Saturday, December 25, 2010

Paperback 377: The Corpse Came Calling / Brett Halliday (Dell D401)

Paperback 377: Dell D401 (1st New Dell, 1961)

Title: The Corpse Came Calling
Author: Brett Halliday
Cover artist: Robert McGinnis

Yours for: $9


Best things about this cover:
  • I used to eat popsicles that color—the long kind they'd sell out of ice cream trucks. It's like pink and tangerine had a fight and nobody won.
  • That right boob is levitating, I think.
  • I love her torpid, world-weary look: "Ugh, are we really out of gin again? Well, if anyone wants, me, I'll be on the davenport with my two poodles."


Best things about this back cover:

  • One of the great, simple back cover designs of all time. Great visual use of the tag line. Wish the text were off to the side to let the glass have the room it deserves.

Page 123~

"She had to shoot him. I don't doubt that at all. And you'd naturally want to keep her out of the picture. That's all right, too. But you know me. If that's the way it was, why not say so? I can pull the zipper on my mouth any old time."



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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Paperback 376: Dracutwig / Mallory T. Knight (Award Books A488S)

Paperback 376: Award A488S (PBO, 1969)

Title: Dracutwig
Author: Mallory T. Knight
Cover artist: photo???


Best things about this cover:
  • I don't know. I might have gone with "Twigula."
  • Mallory T. Knight! I really hope King Arthur is somehow also involved in this story (even though it's already pretty crowded in there)
  • Cover says "luscious little sexpot," photo ... doesn't.

Best things about this back cover:
  • That is possibly the greatest (in the sense of "most absurd") opening back cover sentence ever.
  • "Mod scene"—this book could only have come into being during something like a 3-hour period in the late '60s. Great cultural snapshot. Never cared for the Twiggy look, but I'd like to thank Twiggy nonetheless for spawning whatever this is.

Page 123~

Karl's superb artistry in the field of theatrical makeup enabled him to assume any number of appearances, and what with his specialized talents, in one guise or another he managed to keep himself in constant demand by the rich kookie cultists of the area.

Mmm, kookie cultists. That's me. I'm baking at least two kinds of kookies this afternoon.


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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Paperback 375: Death of a Doxy / Rex Stout (Bantam F3476)

Paperback 375: Bantam F3476 (2nd ptg, 1967)

Title: Death of a Doxy
Author: Rex Stout
Cover artist: [photo cover]

Yours for: $8


Best things about this cover:

  • DOXY is one of the great words of the English language:
n. Slang, pl., -ies.
  1. A female lover; a mistress.
  2. A sexually promiscuous woman.

[Perhaps from obsolete Dutch docke, doll.]

  • Just 'cause they're in a dish doesn't mean you're supposed to *eat* the cigarette butts, dearie. What did you think was going to happen?
  • What is she doing with her right hand and are we sure she's really dead? Maybe she just gets turned on by the smell of ashtrays.
  • I keep meaning to read a Rex Stout novel. And I keep not doing it. It might become my New Year's resolution. One of them.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Blah blah blah text! Oooh, "honey-haired corpse," that's nice.
  • I almost love the ads for other books on the backs of pbs like this one. Who is Edwin O'Connor and what are these "bestsellers" I'm supposed to have heard of. Coincidence: Carroll O'Connor was in "All in the Family." Also, another coincidence: as I was typing "O'Connor," singer Jennifer O'Connor came on my iTunes shuffle (and I'm shuffling 7700 songs ... 35 of which are by artists with last name O'Connor).

Page 123~ (book is so short that p. 123 = "About the Author"—so, Page 23)

She was tops at ignoring questions.

Wow, I really love that sentence.


P.S. apologies for the slow pace of new posts. End-of-semester blecch. Won't last.

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Paperback 374: The Making of Star Trek / Stephen E. Whitfield & Gene Roddenberry (Ballantine 73004)

Paperback 374: Ballantine Books 73004 (PBO, 1968)

Title: The Making of Star Trek
Authors: Stephen E. Whitfield & Gene Roddenberry
Cover artist: photos

Yours for: [SOLD! 12-5-10]


Best things about this cover:

  • If I were a Star Trek fan, I would be geeking out so hard over this very cool paperback original
  • That Enterprise is absurdly model-kit-looking in this photo. Maybe that's the point? "How it works!—we make cheap-ass models and use trick photography, suckers."
  • Further, "How it works"? I like how it implies that the tech is real.
  • Those are two handsome spacemen.


