Friday, November 20, 2015

Paperback 914: Enter the Saint / Leslie Charteris (Pocket Books 257)

Paperback 914: Pocket Books 257 (1st ptg, 1944)

Title: Enter the Saint
Author: Leslie Charteris
Cover artist: Uncredited

Estimated value: $8-12

Best things about this cover:
  • Strike a pose.
  • The Pocket Books logo went through a lot of versions in the early years. This is one of the more adorable variants.
  • I know remarkably little about the Saint, except he was played by Roger Moore on television. There were reruns in syndication on TV when I was a kid. I don't remember a damn thing about them. I had no idea he was known as "The Robin Hood of Modern Crime." I just thought he was a charming cut-rate Bond.

Best things about this back cover.
  • It's weird how (relatively) quickly "gay" lost its non-sexual connotation. I was reading "Cotton Comes to Harlem" this week, and Cotton Ed and Grave Digger talk about wanting to get gay, i.e. go out, drink, have fun ... you know: have a gay old time. I wonder when that meaning essentially died, because it has died hard.
  • Meet Snake Ganning ... Jane, his wife!
  • Piratical!
  • This is a war-time book (1944). Pocket Books' whole "Send this book to a boy in the armed forces" thing was a genius marketing strategy. Together with the Armed Services Editions of cheap books, Pocket Books was helping cultivate a huge paperback-buying market for the post-war era.

Page 123~

The removal of the "dope bird" to a quiet cellar where a ruthless interrogation could proceed without interruption.

A sentence ominous in its incompleteness as well as its all-too-common anti-avian rhetoric.


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Friday, October 30, 2015

Paperback 913: One More Unfortunate / Edgar Lustgarten (Bantam 360)

Paperback 913: Bantam 360 (1st ptg, 1949)

Title: One More Unfortunate
Author: Edgar Lustgarten
Cover artist: Bernard Safran

Estimated value: $15-20

Best things about this cover:
  • "I was Mr. Arm Veins 1938, 1939, and 1941. Don't ask about 1940. Here, drink this."
  • "First, let me show you this here invention I come up with. I call it, 'The Butt Scratcher'...."
  • Wow, when he rolls up his sleeves, he really Rolls Up His Sleeves.
  • That knife-arm, everything about it, is really striking. And yet I'm weirdly mesmerized by the torn wallpaper patch (authentic seediness!) and her shoes, which I really wish I could see in profile. And closer up.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Young Ronald Reagan was not allowed to ride the children's choo-choo train. Would / he / die?!
  • I love how the issue here isn't the horrific fate of Kate Haggerty, but how her horrific fate might reflect on Captain White Man.
  • Damn evidence. Always with the mounting.

Page 123~

He gave his answer in loud, almost truculent tones.

Ooh, I like that. I think I'm gonna steal it. "Almost Truculent: The Rex Parker Story"


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Monday, October 26, 2015

Paperback 912: Coming of Age in Samoa / Margaret Mead (Mentor M44)

Paperback 912: Mentor M44 (1st ptg, 1949)

Title: Coming of Age in Samoa
Author: Margaret Mead
Cover artist: jonas

Estimated value: $10-15

Best things about this cover:
  • Striking design. Love the stylized monochrome foliage against the stark white backdrop.
  • They seem like they're having fun.
  • This probably shouldn't remind me of John Travolta and Uma Thurman dancing in "Pulp Fiction," but it does.
  • The most important difference between Samoan society and our own is No Nipples ... For Anyone!

Best things about this back cover:
  • I enjoy mentally changing "earnestly" (in Dorsey's review) to "salaciously," "lustily," "hornily," and the like.
  • Freud!?
  • "The domain of erotics." I want to go to there.
  • I read "primitive heart-stirrings" as "primitive heart-strings," because it's nicer.

Page 123~

People forgave her violence and her quarrelsomeness for sheer mirth over her propitiatory antics.

She got away with shit 'cause she was fun to be around and sometimes bought the drinks. (You're welcome)


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Friday, October 23, 2015

Paperback 911: Darkness at Noon / Arthur Koestler (Signet 671)

Paperback 911: Signet 671 (2nd ptg, 1950)

Title: Darkness at Noon
Author: Arthur Koestler
Cover artist: [jonas?]

