Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Anybody Remember Teen-Age Book-club?

Also known as TAB, this was a service of Scholastic Book Services, and it got a lot of folks into reading (I hope).  Me, I was already there!

When cleaning out the family household, I came across this artifact.  Why in the world Mom would have kept this flyer from January, 1970, I don't know -- I was thirteen years old at the time.

This was back when paperbacks were cover-priced from 60 to 95 cents, on the average, with plenty of 40-centers, too.

As you can see by the front page, the style has surrendered to an adult's idea of Pop and Psychedelic style.

The cover shows images from Dark Shadows (an old-age Barnabas Collins), Land of the Giants, and a WWII plane.  Why World War II?  Well, DUH!  Our moms and dads lived through it, at almost exactly our age (as we were in 1970).

Here is the center spread.  As you can see, every time you bought a book you got a credit, and occasionally you could "cash in" your credits to get free books.

It's a shame that I don't have the entire flyer, but I used the order form!  As you can see, I marked Life Beyond the Earth, and Barnabas Collins in a Funny Vein, as my free books.

Along with the teen angst of the times (Phyllis Whitney's The Highest Dream) and sports for the guys (Basketball Stars of 1970), there is a heartening emphasis on the classics, like Jane Austen, Mark Twain, and Robert Louis Stevenson.

Here is the back page (or what was left after coupon removal).

Pardon me for seeming curmudgeonly, but to me it feels like that, with all the possible media and learning resources available to teens nowadays, our cultures's horizons have withered quite a bit.  Sure, John and Yoko nude on Two Virgins might seem equivalent to Lady Gaga's meat suit in shock value -- but John and Yoko only occupied perhaps .05% of media attention (and for a brief few months perhaps), not a whole TV channel's worth of "deviance."

See you next Wendesday!
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© by Mark Alfred