Best things about this back cover:

  • A "biography" of a TV show! Printed while said show was still on the air. Pretty visionary / ballsy.
  • Seriously, this back cover isn't lying. This book is Thick and chock full of photos, internal memos, a miniature episode guide, and a chapter entitled "Whither Star Trek?"! Oh, and whoever owned this book originally was a megageek, as there are tiny clipped-out TV Guide epsiode summaries taped and/or paperclipped into the episode guide section. Also, this section is annotated in some kind of code.

Page 123~

When the first screening was over, the general reaction from the people in the room was, "This is the most fantastic thing we've ever seen."


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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Paperback 373: Bewitched / Al Hine (Dell 0551)

Paperback 373: Dell 0551 (PBO, 1965)

Title: Bewitched
Author: Al Hine
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: [SOLD 11-28-10]


Best things about this cover:
  • Big crush on Elizabeth Montgomery. Big big crush. Love this show, esp. Agnes Moorehead as Endora.
  • Sexy witch. Wish the pic were bigger. Stupid text.
  • "Sexy-hexy" is an adjectival form that I really would like to see more of.
  • I want to tell the cover artist "she's not that kind of witch," but she's kind of hot as "that kind of witch," so I'm torn.
  • AL HINE anagrams to INHALE.


Best things about this back cover:
  • I love how the opening line suggests that they were having out-of-this-world sex.
  • "In book form," HA ha.
  • "Over-hexed"—OK, you've maxed out the pun card.
  • This book sounds much saucier than the TV show.
  • Is the blurb for the TV show or the adaptation? Moreover, wtf is the "Philadelphia Bulletin?" Is that like the "Springfield Shopper?"

Page 123~

"Poor man wants a cigarette," Bertha said. "Give him one, darling."
Samantha chuckled and fixed her nose: "Addis Ababa Enamels, Walk a Mile and Meet Some Camels," she said.


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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Paperback 372: Male Virgin / Jack Woodford & John B. Thompson (Uni Books 67)

Paperback 372: Uni Books 67 (1st ptg, 1953)

Title: Male Virgin
Author: Jack Woodford & John B. Thompson
Cover artist: Bernard Safran

Yours for: $14


Best things about this cover:
  • "Frank!"
  • Who the hell is Norman Anthony and does he think Dr. Kinsey was a softcore novelist?
  • I'd like this cover a hell of a lot better without that white strip across the bottom.
  • Nothing but nothing about this cover says "Male Virgin." It doesn't say "Male." and it sure doesn't say "Virgin."
  • Bernard Safran is an accomplished cover artist. Somehow surprised to see his work on a book from a publisher as marginal as this one.


Best things about this back cover:
  • But... "socks" is already plural for "socks."
  • Shouldn't the ellipsis be on the *other* side of "Until"?
  • "With the accent on the sap"—that's actually pretty sweet.
  • "MALE VIRGIN is laid in New Orleans..." — well, thanks for giving away the ending.

Page 123~

"In the conventional marriage, there is a lot of mumbo-jumbo ritual which does not in itself constitute a glue binding the principals together. Instead, it provides them both with ammunition which on innumerable occasions has been hurled back and forth in bitterness and recrimination."

This page is actually painfully sincere garbage about what marriage really ought to be about. It's practically the last page of the book. Also, this book has many passages which have been painstakingly underlined, as if someone was actually *studying* it for a test, or wisdom, or something equally improbable / unfathomable.


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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Paperback 371: The Love Clinic / Gil Hara (Softcover Library S95277)

Paperback 371: Softcover Library S95277 (PBO, 1966)

Title: The Love Clinic
Author: Gil Hara
Cover artist: photo cover

Yours for: $8


Best things about this cover:

  • Her eyeshadow. Dang.
  • Why can't I get Neil Sedaka's "Having My Baby" out of my head!?!?
  • "You know ... *those* girls. What's up with them?"
  • One of scads of Kinsey-inspired softcore paperback offerings that populated racks in the '50s and '60s, although this one is more about labs studying the physiology of sex than surveys studying the sexual habits of a population. Whatever, the "how can it be science when it turns me on?" issue still applies.


