Friday, July 23, 2021

Book cover: "Strangely Enough!"

  • Title: Strangely Enough!
  • Author: C.B. Colby (1904-1977). His full name is Carroll Burleigh Colby.
  • Cover illustrator: Harvey Parks
  • Interior illustrator: David Lockhart (See some of his illustrations in this 2010 post on The Haunted Closet)
  • Publisher: Scholastic Book Services (T 438)
  • Year: 1971 (12th printing)
  • About this edition: This is an abridged edition of Colby's book, which was first published in 1959.
  • Pages: 184
  • Format: Paperback
  • Dimensions: 4¼ inches by 6¼ inches (not quite as tall as a standard mass market paperback)
  • Price: 60 cents
  • Provenance: Purchased at the Salvation Army store in Casa Grande, Arizona, this year along with Moment in the Sun and a couple of other books.
  • Back cover blurb: "80 hair-raising tales to fascinate and intrigue anyone who's ever had a nightmare. Stories of apparitions and spirits ... incredible happenings and impossible escapes — plus a flying saucerful of science oddities. Scores of rapid-fire spine chillers — some of them you'll never forget, even if you want to."
  • First sentence: It would be impossible for me to name and thank individually all those who have contributed in one way or another to the list of stories on the following pages.
  • Last sentence: Can you?
  • Random excerpt from the middle #1: Did you ever wonder what becomes of old radio and TV programs that are sent out into space 24 hours a day? Do they just fade out and vanish, or do they keep travelling through space forever, perhaps to be picked up by creatures on other planets? [This is the urban legend of the KLEE TV signal.]
  • Random sentence from the middle #2: Perhaps it really is true that dogs can see what we cannot.
  • Rating on Goodreads: 4.00 stars (out of 5)
  • Goodreads review excerpt #1: In 2009, Shawn wrote: "This was one of the first books I owned as a child. ... I bought it from the bookmobile in, probably, 1976 or so. It was one of the most influential books on my young life. ... I just recently found a replacement copy for my long lost original."
  • Goodreads review excerpt #2: In 2012, Dachokie wrote: "As a Generation X’er, born in the late 60’s, I had the luxury of experiencing my elementary school years in the glorious, care-free, child-friendly 70’s. In lieu of video games, electronic gadgetry and cable/satellite, we had Wacky Packages, Sears Christmas Wish Books, Koogle Peanut Butter Spread and a choice of three television channels to choose from (actually, five … if you could adjust the ears for a UHF channel or two). We also had those wonderful Scholastic Book Fairs back then that offered awesome books like STRANGELY ENOUGH."
  • Goodreads review excerpt #3: In 2016, John wrote: "I read this book in grammar school in the '60s. I bought it at the school bookmobile. (I wonder if they still exist?) I loved Strangely Enough. It's made up of short two and three page stories each accompanied by a illustration. ... It was perfect for me because in the those days I was a poor reader and just beginning to get interested in books. I'm now sorry that I sold it along with all my childhood books."
  • Rating on Amazon: 4.8 stars (out of 5)
  • Amazon review excerpt: In 2016, Tom wrote: "When I opened it and read a story to my 20 year old daughter it was like a breath of sweet air from almost 50 years ago when I was a boy. She immediately went online and we ordered the Scary Stories Treasury by Alvin Schwartz from her childhood. This is a wonderful and fun heritage!"
  • 2011 comment from "DrGiggles68" on The Haunted Closet blog post: "I work at a single-stream recycling plant, and that book came down the conveyor belt today! SCORE!!!"
As you can tell from those reviews, there's much love and nostalgia for various editions of Strangely Enough!, especially among folks of my generation. I picked those excerpts in particular, because they're the ones that resounded the most with me. (Though I must admit, shamefully, that I had never heard of Koogle Peanut Butter Spread.) 

I'm fairly certain, after looking through this Scholastic paperback, that we had an edition of Strangely Enough! in the attic of our house in Clayton, New Jersey. The KLEE-TV tale is the one that I definitely remember (though that was surely included in other books, too). Here are what some of the other covers look like, courtesy of Google searches...

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