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


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.


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.


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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


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."


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"


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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Paperback 814: Assignment: Moon Girl / Edward S. Aarons (Gold Medal d1849)

Paperback 814: Gold Medal d1849 (PBO, 1967)

Title: Assignment: Moon Girl
Author: Edward S. Aarons
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $24


Best things about this cover:
  • Assignment: Tiger Butt.
  • Fear has done terrible things to her Hand.
  • The brave, lonely harem girl protected Algaeville's last monument with the only proven defense against tiger attacks: sexiness.
  • Those letters look like an art project I once worked on in third grade.
  • This book is in nearly flawless condition. You can almost smell the moon algae tiger monument harem pants.


Best things about this back cover:
  • The lady and the tiger? Aw, you mean the front cover was a metaphor all along?! Boooo!
  • "Get on down to The Lady and the Tiger—half price on Har-Buri-Tos through Tuesday!"
  • Sam Durell sees that you're tailing him and doesn't like it.

Page 123~

Nobody was in the clear, these days.


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Friday, September 12, 2014

Paperback 813: I Always Wanted to Be Somebody / Althea Gibson (Pyramid G478)

Paperback 813: Pyramid G478  (1st ptg, 1960)

Title: I Always Wanted to Be Somebody
Author: Althea Gibson (ed. Ed Fitzgerald)
Cover artist: Robert V. Engel (aka 'Engle' for some reason)

Yours for: $18


Best things about this cover:

  • Not the most dynamic painting, but striking and endearing, as straight portrait painting goes. Rare, if not unique, in my collection for featuring (or even mentioning the existence of) a female black icon.
  • I normally squirm at handwriting fonts, but this one is somehow lovely. Nice change of color on "Somebody."
  • I wish this cover (or the back cover) featured more, uh, tennis.


Best things about this back cover:
  • There's something at least a little insulting about a back cover photo that showcases the fucking queen, while the ostensible subject of the book is literally marginalized, with her back turned. Also, I resent the idea that shaking hands with the queen makes you "somebody." I want the triumphant, trophy-holding shot!
  • This back cover actually makes the book sound fantastic. Minus the "jungle" / "Harlem" connection. That, I could do without. I realize "Asphalt Jungle" is a book / movie title, but still…
  • Oooh, *hard* liquor! Wow, that *is* tough. No Bud Light Lime-a-Ritas for her!

Page 123~

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Paperback 812: The Black Curtain / Cornell Woolrich (Dell 208)

Paperback 812: Dell 208 (1st ptg, 1948)

Title: The Black Curtain
Author: Cornell Woolrich
Cover artist: George Frederiksen

Yours for: $30


Best things about this cover:
  • Me: "Why is the right side of the cover all blacked out? … oh, that's the black curtain. I see…"
  • The Michelin Man stalks his next victim.
  • The Michelin Man is ready for his midnight duel.
  • The Michelin Man feels deep satisfaction at how thoroughly he has painted the town red.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Mapback!
  • 3=trees; 4=trees; 5=darker trees; 6=shrubs…
  • Architectural blueprints! 
  • You have to go through the pantry to get from the kitchen to the dining room?
  • "Don't go in that room." "Why, what's in there?" "Old man." "O dear god!"

Page 123~
"How is it that don't have the estate fenced in?" he asked. "Leave it open like this for anyone to trespass—"
Pretty sure that first question is missing a word. Also pretty sure "We'll have to feel out way through the rough" (on the same page) contains a typo. So … no more blaming the internet for shitty editing.


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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Paperback 811: Vengeance Is Mine / Mickey Spillane (Signet D2116)

Paperback 811: Signet D2116 (44th ptg, undated [1962])

Title: Vengeance Is Mine
Author: Mickey Spillane
Cover artist: Uh … I doubt it.

Yours for: $6


Best things about this cover:

  • It's pretty icky all around. Not sure why this hasn't been relegated to some dank cardboard box of "extras" in my basement. That said, I'm kind of fascinated by how ugly it is.
  • It's like someone was noodling with a prehistoric version of Photoshop, and then realized "no one's going to care anyway," and then just sent this weird silhouette thing into the editor. Neither the silhouette nor the naked lady is large enough to be compelling. Maybe if she were doing something more than blandly standing there as if waiting for a director to shout "Action!" 
  • Purple font for some reason!


Best things about this back cover:
  • Without the lady inside him, he looks like he *just* got bit on his left hip by some kind of flying insect. Insect-swatting hand!
  • "How many different font sizes can we squeeze in here?" "Shouldn't there be some rationale to the varied font sizes?" "[Blank stare]" …
  • Copywriter is perversely fond of compound adjectives. "Action-tough" and "bullet-sparked" are meaningless. I'll give him "lead-riddled" as slightly apt, but "forty-million-copy bestselling" is an ungainly beast. 

Page 123~
My fingers were hurting her and I couldn't help it. "I want you to say it, Mike. You've played games with so many women I won't be sure until I hear you say it yourself. Tell me."
That first sentence is very telling. Mike's love and Mike's violence have a disconcerting resemblance.


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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Paperback 810: The Intimate Stranger / William Lynch (Lion Books 25)

Paperback 810: Lion Books 25 (1st ptg, 1950)

Title: The Intimate Stranger
Author: William Lynch
Cover artist: Woodi (Ishmael)

Yours for: $10


Best things about this cover:
  • "No … not the dress strap … alright, alright, I give. I'll murder someone."
  • Melissa's lessons in "how to use furniture" were long and grueling.
  • I genuinely like her whole get-up. 
  • The Erotic Awakening of Ward Cleaver.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Well, there's your first problem, lady. You gotta offer yourself to one of them there sane guys.
  • "He was an artist … you know how they are."
  • Green polka dots are my new favorite back cover design concept.

Page 123~
The underbrush scraped her bare legs, leaving torn, painful weals, sometimes tearing away filings of flesh and her hands were sore and torn with the constant grasping of bushes for support.
That is a manifestly terrible sentence, on several levels, and yet I kinda wish the book were titled "Filings of Flesh."


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