Best things about this back cover:

  • Ugh. Text.
  • This book goes from mere description ("...girls are observed during climax") to judgmental sensationalism (" bare perverse lusts") without even blinking.
  • And, once again, we lead with rape. Yeesh.
  • "These volunteers must really be perverted, right? Right? Can you believe the shamelessness of these perverts? You better buy this book and furtively peep into their lives while you masturbate ... because that is *not* perverted. Not at all."
  • I love how this book barely ever indicates that it's fiction (I think "novel" is the only word, front or back, that signals fiction). Nothing on the front cover suggests "fiction." Even the photo cover suggests a documentary approach.

Page 123~

She used to think it worthwhile to serve such a brilliant man. But now he was methodically tearing the clothes off her.


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Monday, November 15, 2010

Paperback 370: The Law and the Marriage Bed / Gary Gordon (Monarch 472)

Paperback 370: Monarch 472 (PBO, 1965)

Title: The Law and the Marriage Bed
Author: Gary Gordon
Cover artist: photo

Yours for: $12


Best things about this cover:
  • "A probing analysis!" — "Probing ... not with *that* thing, you're not! I mean, a little legal fetish is one thing—I'll wear the black robe and shout "All rise"—but the gavel is right out!"
  • Her hair is ridiculous.
  • His is not much better.
  • "Case histories" = (very) softcore porn.
  • It takes a special kind of literalist to come up with the "gavel + bouquet on pillow" motif for this book.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Whoa, whoa. You think you could ease me into the rape talk!? Who leads with that question!? Yeesh.
  • Hey look, it's the same ugly photo as on the cover. The production budget for this book must have been about $12.

Page 123~

The case of Rex v. Rex (39 Ohio App. 295, 177 N.E. 527) sets forth the principle that for coitus between separated husband and wife to be condonation [of previous adultery], it must be voluntary and not induced by fear, intimidation or secured by trickery.

I would read the novelization of this ruling: "Rex v. Rex" — c'mon, that's a great title.


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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Paperback 369: Just For Kicks / Donna Powell (Satan Press 111)

Paperback 369: Satan Press 111 (PBO, 1965)

Title: Just For Kicks
Author: Donna Powell
Cover artist: [Gene Bilbrew]

Yours for: $50


Best things about this cover:
  • His eyes! His teeth! His lopsided ribcage!! His ankle!!! Dear lord make it stop!
  • Those women are fantastically grotesque. A disquieting combo of hot & weird & malproportioned
  • I can't tell if they are flirting with him or about to kill him. Veronica seems only seconds from bringing that drink smashing down on the mummy's head...


Best things about this back cover:

  • A drug-fueled, sex-soaked road trip to Mexico sounds fun. The "indignities and perversions they are subjected to" while "prisoners" ... that could go either way.
  • "Ironic"—HA ha. Yes, when I looked at the front cover, my first thought was, "O. Henry!"
  • The condition of this book is &*^%ing unreal.
Page 123~ (pleasebeawesomepleasebeawesomepleasebeawesome)

"This place gives me the willies," she glanced toward the stage where the Shetland was still lunging away at the diminutive red-head. And she still looked bored.

Uh ... oh. Oh my. That's ... something. Yet somehow the comma splice in first sentence is bothering me at least as much as the horse-on-girl action.


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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Paperback 368: Voodoo Planet & Plague Ship / Andrew North (Ace D-345)

Paperback 367: Ace Double D-345 (PBO & 1st ptg, 1959)

Title: Voodoo Planet / Plague Ship
Author: Andrew North / Andrew North
Cover artist: Ed Emshwiller / Uncredited [Ed Valigursky]

Yours for: $13


Best things about this cover:
  • In the future, cell phone earpieces will be silly, cumbersome contraptions that double as coffee makers.
  • "Golly, these black vikings are a lot less primitive than I thought!"
  • Love the squiggle-edged script on the title. You can really feel the voodoo.


Best things about this other cover:

  • "The Galaxy" ordered their destruction!? Wait ... "their?" Him and the bird?!?!
  • Bird: "Run, Steve, Run! They'll never understand our love!"
  • That is the longest, slimmest, most slowly tapering rocket I've ever seen.

