CIDX Review: Radio Daze

"Aaron Zevy is a Canadian Comedy writer who happened to go down the path of collecting (and to some degree obsessing) over good old fashioned table radios and pocket portables.

Since I have quite a few five tube classics in my collection, this book caught my eye when it showed up as an ad on my Facebook feed.

I reached out to Aaron and he was happy to get a copy of his book to me for a nice Beach Read.

When was the last time you read a book related to the radio hobby that was laugh out loud funny? For those of us initiated into the deeper depths of the radio world, you will even get more enjoyment from the reading than maybe the folks the book was originally intended for.

Zevy's book is a series of personal anecdotes, each of which surrounds the acquisition of one radio or another. The radio for each story includes a picture that, as a collector myself, often leaves me drooling. For example, his somewhat well used 1960 Zenith Royal 50 harkens back to my own Silvertone 6 Transistor my Grandfather gave me for my 6th Birthday. (I still have it)

Those of us in the hobby are mostly well aware that Zenith made many radios for the general public in addition to the well regarded Transoceanic series that shortwave collectors lust after. But how many of you folks are hip to the fact that Hallicrafters was also a big name in household radios as well? Did you know the Watch Company Bulova sold radios too? So did Firestone Examples of these and many others grace the pages to Aaron's book.

One of the things Levy brings to the table (table radios, get it?) is his approach to the esthetics and appearance of the radios he collects. Radios in the classic era of AM were often made in different color plastics. He points out that some of these plastics seemed to be more durable or popular than others, leading to certain colors being more rare. His collection includes two 1957 Motorola 57H units; one in Azure Blue and one in Sea Green. Then there was his unsuccessful quest for a Wisteria Lavender unit. All evoke an era when life seemed to be much more colorful.

I envy more than a few radios in Zevy's collection. Particularly the 1940 Bang and Olufsen 4 "Beolit", a fully restored 1945 Fada Bullet and a mint condition Soviet Union Zvezda Red Star.

There are many more fine radios with equally fine stories surrounding them along with a further collection of pictures of radios that need to have their stories told as well ("Radio Daze Redux" maybe?)

As you read through the stories evoked by these radios, you discover that Aaron is one of our tribe, whether he knows it or not. He makes references to sources you may be familiar with such as Dr. Peter Sheriden's books on Art Deco and Bakelite radios.

In with the stories of the various radios, are also stories about dealing with sellers, both on line and face to face, that are, in themselves both instructive and often hilarious. Like said, this is a fun book.

Even after reading, I still take this book off the shelf and just look at the pictures to remember a simpler time, when one of these radios probably sat on top of the family Fridge and brought joy into the household.

So, take a break from the Tech Texts, slather on the Sun Screen, and enjoy a little radio fun. Maybe then go to eBay and have a look. Fair warning. Radio Collecting is catching.

By the way, Aaron has quite a number of other interesting books on other subjects including a number of Children's Books. If you like his style you may want to give them a look as well.

SHAMELESS PLUG DEPARTMENT: If you find this review helpful, allowing you to consider or actually buying Aaron Zevy's book, would you do me the favor of letting the author know? When you do this, it makes it easier for me to reach out to other authors and then pass on other books and publications your way. In this case, you can let Aaron know at: Tell him Skip Arey sent you but more importantly, let him know you learned of his work in the pages of CIDX.

As they say... Thanks in advance."