Sunday, May 24, 2015

Paperback 884: Dagger of the Mind / Kenneth Fearing (Bantam 93)

Paperback 884: Bantam 93 (1st ptg, 1947)

Title: Dagger of the Mind
Author: Kenneth Fearing
Cover artist: "Galdone" (signature, lower right)

Estimated value: $15-20

Best things about this cover:
  • Weird. That dagger of the mind looks a lot like an actual dagger.
  • The artist was right to stab this painting. It's terrible.
  • Art colonies were a weird source of fascination for pulpy writers of the '40s-'50s. There was probably some presumption of casual nudity and free love, although Zombie Veronica here looks well and properly dressed.
  • "Bye bye, painting. I'll miss you."

Best things about this back cover:
  • OK, that's a pretty persuasive first sentence. I like the idea of her husband running at her with a dagger and her just ... stepping aside. Like some weird torero.
  • "Need more be said?" Yes, it need. It need be more said.
  • That little sketch of the woman is pretty pathetic, but these endpapers are pretty boss!:

Page 123~

I said, rubbing my head, "Don't ask me riddles. I want some borscht, shaslik, and about two quarts of iced coffee."

Hey, that's *my* hangover remedy. Wait, what's "shaslik"? Sounds like something Mork would say to Orson.


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Friday, May 22, 2015

Paperback 883: The Case of the Shapely Shadow / Erle Stanley Gardner (Pocket Books 4507)

Paperback 883: Pocket Books 4507 (1st ptg, 1962)

Title: TCOT Shapely Shadow
Author: Erle Stanley Gardner
Cover artist: Uncredited [Robert McGinnis]

Estimated value: $8-15

[Donation to the collection from L. Gagne]

Best things about this cover:
  • Ladies and gentleman, the greatest BitchFace™ in human history.
  • If you want to know what it feels like to be a chump / sap / sucker, just stare at this cover.
  • The sexy assassin was able to get very close to her targets by dressing as the Michelin Man.

Best things about this back cover:
  •  Wow, this is as terrible as the front cover is fantastic.
  • "Let's reduce her head to a single color tone, cut it in half, sever it from her body, and just ... sorta ... oh, I don't care, put it anywhere."
  • I like the second Mrs. Theilman. "Look, Mr. Mason, stop being such a condescending prick and get the fuck out. Thank you."

Page 123~

"Now look here, Janice. If you were having an affair with Mr. Theilman, I want you to tell me about it and tell me about it now."

Look here, Janice, Perry needs dirty talk and Perry needs it now. Jesus, Janice. Come on.


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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Paperback 882: Murder for the Bride / John D. MacDonald (Gold Medal R2116)

Paperback 882: Gold Medal R2116 (Unknown ptg, ca. late '60s)

Title: Murder for the Bride
Author: John D. MacDonald
Cover artist: Uncredited [some booksellers credit Milton Charles, whoever that is]

Estimated value: $8-10

[Donation to the collection from L. Gagne]

Best things about this cover:
  • Pretty safe. Except for the shocking pink border, pretty safe.
  • She has Gibson Girl hair. Weird.
  • The lady was so bored by the cover concept that she fell asleep.
  • Gold Medal did this annoying thing starting some time in the '60s where it stopped giving printing information, including publication date :(

Best things about this back cover:
  • Check box 1 for "Angel," box 2 for "Tramp" ... what? No, there are no other boxes, you tramp.
  • Hey, looks like John D. finally caught that fly on the ceiling that was bugging him. He looks so content.
  • I kind of want to disappear to a remote beachside hut and read only John D. MacDonald for like a week.

Page 123~

"Alligators bellering at night."


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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Paperback 881: Please Write For Details / John D. MacDonald (Gold Medal R1922)

Paperback 881: Gold Medal R1922 (unknown ptg, 1968)

Title: Please Write for Details
Author: John D. MacDonald
Cover artist: Uncredited [Mitchell Hooks]

Estimated value: $5-8

[Donation to the collection courtesy of L. Gagne]

Best things about this cover:
  • Love how all those dorky guys are checking her out, but she's swiveled around to face you because, well, you're doing the same thing, big boy. She has the best "Like what you see?" face ever.
  • I am not familiar with MacDonald's comedy writing. Most everything else I have by him is Travis McGee stuff.
  • This book takes place at a "Mexican art colony," in case you're looking at the dorky guys and going "WTF?"

 Best things about this back cover:
  • "Why, yes. Yes, I *do* enjoy those three things. You've piqued my interest. I *will* write for details. Thanks for your help."
  • That first sentence is an epic, loony, self-parodying masterpiece. Can you hitch your starload to a bent?
  • Great hyphen confusion. I read "love-lies" as "lies one tells about love"; but it's just "lovelies."
  • John D. MacDonald, still staring down that fly on the ceiling.