Page 123~

And yet the hunting Hoobat was sure that the invading pests were within.

This book clearly had merchandising potential. I want a hunting Hoobat action figure to put between Batwoman and Samurai Jack on my bookshelf.


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Friday, November 5, 2010

Paperback 367: High School Confidential / Morton Cooper (Avon T-257)

Paperback 367: Avon T-257 (PBO, 1958)

Title: High School Confidential
Author: Morton Cooper
Cover artist: My hero (Uncredited!!!)

Yours for: $30


Best things about this cover:
  • I wish I had this cover image in poster-sized form; I would frame it and hang it next to my movie poster of "The Beat Generation" (1959) or "The Big Operator" (1959) — I went through a Mamie Van Doren phase, what can I say?
  • Why aren't books this pretty any more? Beautifully-sketched urban scene, awesomely attitudinal teen-agers, and confident, bold, eye-popping use of color. No idea what's going on with the title font, but I love it.
  • Juvenile delinquency = my favorite '50s paranoia.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Mamie!
  • I can't believe I haven't seen this movie. From the description, I'd say there's nothing not to like about this movie. I mean, "hot-rod hipsters and jive-talking cool cats!?" What more do you want?
  • Hmmm. I knew there was a John Barrymore. And I know Drew Barrymore. I did not, however, know there was a John Drew Barrymore. I wonder how the family reacted to the exciting news that John Drew would be getting third billing behind the likes of Russ Tamblyn and Jan Sterling.

Page 123~

She blinked at him. "Yup," she nodded agreeably. "Yup and double yup. Gonna do my duty," she promised, saluting patriotically only a moment before she caved in and fell to the nearest chair, apparently dead to the world.
"Yup and double yup." There's some jive-talking I insist on bringing back.


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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Paperback 366: Bachelor Girl / Dorine B. Clark (Intimate Novels 54)

Paperback 366: Intimate Novels 54 (PBO, 1954)

Title: Bachelor Girl
Author: Dorine B. Clark
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $40


Best things about this cover:
  • One of my favorite books. It has virtually everything I love: it's a rare imprint, in very good shape, it's about lesbians, it's "frank" ("brutally frank" acc. to back cover), it uses Kinsey as a tease (also back cover), it's got a major misspelling ("ecstacy?!") ... Home Run.
  • Jeanne thinks wistfully of the time when she used to have a real telephone to talk on ...
  • "Are these close mannish enough for you, honey? Honey? Are you dreaming about telephones again?!"
  • Love the hint of a suggestion of a bed in the background. In case you can't put 2 and 2 together from the rest of the cover ... they're doing it.
  • That's one aggressively foregrounded ashtray.
  • Nice cleavage.


Best things about this back cover:
  • The zigzag lines tell you these people are all mixed up, sexually—other things that tell you this are "twisted," "twisted," "torn," "perplexing problems," "mixed up mentally and physically," "strange pastures" ("Mooooo!"), and, of course, last but not least, "brutally frank" (tee hee!).
  • This was published two years after the Kinsey Report on Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1952). I used this book in my talk at Hofstra last week as an example of a. the ways gayness was pathologized in paperbacks, and b. the way that Kinsey was used to legitimize public interest in gay-themed fiction. "It's science!"
"Ouch, that frankness hurt. Stop brutalizing me with your frankness!"
Page 123~
She had been blind for so long. But now she knew. Now she looked into her heart and felt utterly sure of her love for Jimmy. She listened to the hammering of her heart; she had hoped it would beat again to the rhythm of love.
I really, really wish I could tell you "Jimmy" was a woman. Sadly, this book ends as most lesbian fiction ended in the '50s (and earlier)—with the woman realizing ultimate happiness as a straight woman (that, or with the woman dying).

Sorry for the gap in publication. I should be back on schedule for the foreseeable future now.