Estimated value: $7-10

Best things about this cover:
  • This looks like me at roughly 9:30am on the days I don't teach. Minus the cigarette, I mean. Ladies ... liquor ... mystery dude in a hat ... these are where my thoughts wander.
  • This is a classic, but I haven't read it. I am surprised to find it is about a lazy dude fantasizing about Parisian booze and broads.
  • It's a prison novel, but this doesn't really evoke prison. Faint hints of "brick" in the walls, but that robe looks too comfy for prisonwear.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Ah, the era of the author-smoking photo. So ... debonair.
  • But also so tiny, what the hell's with the picture shrinkage?
  • That cover copy does not offer much in the way of breathing room. Yikes.

Page 123~

Woe to the fool and the aesthete who only ask how and not why.

This is in the middle of a dense philosophical section that is all italics and also a bummer.


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Friday, October 16, 2015

Paperback 910: The Key / Junichiro Tanizaki (Signet D2073)

Paperback 910: Signet D2073 (1st ptg, 1962)

Title: The Key
Author: Junichiro Tanizaki
Cover artist: [gah, can anyone make out that signature underneath the noodle bowl?!]

Estimated value: $8-12

Best things about this cover:
  • Font Victory! That title is smashing.
  • In case you could tell the people on the cover are Japanese ... chopsticks!
  • This painting is beautiful yet boring. It really really wants you to believe that the hardcore marital boning inside is tasteful.

Best things about this back cover:
  • "It leaves one both roused and afraid." Uh ... TMI, "The Reporter."
  • Mid-century was a big time for arguing that books about Doing It could be "art." Like, you had to justify it because of stupid hypocritical censorious America. Note the critical armature on this book's covers. Some kind of Chatterley-related hold-over. "If critics like it, then it's OK to jerk off to."
  • Love the author photo. "Just take the fucking picture. You weary me."

Page 123~

All through March I'd written that I was still stubbornly defending the "last line," and I did my best to convince him of it. In fact, it was on March twenty-fifth that I surrendered that last "paper-thin" defense.

It seems like she is talking about "anal sex" but I "can't be sure."


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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Paperback 909: Music out of Dixie / Harold Sinclair (PermaBooks P203)

Paperback 909: Perma Books P203 (1st ptg, 1953)

Title: Music out of Dixie
Author: Harold Sinclair
Cover artist: Uncredited :(

Estimated value: $10-15

Best things about this cover:
  • "Well you ain't no John Tesh, I know that."
  • There are 31 flavors of Disappointment on that woman's face.
  • I like this painting a lot. Perfectly positioned burning cigarette is a nice touch.
  • I love his shirt. I want his shirt. I also want to wear a sleeve garter for no good reason.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Dade Tarrant! LOL, sure, that's a plausible name, why not?
  • I hope his business cards read: "Dade Tarrant / Slum-Bred Pianist"
  • Raffish! Is that like "rakish"? [looks word up...] Hey, look at that: first synonym. So I *kinda* knew what it meant...

Page 123~

"Oh, Jesus lover, let's don't have that routine at this time o' day. I can't take it."

This expresses a sentiment I feel on a regular basis.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Friday, October 9, 2015

Paperback 908: Six Seconds to Kill / Brett Halliday (Dell 8001)

Paperback 908: Dell 8001 (1st ptg, 1970)

Title: Six Seconds to Kill
Author: Brett Halliday
Cover artist: photo

Estimated value: sentimental, at best ($10?)

Best things about this cover:
  • This is either the story of the world's most efficient lady assassin or the story of a lady executive determined to squeeze all the joy she can out of the world's shortest helicopter layover. Pilot: "You need to be back here in six sec—" Lady: "I KNOW WHAT I'M DOING!"
  • I feel sorry for the model. That can't have been an easy pose to hold. Not in those nutso clog-heels.
  • I bought this book in a vintage clothing store in Minneapolis, MN.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Ladies and gentlemen—my new business card.
  • Also, ladies and gentlemen—my new bride. (My wife will understand. She had a good run.)
  • I love this classy lady: "I will drink [yes] and fuck [you go, girl] and kill Ed Meese [of cour— ... wait, what?]"

Page 123~

Shayne set the handbrake and got out. Understanding suddenly that she was about to be taken prisoner, she scrambled for a shotgun lying on the grass. Shayne kicked it away, pulled her to her feet and thrust her into the car.
"The fight's over. You're all by yourself, as far as I know."

I like the part where he set the handbrake.


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