“Just For Boys” Book Club

UntitledIn the late 80s, I belonged to a mail order book club that I’d seen in this ad from Boys Life magazine. Every now and then, I remember some of the great, fun stories I got from that outfit, such as The Ten-Speed Babysitter, The Chimpanzee Kid, and more whose names I’ve forgotten (what was the one about the basketball star who got injured and started reading Stephen King?).

I especially liked Caught in the Moving Mountains, a story about a MacGyver-type kid and his wimpy brother who go camping on their own, and the wimpy kid has to man up when his brother has a nervous breakdown when they face fugitive drug dealers. Great stuff.

Like all of these books, it’s long since out of print and only available now through Amazon.

But I found the author of that one and she’s still cranking out the guy-friendly, action-packed adventure stories. I looked her up in my library’s catalog and, ironically, I had just seen some of her newer stuff on display at the visitors’ center in Death Valley last month–she writes mysteries about the national parks now, too.

So I checked out Buried Alive, because I love Alaska. And it was great; just what I wanted.

I can’t find a web site with any details about the old Just for Boys book club, much less a list of all the titles they had. But here’s an article from 1988 about a mom who hyperventilated at the thought of something so sexist, and banned her son from even knowing this existed.

I hope that worked out well for her.


Social and Political QUOTES: January 2014


  • “Fatherless families were also at least partly responsible for a national breakdown in authority and rising levels of crime. My view was backed in 1992 when three influential social scientists with impeccable Left-wing pedigrees produced a damning report.  From their research, they concluded that children in fractured families tend to suffer more ill-health, do less well at school, are more likely to be unemployed, more prone to criminal behaviour and to repeat as adults the same cycle of unstable parenting. But instead of welcoming this analysis as identifying a real problem, the Left turned on the authors, branding them as evil Right-wingers for being ‘against single mothers’.”  Melanie Philips, “Why the Left hates families: MELANIE PHIILLIPS reveals how the selfish sneers of Guardianistas made her see how the Left actively fosters – and revels in – family breakdown…


  • “I have been told that being hard on you Millennials will turn you against conservatism, that I should offer you a positive, hopeful message that avoids the touchy problem of your manifest stupidity.  No. There’s no sugar-coating it – your votes for Democrats have ensured that you are the first generation in American history that will fail to exceed what their parents attained. Embracing liberalism was a stupid thing to do, done for the stupidest of reasons, and I will now let you subsidize my affluent lifestyle without a shred of guilt.”  Kurt Schlichter, “Maybe Pain Will Teach You Millenials Not To Vote For Your Own Serfdom

Reviewed and Recommended: Cloak, by James Gough

I have a secret.  It’s James Gough’s young adult fantasy novel Cloak.  It’s a terrific read and a solid entry in a trending genre but, thanks to Gough being a new author and Cloak being put out by a small press, you’ve never heard of it.  It’s a secret I’d love to have more people in on.

Cloak is one of those stories that’s so simple that its value may go unnoticed at first.  The novel’s main conceit—that many people among us throughout history are secretly human/animal hybrids, hiding the special abilities this gives them—is so clever that one wonders why it’s never been done before.

But of course it has been done before.  What sets Cloak apart is how much Gough delights in exploring a world in depth that has only been dimly illuminated before.  Animal-based fantasy novels often have mad doctors and super powers, but this is the only one I know of which has both.  Cloak is The Island of Dr. Moreau meets the X-Men.

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