[Me, speaking at Hofstra, 10/22/10]


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Monday, October 25, 2010

Paperback 365: Drawn to Evil / Harry Whittington & The Scarlet Spade / Eaton K. Goldthwaite (Ace D-5)

Paperback 365: Ace Double D-5 (PBO / 1st ptg)

Title: Drawn to Evil / The Scarlet Spade
Author: Harry Whittington / Eaton K. Goldthwaite
Cover artist: Norman Saunders / Norman Saunders??? (Uncredited)

Yours for: $65


Best things about this cover:
  • "Hey, tiger, whaddya think of this cami-" "Aw, shut yer yap, you loony dame!"
  • Hazel was afraid to tell Bill that his Vulcan salute still needed a lot of practice.
  • "Hey, babe, I just found a buyer for this stolen VHS tape I've got in my coat pocket! Gimme a high five! ... Up top? ... Aw, c'mon, don't leave me hangin', babe!"
  • "I will karate chop your ass, so help me God, woman!"
  • Norman Saunders was a cover painter in the great days of pulp fiction. His flair for the sensational and overdramatic is strongly in evidence here.


Best things about this back cover:
  • In my head, she is making the worst, whiniest, most horrible noise in her throat.
  • "Can someone please inflate the blow-up doll the rest of the way! Tom's gonna be here any second ..."
  • Are those gigantic ice cubes in the background?
  • "Nope, the spade's still black, sweetheart. Try again."
Page 123 (from The Scarlet Spade)~
Denver Calhoun's eyes smoldered in his broad, white face as he watched the full progress of O'Moriarty's exit.

So, some fat-faced white guy named Denver has the hots for some super-Irish guy. So what's new?


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Friday, October 22, 2010

Normal services will resume on Wednesday

Sorry for the lack of new paperbacks this week. I'm on Long Island, at Hofstra, where I just gave a talk about my beloved paperbacks, so I figure that's a pretty good excuse for the delay.

You can use this image to tide you over:


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Paperback 364: Cycle Fury / Reggie Car (Chevron 124)

Paperback 364: Chevron 124 (PBO, 1967)

Title: Cycle Fury
Author: Reggie Car
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $20


Best things about this cover:
  • They don't look very "frenzied." They look pretty laid back. I mean, that one dude us calmly enjoying a smoke. Also, it appears he bought his kelly green Nazi t-shirt at Old Navy. Old German Navy.
  • Take away the Nazi paraphernalia and the bike and put him next to Annie Lennox and the guy in the foreground really looks like Dave Stewart from Eurythmics.
  • That girl's outfit is kind of cute.
  • Is that a *black* Nazi biker in the background??? This must be from some future time when the Nazis get big into the idea of diversity.


Best things about this back cover:

  • Given the front cover, I would not have expected whatever kind of abstract painting is going on up top there on the back cover. The subtle interplays of blue and gray do not exactly scream "lust-crazed motorcycle gang!"
  • There's really no reason for type this tiny.
  • "Zipper Hardy" — is there a pun in there that I'm missing? Also, I think his description is missing a dash between "mob" and "and"...
  • "Ham!" That's the name of the "giant Negro!?" Oh, that's not racist at all.
  • If you merged "Cycle Fury" and the musical "Cats" into yet another musical, "Cycle Cats," I would be first in line to see it.
  • This back cover has the word "pedagogical" on it!!!!! I thought only academics who think the word "teaching" is too declassé used variations on the word "pedagogy." Now it appears those academics and trashy novels about Nazi bikers have something in common. Did Not see that coming.

Page 123~

Then she remembered the aphrodisiacally-centered cigarette she had shared with him.

I literally cannot pronounce "aphrodisiacally."


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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Paperback 363: Fantasy & Science Fiction (Oct. 1957)

Paperback 363: The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, October, 1957

Includes stories by: Fritz Leiber, Richard Matheson, Lewis Carroll, L. Sprague de Camp, Jane Roberts, Anthony Boucher, Poul Anderson, H.P. Lovecraft, etc.

Cover artist: Ed Emshwiller

Yours for: $20


Best things about this cover:
  • ... featuring the controversial story, "Anorexic Chicken Whores of The Mogron Valley!"
  • Monster designs on this are Fabulous. Emshwiller is a cover art hero.
  • Trying to understand, from an evolutionary standpoint, why the bird (background) should require an oxygen helmet while everyone else apparently easily breathes the miasma of peach atmosphere. Also wondering why giant deformed Gumby monster should have to brush his teeth.


Best things about this back cover:
  • People were apparently Really excited about satellites in the late '50s.
  • We're not really comfortable using slang, so ... we'll just put "top-drawer" in quotations, so you won't think you're actually supposed to store the books in the top drawer of your dresser.
  • "Handsome, permanent bindings," to prevent annoying fall-apart.

