Sunday, September 28, 2014

Paperback 821: Tiger Street / Trevor Elleston (Lion Books 207)

Paperback 821: Lion Books 207 (PBO, 1954)

Title: Tiger Street
Author: Elleston Trevor
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $25

Lion207

Best things about this cover:

  • Richie: "Whaddya think of my left thigh, lady? See this tendon on my inner thigh, here? It's been gettin' a pretty good stretch in my yoga classes. This is kinda how I do Warrior 2. I got good form, don't ya think? And my sweater's pretty nifty too."
  • Richie: "Jimmy, she ain't sayin' nothin.'" Jimmy: "Hey lady, he's showin' ya his yoga thighs. Tell him he looks nice. That's just common courtesy. Hey, you got a light? These matches don't work so good."
  • She doesn't have "fear hand" so much as "backing away as far as I can hand."
  • The original version of this painting just had the one trashcan, but then the art director was all, "Needs more trashcan." And thus the viewed-through-the-legs trashcan was born.
  • Tiger Street! The Musical! "Walk up a staircase / Make out in a doorway / Pick fruit from a trashcan / Show off your firm thighs … Tiger Street!"
  • Love the background. Street design is pretty stylized, but still has tons of nice detail. I especially like the awnings and fire escapes.
  • This cover features ten people. Find them all. Go!


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Best things about this back cover:

  • This was their HOUR of HELL!—that one time they interrupted "Real Housewives" for some stupid Presidential Address. Worst Hour Ever!!!
  • Sorry, no, I am not buying that a human being has the name of "Vosper." Maybe he's literally an "animal," 'cause I might buy "Vosper" as a pet's name. Maybe.
  • First there were dark rumblings, then there were quiet rumblings. What other kinds of rumblings might this novel contain!? Start reading at once, before you stop caring.


Page 123~
"Quietly, mate—push the door to—you saw the blood, yes, where?"
"Over there by—"
"All right, stay there will you … yes, I see, and this in the crack, too, eh? What else, Cliff?"
First, this guy's super-bossy. Second, there's something painfully anticlimactic about "Cliff."

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Friday, September 26, 2014

Paperback 820: Strangers on a Train / Patricia Highsmith (Bantam 905)

Paperback 820: Bantam 905 (1st ptg, 1951)

Title: Strangers on a Train
Author: Patricia Highsmith
Cover artist: Stanley Zuckerberg

Yours for: $17

Bant905

Best things about this cover:

  • That dude wins Best Everything at the Paperback Cover Art Oscars. Best Eyes, Best Facial Expression, Boniest Hands, Best Gun-Caressing, Best Damned Trousers On The Planet, etc.
  • What year is it? She looks she just walked out of a saloon circa 1889.
  • This cover reminds me that I really need a flask. Bourbon is never close enough at hand.


Bant905bc

Best things about this back cover:

  • Even the handwriting is "tense and frightening."
  • "Superbly Revolting" is my new go-to ambiguous pseudo-compliment.
  • You can't really see what the original hardcover art was like, but I assure you, it's pretty bleeping ugly. And no Demented Trouser Guy, so … I'll stick with the cheap stuff, thanks.


Page 123~
He longed to merge his life with hers.
And the winner for Best Euphemism goes to …

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Paperback 819: The Dain Curse / Dashiell Hammett (Vintage V-624)

Paperback 819: Vintage V-624 (1st thus, 1978)

Title: The Dain Curse
Author: Dashiell Hammett
Cover artist: Alan Reingold

Yours for: $12

VintageV624

Best things about this cover:

  • Oh, '70s. Never change.
  • Aside from the horrible color scheme, the other things that scream "'70s" are the particular look of the cult leader (very hippy-Jesus-chesthair) and the Manson-murder-looking girl.
  • I actually kind of love this cover. Highly unusual, lots going on. Long live Mustachioed and Fedoraed James Coburn!


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Best things about this back cover:

  • Just the dumb-looking statue and some words. With the ornate title font now in isolation, we are left to marvel at its bright blue shadow. The book really wants to convey period authenticity, really, it does, but …
  • The aesthetic appears to be "Deco Goes to Woodstock."
  • Ross Macdonald secretly hated Chandler (for good and bad reasons), and so every quote I read from him now about anyone else's greatness, including his own, always contains a tacit, "So Fuck You, Ray!" This includes the Macdonald blurb often used on Chandler covers.
  • I tend to leave books just as I bought them. Hence the '90s price tag. No sticker puller, I.


Page 123~
"Now how can you say that?" he remonstrated. "Ain't she a dope fiend? And cracked in the bargain…?"
I would read "Ain't She a Dope Fiend?"