Page 123~

Torrigan had the usual ideas, all right, but he was a lot easier to handle. Hinting you could be a real hell of a painter if he'd let you learn all about Life from him. Always trying to load your drinks. And that tired game that goes I've-just-got-my-arm-around-you-because-I'm-just-a-big-friendly-guy. No trick in handling him.

Nothing like a good, withering take-down of a leering phony. I like the knowing, implicitly female perspective. This seems like it might be worth reading.


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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Paperback 880: Bump and Run / Marty Domres (Bantam N7253)

Paperback 880: Bantam N7253 (PBO, 1971)

Title: Bump and Run
Author: Marty Domres (w/ Robert Smith)
Cover artist: Uncredited (!@!^%&) [Bill Wenzel]

Estimated value: $15-20

Best things about this cover:

  • It is criminal that the cartoonist didn't get credit here. CRIMINAL. (And yes, that *is* the first and most important comment I have about this cover) [this site credits Bill Wenzel, so … I'm going with that]
  • One man's desperate quest for the Perfect Grope. He's so close! Leave him alone, you other ladies!
  • I love how obliging the stewardess is. Heels *and* tiptoes *and* chest thrust. She looks more like a mermaid figurehead on an 18c. pirate ship than a human being in any kind of normal position.
  • That is some classic '70s Playboy near-naked lady cartooning there.
  • This book is much better written, and much more political (specifically anti-racist) than you'd expect from the cover.

Best things about this back cover:

  • There is nothing I can add to improve on this.
  • You cannot throw a football from that position.
  • When you can cast spells like Marty, you don't need no stinkin' helmet.

Page 123~

We expect to find conditions everywhere as they are in California, where there is no craning of the neck and muttering, no indignant or unbelieving stares, no glowering visages at the sight of a black man and a white girl enjoying each other's company. Any place that sets out to bar blacks, in the manner of the unreconstructed South, might just as well put up a sign that closes the place to pro football players altogether.


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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Paperback 879: Number One / John Dos Passos (Lion Library LL1)

Paperback 879: Lion Library LL1 (1st ptg, 1954)

Title: Number One
Author: John Dos Passos
Cover artist: Robert Schulz

Estimated value: $10-15

Best things about this cover:

  • When you start shooting up bourbon, your friends naturally get a bit concerned.
  • He's right to be freaked out. If you look at her left hand too long, you too will begin to get the creeping sense that she's an ALIEN, MAN.
  • Pee. This book is about pee. You don't want to read the sequel.
  • Clever bit of publishing here on Lion Library's part. This is the first (i.e. Number One) book to come out under the Lion Library imprint.

Best things about this back cover:

  • "Why is there a ladybug in here!? Who authorized this?! I'm gonna swat it, so help me …!"
  • "There's no floor here! No floor! It just … stops." "Er, it's a stage, sir, that's what stages do." "I don't care, someone should've told me, Brian! You're fired!"
  • John Dos Passos came to earth to study curious earthling types.

Page 123~

As he looked out through the glass doors of the phone booth at the bustle of dressy people, men in sportsclothes with cigars, frilly stoutish women with skittish hats, pretty girls in long evening dresses, young men out to have themselves a time, he felt an invisible sour smoke swirling between them and him.

I mistyped several words while transcribing this. Every time I looked to see what I'd screwed up, I was like "Yeah, that's better." This passage crystallizes noir—"good times" seen at a sad, knowing, alienated remove. Deromanticized. Surface appearances all revealed as desperate posturing. This is Don Draper just before he goes "fuck it" and just takes off across the country in his Caddy.


PS check out that "SCHULZ" signature, etched right into the side of the damned table. I always did love how he made his signature part of the three-dimensional world of the painting.

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Saturday, May 9, 2015

Paperback 878: The Girl in the Gold Leather Dress / Victoria Kelrich Morhaim (Signet S1894)

Paperback 878: Signet S1894 (PBO, 1961)

Title: The Girl in the Gold Leather Dress
Author: Victoria Kelrich Morhaim
Cover artist: Barye Phillips

Estimated value: $15-20

Best things about this cover:

  • The girl who hated books and sandals and so moped on the couch.
  • It's rare that the stars of a front cover are pillows.
  • "Stupid pillows, upstaging me … I wanna go get ice cream. All this leather is making me hot."
  • "The story of a beat coed." I assume this means she is super-tired and has to sit down for a bit.

Best things about this back cover:

  • Oh, *that* kind of "beat." Gotcha.
  • You gotta love when history makes cover copy laughable. "Ginsberg! Kerouac! MORHAIM! Names that will live through the ages!"
  • Seriously, though, this is a cool, unusual (and nearly flawless) paperback original, written about the beat generation During the beat generation—and by a woman. Screw your gray flannel suit. It's Gold Leather Dress time!

Page 123~

"And I don't think we'll have any more discussions about propriety and my Ph.D., will we?"

Pretty sure I said these exact words a lot in the '90s.


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