Posts Tagged ‘horatioalgerjr’

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The Telegraph Boy

July 14, 2009

So, I have this New York Book Company edition of Horatio Alger’s The Telegraph Boy. I think I got it at The Book Barn more than a year ago. Anyway, it’s been sitting on a shelf on my family’s house upstate for kind of a while, because I compulsively buy Alger books and forget to read them. This past weekend, though, I forgot my Kindle at a 4th of July party and ended up being without it for, um…twenty hours? Which resulted in me reading a couple of actual physical books that I wouldn’t have read otherwise, one of which was The Telegraph Boy.

(I recognize that I am overly attached to my Kindle. I may actually be as attached to it as my brother once was to his Gameboy Color, which is saying a lot. I feel bad about this, because I really do love actual paper books, especially when they’re old and the pages are turning brown and they smell kind of weird.)

Anyway, the point of this post is that I rarely finish an Alger book and think to myself, that was really good. In fact, I’m not sure that’s ever happened before, and I love Alger more than the vast majority of people, I think. I don’t know what made The Telegraph Boy work so well for me, but here are some guesses: Read the rest of this entry ?

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Alger books

April 24, 2009

This is a document I created for myself when I was writing a high school research paper on Horatio Alger and had trouble keeping his books straight. I think it’s pretty clear that I wasn’t taking the paper very seriously.

It’s been a while since I read anything by Alger, but he was sort of my first love in the world of trashy 19th century fiction, and I feel a warm glow when I look at my bookshelf and realize for the hundredth time that yes, I own a  copy of Walter Sherwood’s Probation.

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New acquisitions.

June 20, 2007

The camp where my brother works has a lot of old children’s books. My brother told me about it a while back, but I didn’t see it until yesterday, when my parents and I drove him up to Maine. Most of the books are in terrible condition, but there’s some really excellent stuff. The camp director let me pick out some to take, and I am going to replace them with newer books.

I got an Alger I didn’t have — Frank Hunter’s Peril — Three Dana Girls mysteries (that’s a Stratemeyer series that began in the mid thirties), and Slippy McGee, by Marie Conway Oemler. I was so excited when I saw the latter that I think I squeaked.

I have a copy of Slippy McGee! I can’t wait to reread it.

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Nelson the Newsboy: Ads

June 18, 2007

Nelson the Newsboy has a pretty nice selection of ads in the back. I transcribed a bunch of them because…well, I don’t know why. But I did.

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Nelson the Newsboy

June 18, 2007


This week I finally got a chance to open a box of books that one of my uncles sent me during the winter. It included five Horatio Alger books, four of which I already had. That’s pretty weird, because I only had about twelve Algers, and he wrote about a hundred.

The one that I didn’t already have is Nelson the Newsboy. I don’t know how much of it Alger wrote, though. It’s one of several books left unfinished at Alger’s death and completed by Edward Stratemeyer under the name Arthur M. Winfield, which he also used for the Rover Boys series.
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Alger-related ramblings

May 23, 2007

I major in history at school, and I really like it. I don’t think I’d want to be an English major, and yet when I find myself trying to come up with topics for my thesis, all I can think about are books.

That’s why I spent my shower this morning thinking about an imaginary paper that I would barely need to do any additional research for about money and capitalism in Horatio Alger.

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Adrift in New York, or Tom and Florence Braving the World

March 11, 2007

Ah, Horatio Alger, Jr. If I have an area of expertise, he’s it. A few of his books were the beginning of what is now a pretty large collection of old children’s novels, and I bought my tenth Alger yesterday. It’s called Adrift in New York, and it’s exactly as ridiculous as I’ve come to expect Alger’s books to be.

You’ve probably heard of Alger in connection with the “Alger Myth”: the idea that anyone can make money and move up the social scale as long as they’re willing to work hard. I don’t like the Alger Myth. Or, at least, I know that it doesn’t really hold true in his books. My friend Sam expresses it much better in his description of Mark the Matchboy: through hard work and good luck, you can become the grandson of a rich man.

Adrift in New York
is something like that.

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