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Paperback 818: Freud: His Dream and Sex Theories / Joseph Jastrow (Perma Books M4134)

Paperback 818: Perma Books 4134 (1st ptg, 1959)

Title: Freud: His Dream and Sex Theories
Author: Joseph Jastrow
Cover design: Charles Skaggs

Yours for: $7

Perma4134

Best things about this cover:

  • I know. It's terrible, right? It's easily the worst, i.e. the most boring, cover in my entire collection. I think. It's up there, anyway.
  • I sort of like the background pattern, in a wallpaper or possibly denim pants kind of way.
  • "The Stuff of Dreams" made me laugh. Yes, sex dreams can lead to "stuff." For sure. Especially if you are a young man.


Perma4134bc

Best things about this back cover:

  • I see your boring, Front Cover, and I raise you five borings.
  • Even "an appreciation" is boring. We get it, you're legit psych, not phony porn-psych. Ease up on the Big For Legitimacy.
  • Scholars are "dispassionate." Only the best pulp novels are "frank."


Page 123~

It is safe to predict that neither in education, nor in the family or social relations shall we return to a pre-Freudian era.

This is, by far, the most exciting sentence on this page. WHO BOUGHT THIS? Men trying desperately to kill their 4+-hour boners?!

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Paperback 817: Hero's Lust / Kermit Jaediker (Lion 156)

Paperback 817: Lion Books 156 (PBO, 1953)

Title: Hero's Lust
Author: Kermit Jaediker
Cover artist: Lou Marchetti

Yours for: $17

Lion156

Best things about this cover:
  • "The Quick Brown Fox wants you should shaddup!"
  • That tie has a mind of its own.
  • I like the puffy letters.
  • Miss Axilla, 1953
  • Seriously, though, she's pretty damned hot and I enjoy what she is wearing.  I can't recall seeing a top quite like that on paperback covers before. Spaghetti straps!

Lion156bc

Best things about this back cover:
  • OK, +1million points for the juxtaposition of "the City stank" with her armpit.
  • Aw, I was sad to see the writer give up on the alliteration there in the first paragraph. I can think of at least one double-hard-C phrase that could substitute for "harlot's smile"...
  • "Damnfool" is a first-rate adjective.

Page 123~

"No prostitute walks our streets."

The whole page is a delightfully delusional newspaper editorial.

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Friday, September 19, 2014

Paperback 816: The Outward Room / Millen Brand (Lion 26)

Paperback 816: Lion Books 26 (1st ptg, 1950)

Title: The Outward Room
Author: Millen Brand
Cover artist: Harry Schaare

Yours for: $14

Lion26

Best things about this cover:

  • Can an insane woman heat her lukewarm coffee with just the sustained gaze of her eyeballs?
  • Joe blamed Harriet for their second-place finish in the Shiniest Hair Pageant of 1949.
  • I have no idea what this book's about and don't really care because I'm *obsessed* with all the authentic '50s diner details. Napkin dispenser! Sugar dispenser! Ketchup bottle! Uniformed dude in front of the "25c" special sign next to the giant urn! Salt shaker, ribbed, for my pleasure! One of the few cover paintings where the people are far, far less interesting than their surroundings.
  • OK, her bumblebee/pirate top is pretty boss.


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Best things about this back cover:

  • "No", she said. She felt no hunger. Which is why she said "no." Just to be clear.
  • This back cover came out during the brief Xtreme Font Smallness craze of 1950.
  • Insane girls are easy.
  • Harriet found Joe slightly more interesting than staring at ketchup, so she thought "Sure, why not?"


Page 123~
The clock moved, the dresses knew no sweat, set their loveliness against their bodies. Hospital, forget—she cut with the scissors, but thread, but memory until the present burned alone in the threads falling. 
"Hospital, Forget" would've made a much more interesting title.

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Monday, September 15, 2014

Paperback 815: This Is Elaine / Jason Hytes (Midwood F229)

Paperback 815: Midwood F229 (PBO, 1963)

Title: This Is Elaine
Author: Jason Hytes
Cover artist: Paul Rader

Yours for: $25

MidF229

Best things about this cover:

  • Whoa. I was never a big "Seinfeld" fan, but maybe I need to reconsider …
  • I love how happy is to be warming her bare bottom with the flame of a single candle. It's the simple pleasures…
  • I am laughing so hard imagining the sad person sitting on the broken Merry-Go-Round of Sex.
  • Hmm. Define "Bestseller."
  • "Sex Before Six," the best-selling follow-up to "Fucking Before Five Fifteen."


MidF229bc

Best things about this back cover:

  • I'd like to speak to the mayor.
  • "Jason Hytes has exposed their wanton merry-go-round of sex…" Wait, is this non-fiction? Did he go undercover, as it were?
  • At this point, if there is not an Actual Merry-Go-Round Of Sex in this book, I will be very, very disappointed, Jason Hytes.

Page 123~
Clay Brackett moved out of a group of men to block her path, his darkly handsome face flushed and lusting.
"Flushed and Lusting: The Clay Brackett's Face Story"

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]