Page 123~ (from "Full Pack (Hokas Wild)" by Poul Anderson & Gordon R. Dickson)

He was not a bad felino-centauroid at heart.

Can't believe that line is buried at the back of a F&SF Magazine. Should be the first line of some epic space opera.


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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Paperback 362: Bury Me Deep / Harold Q. Masur (Pocket Books 558)

Paperback 362: Pocket Books 558 (1st ptg, 1948)

Title: Bury Me Deep
Author: Harold Q. Masur
Cover artist: William Wirts

Yours for: $20


Best things about this cover:
  • A quintessential keyhole cover (yes, it's a thing) — and an early one. Turns reader into an implied voyeur / peeping tom.
  • 1948 (or thereabouts) seems to be a turning point in cover art — covers start to become more sensational, more sexual, more lurid ... If you click on "1947" or earlier in the tags for this site (sidebar), you'll see what I mean. Not sure why 1948 should be that year [the year of the first Kinsey Report!] ... but by the '50s, lurid and sensational will be the norm.
  • I wish I could hear her undoubtedly learned disquisition on the merits of half-naked whisky-drinking.
  • That underwear looks painted on, like she was drawn naked but then repurposed for this cover.
  • Something about her face is off-kilter and strange, and her thumbless whisky-claw is mega-disturbing.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Even the tagline is sensational. Sweet.
  • "The lawyer in him" has the better cliché—hey, "inner man," who looks at a sexy woman in her underwear and thinks "gift horse!?"
  • "Newest detective sensation," HA ha. How did that turn out, Scott Jordan?

Page 123~

Another shot exploded. I saw a spurt of flame from the muzzle spit luridly into the darkness beside a tree not fifty yards away. I arched my back, screamed like a frightened horse, threw out my arms and tumbled drunkenly to the ground.

Mmm, manly.


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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Paperback 361: The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter / Carson McCullers (Penguin 596)

Paperback 361: Penguin 596 (1st ptg, 1946)

Title: The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
Author: Carson McCullers
Cover artist: jonas

Yours for: $12


Best things about this cover:
  • This looks like scraps from the picture file for a Monty Python animation sketch
  • A rebus! I love these. OK, I'm going to say ... "Your heart cannot soar if your hands are chained ... and a kid sells fruit." Powerful stuff.
  • Good example of the more abstract cover style of the '40s (jonas is legendary, and prolific)


Best things about this back cover:
  • It's just a bio, so ... not much to say.
  • Interesting how much focus is on her apparently surprising ability to treat "Negro" characters as if they were (news flash!) human beings. I guess that's all just in the Wright quote, but it stands out.
  • This is my third "Heart Is a Lonely Hunter" cover. See also here and here.

Page 123~

Portia took up the Bible from the table in the center of the room. "What part you want to hear now, Grandpapa?"

"It all the book of the Holy Lord. Just any place your eye fall on will do."


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Friday, October 8, 2010

Paperback 360: The Big Bust / Ed Lacy (Pyramid X-2037)

Paperback 360: Pyramid X-2037 (PBO, 1969)

Title: The Big Bust
Author: Ed Lacy
Cover artist: F. Pfeifer

Yours for: SOLD! (10/8/10)


Best things about this cover:
  • [Insert joke about connection between title and woman's rack here]
  • For a woman who's tied up, gagged, and carrying a tiny drowning man in her stomach, she's awfully concerned about those guys behind her. Lady, you've got your own problems.
  • I have reluctantly tagged this post with "Redhead" label, though honestly I don't know what you call that color.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Geek observation #227: "Supercharged" is just "surcharged" with "P.E." inside it. . .
  • So the woman is like good pancakes. Well, who wouldn't want to tail that?
  • If the boardwalk is "bikini-filled," does that mean the ocean is filled with naked women (who, presumably, all left their bikinis on the boardwalk)? I hope so.
  • One of these paragraphs should immediately be countered with "That's what she said!"

Page 123~

Walter awoke me at one-fifteen and watching for snakes, back of a crumpling wall, I changed into the woolen underwear and rubber suit, Rhoda's $60,000 bra doubling as a jock strap.



