supposed to have multi-colored "love beads", which we have, but haven't figured out how to get them back on her as the elastic is gone!


Barbie herself had a new face mold debut this year as Twist and Turn Barbie, but we oddly haven't found one of those yet. So here is a 1965 American Girl (Bendable Leg) Barbie in "Fraternity Dance" (1965) contemplating her future wardrobe, in this case "Pajama Pow!" (1967) it also has chartreuse flats and insane earrings.





I don't have a Stacey, but we did find a matched Talking Christie and Talking Brad (both 1969) in their boxes in a shop. I know why I shouldn't take them out of their boxes, even if the boxes are in poor shape, but the struggle is real:


Brad and Christie


They, like the Talking PJ, are mute. The mechanism was rubber-band based and very few are still working. They are missing the pull strings which may explain why they were never taken out of the box. Talking dolls can be repaired but you have to cut open the torso so there really isn't any value to add.


Anyway, the mod years are a lot of fun because of the Austin Powers aesthetic. I'm talking clear raincoats and bucket hats, hostess pajamas, neon negligees and crazy go-go boots all in eye-bleeding color combinations and patterns. I'd like to have had more examples to photograph, but the mod clothing and dolls are some of the most desired still by collectors. Additionally, since some of the really cool ones were too weird to be popular and had crazy fragile accessories they are scarce. Still, it wouldn't be fun to collect if we could just find them all in the first places we looked.


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