But those vows were made before I encountered the latest University Book Sale, at which point they immediately went out the window. I actually paid money (well, technically my student paid for me... we'll call her "Dondie") to get into the sale, and then got first crack at a ton of books - fiction, instructional, other, etc. I immediately went into super-consumption mode, as nearly every other cover called out to me with its cheesy greatness and awe-inspiring improbability. I am sitting here at my desk with "Dondie" right now - she actively encouraged me to buy many of the following. That's what they call an "enabler." What did I pick up? OK, Where to start ...?
Henry Bridgman, How To Make an Oboe Reed (PBO, 1987)
Cover artist: Some clip art genius
- I don't know why, but I know that someday this book will come in handy
- Did you know, and I quote: "The tip is where most of the action is"? Damn, this is hot. And useful.
- "We are assuming a finished tip length of 4.5mm." Dondie says: "Whoa, low standards!"
- Woo hoo, First Edition!
- Dondie says: "I was four when this came out!"
- Not only did Henry Bridgman write the book ... he then mailed it to himself.
John Updike, Bech: A Book (1st ptg, 1971)
Cover artist: Arnold Roth
- "Bech, A Book, A Female Book..."
- More like "Blecch: A Book" [HA ha, I kill me]
- He has boobs in his hair. Furthermore, he has Boobs in his Hair.
- Dondie says: "The nipples are ferociously red"
- Head = phallus? scrotum? squash? zucchini?
- I have to say, that is the most disturbing head in all of paperback cover art history - even more disturbing than ...
Lawrence Durrell, Clea (1st ptg, 1961)
Cover artist: Unidentified
- This, my friends, is the Original Floating Head, in that it is LITERALLY FLOATING. In water. Ur-Floating-Head. Totally scary / haunting.
- The floating head that ate Beirut! Run, women in burkhas, run! The blonde lady is hungry!
- Dondie says: "You'll never understand .... Clea ... my love [kisses book]"
Edwin Newman, Sunday Punch (1st ptg, 1980)
Cover artist: "Paris"
- That can't be good for your back.
- Dondie says: "He farted in the martini ... fartini."
- Dondie says: "His grimace has an 'I wanna do you / I gotta poop real bad' quality."
- This is my second "Person-in-a-cocktail-glass" book cover, if you can believe that. Here is the other one. This Sunday Brunch one is far less hot.
- There is something very wrong about the olive.
"The Walking Asparagus" - "So powerful that he can make your pee smell funny just by looking at you."
James Salter, Solo Faces (1st ptg, 1980)
Cover design: Neil Stuart
Cover photograph: Christina Rodin
The story of the gigantic nose that climbed the Swiss Alps.
And, lastly for today, a gem:
Joan Oppenheimer, Which Mother Is Mine? (PBO, 1980)
- Novelization of an ABC Afterschool Special! Awesome!
- Starring Blind Mary from "Little House," and My all-time TV mom crush, Mrs. C from "Happy Days."
- Is Mary blind in this show too? Is that why she is looking at nothing in particular and using her hands to communicate with Mom 1? It's so "Miracle Worker."
- Dondie says: Awesome photograph. Mom 2 is so sickened by Mom 1: "I'll kill you, bitch! She's mine!"
- Dondie also says: Ugliest dress ever. It's a wonder either of them wants to be her mom.
- I say: I think this is actually an Ugly Dress Pageant, and these are the three finalists. Mom 1 is doing that fake hand-holding "I hope you win" thing that pageant finalists do to fake support each other before the winner is announced.
More - much more - to follow.
RP (with Dondie)