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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Paperback 359: The Drowner / John D. MacDonald (Gold Medal k1302)

Paperback 359: Gold Medal k1302 (PBO, 1963)

Title: The Drowner
Author: John D. MacDonald
Cover artist: Stanley Zuckerberg

Yours for: $25


Best things about this cover:
  • Lesson: brackish, green water—not for swimming.
  • Fantastically creepy cover. That dude pulling her down must have one powerful set of lungs. or SCUBA equipment.
  • Love the bubbles—nice touch to make sure they're coming from him (I assume it's a "him") as well as her. Also love the way the words cascade down the side of her struggling body. Accentuates the scary verticality of the whole cover.


Best things about this back cover:

  • This I like less.
  • Without the struggling lady to complement them, the vertically arranged words here just look stupid and purposeless.

Page 123~

If the fork hesitated on its way to the healthy mouth, it was a faltering so minor he was unable to detect it. But she looked considerably less friendly.

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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Paperback 358: The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter / Carson McCullers (Bantam A1091)

Paperback 358: Bantam A1091 (1st ptg, 1953)

Title: The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
Author: Carson McCullers
Cover artist: Uncredited [faint signature on crease in bottom right corner looks like that of Mitchell Hooks]

Yours for: $8


Best things about this cover:
  • Wow, that guy is selling it. Least appreciative audience Ever.
  • I read this book twenty years ago and though I largely forget the plot I remember really liking it. I do, however, remember the first line, verbatim. "In the town there were two mutes, and they were always together." I think those are the mutes there: Tevye and the Undertaker.
  • Little girl demonstrates that peculiar paperback phenomenon whereby people appear to be looking at things they could not possibly see from that angle—that man is both behind her *and* blocked by a man's belly.
  • I like how the human beings are painted naturalistically but the surroundings are kind of surreal. I mean, look at that gray and white smear of a sidewalk. And that fire&brimstone sky.


Best things about this back cover:
  • "Easy, girls, there's enough of me for both of you."
  • LOVE her "Holy F*&^" expression.
  • Not generally a fan of the multiple-scene cover—pick a scene and depict it, dammit, don't try to cram so much action into such a little space. Here, however, the paintings are discrete enough, and large enough, that there's not the usual feeling of chaos.
  • No Pasadena Star-News blurbs here. All top tier publications.

Page 123~

"No. There was some definite thing you did that for. We been knowing each other a pretty long time, and I understand by now that you got a real reason for every single thing you ever do. Your mind runs by reasons instead of just wants. Now, you promised you'd tell me what it was, and I want to know."


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Friday, October 1, 2010

Paperback 357: Night Train / Kenneth Millar (Ross Macdonald) (Lion Library LL40)

Paperback 357: Lion Library LL40 (2nd ptg / 1st thus, 1955)

Title: Night Train
Author: Kenneth Millar
Cover artist: Samson Pollen

Yours for: $22


Best things about this cover:
  • I think there is a single scene in this book that is set in a jazz club. Why they have completely de-crime-fictionized this cover, I don't know ("A Bold Story of Fierce Desire"??), but I'm glad they did—the painting is fantastic: vibrant and chaotic. You rarely see a black woman in the position of sexy dame on these covers—very nice.
  • I like the guy right behind her—the guy you are very likely to miss if you're sucked into either the playing/dancing or the steamy glance between Ms. Bar Lady and Mr. Ne'er-Do-Well. The guy behind her—he's the one I want to know. He's either tailing that guy, or he's just thinking "Really? That guy? She must be working some angle..."
  • Love the guy in the foreground with the cigar! He is sooo happy to have that cigar!
  • What is up with the letter spacing on the tagline? Letters get closer together as title moves left to right. It's like a 3rd grader wrote it by hand and ran out of room as she approached the right margin


Best things about this back cover:
  • This is (pretty much) the cover of the original Lion edition of this book (which I own ... hey, wait, I've already blogged it—it's here! Check out the art parallels)
  • Ross Macdonald was (understandably) saddled with the "Chandler/Hammett" mantle early on in his career, and despite a period of phenomenal fame (peaking around 1970), he just wasn't the artist either Hammett or Chandler was, and hasn't had their longevity. I know I am in the minority here, but I'm not a big Macdonald fan; I especially don't care for the Lew Archer stuff. Archer's just a smarmy, dull, self-righteous Marlowe. A Not-Marlowe. A Marl-faux. Sadly, he's also the model for virtually every P.I. that came after him.
  • There is more than a "trace" of Freud in Macdonald's work; when reading Macdonald, I often feel like I'm reading a novel whose sole purpose is to illustrate some concept from Psychology 101. If I remember correctly, though, this pre-Lew Archer stuff is pretty tight and entertaining.

