Thursday, October 25, 2007

Why Book Sales are Like Crack Dens To Me, Part 1

I spent much of the last year getting rid of books - giving them away, throwing them away, recycling them, cutting them up to make art, etc. I just had too many. And I vowed not to acquire anymore books unless they were a. beautiful, or b. written by someone I really wanted to support with my $.

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)

8 comments:

wendy said...

Boy, Rex, when you fall off the wagon, you really do it up right! Of course there would be an enabler in the picture - I'd recommend a 12-step program, but you'd probably relapse all over the freakin' place just like Lindsay Lohan! ;)

Michael5000 said...

I'll tell you how to make an oboe reed. Take away its television privileges!

Ha! Ha!

OK, sorry.... I'll leave now...

roro said...

wendy, I spy with my little eye Redon's cyclops,...

Rex, do these paperbacks crumble when you open them?

Rex Parker said...

Open them?

rp

Dondie said...

Dondie says: Yay! I'm famous!

Anonymous said...

Rex can sell handmade Oboe reeds on eBay to support his book habit; just look at what a single machine made reed can sell for, and even the best machine made is not considered as good as properly done handmade reed.

--Tony

Orange said...

Dondie gets an A+ for brilliance! The fartini interpretation slays me. And that olive? Was pooped out.

Sandy said...

Can Mary Ingalls not tell her mothers apart because she's blind? Perhaps one of them should eat more asparagus.

I am happy to read that Dondie has not lost her 4 year old delight in fart humor. Is that because she spends too much time with 5 year old boys?

For some reason I laughed harder at the giant nose than anything else. I have no idea why.