Page 123~

Mrs. Tessinger was extraordinarily vivacious. Her bosom seemed higher than ever, and her waist tighter.

That's a nice, lecherous eye the narrator has there.


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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Paperback 356: The Cask / Freeman Willis Crofts (Penguin 575)

Paperback 356: Penguin 575 (1st ptg, 1946)

Title: The Cask
Author: Freeman Willis Crofts
Cover artist: Uncredited (jonas?)

Yours for: $7


Best things about this cover:
  • It's a mystery. A mystery about ... a cask, I'm guessing. Hey, they can't all be Strip-Tease Girl.
  • I like how there's a picture of a cask on the cover. In case I'd forgotten the title. I also like the wee mustachioed man.
  • I do like the color scheme. And the soft tones and surreal shapes of the buildings and street.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Freeman Willis [zzzzzzzzzz....]. This is *literally* more than you'd ever want to know about Freeman Willis Crofts.
  • This is from when paperbacks were still trying to be highbrow and were taking themselves way too seriously. In just a few years things would get sexed up and pulped up and generally get interesting.

Page 123~

"It is with the utmost regret I have to tell you, M. Boirac, that your wife was undoubtedly murdered by strangulation. Further, you must know that she had been dead several days when that photograph was taken."

Wow. Blunt.


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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Paperback 355: Strip-Tease Girl / Cal Anton (Beacon B266)

Paperback 355: Beacon B266 (PBO, 1959)

Title: Strip-Tease Girl
Author: Cal Anton
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $40


Best things about this cover:
  • I'm pretty sure this is why God invented paperbacks.
  • The topic, the painting, and the cover copy are all exquisitely sleazypaperbackesque.
  • That is one fantastically ugly table.
  • Pardon my ogling, buy her rack is phenomenal. A hair's breadth away from seeming fake.
  • Love that "—AND DELIVERED" is in red! Hot. Feverish, even.
  • Also love the lack of a possessive pronoun before "JADED SENSES"; are they hers, his, yours? Who can say?


Best things about this back cover:
  • She also couldn't center her words or stick to one font, and was overly enamored of tiny type.
  • "Goggling!" "Queenly hips!?"
  • "Inevitably..." HA ha. "I mean, come on—what else was she gonna do with that body?"
  • "... and even a woman or two" HELLO! Way to bury the lead, guys.

Page 123~

"Well, I know the place like a school teacher knows a book. Shoot the questions. Mike," he ordered, "how about a head on this coffee?"

Conversation continues with equally forced-sounding attempts at colloquial patter. "Like a school teacher knows a book" is about the flat-fallingest simile I've ever heard. "Which book?" "Oh, you know, *a* book."


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Friday, September 24, 2010

Paperback 354: Coming Out Party / Kimberly Kemp (Midwood 32-448)

Paperback 354: Midwood 32-448 (PBO, 1965)

Title: Coming Out Party
Author: Kimberly Kemp
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $25


Best things about this cover:

  • "Don't mind me, I'm just taking a bubble bath in the sink..."
  • Man, Charlotte Rae was *hot* in her youth.
  • Soap bubbles look more like shaving cream.
  • If nothing else, her right nipple will be very clean.
  • Girl in doorway is striking a very unsexy "sexy" pose.
  • Did "coming out" have the same meaning for gay people then as it does now?


Best things about this back cover:

  • Front cover calls her a "houseguest," but this blurb makes her sound more like a sex slave.
  • You can't just go out there and start sinning. You have to train. With a master.
  • Oh, "Greenwich Village!" Well, you know what that means ...
  • "Cute but topless???" I think you mean "and."

Page 123~

"I'm not a good actress, but I'm a real sexpot in front of an audience. Or in front of a camera. I found out that it does something to me. I get all excited. And I'm pretty sure that it registers on film. Isn't that important?"

And of course he then makes her prove it. Cinema!


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