Sunday, May 31, 2009

Paperback 234: Diagnosis: Love / Barbara Bonham (Monarch 466)

Paperback 234: Monarch 466 (PBO, 1964)

Title: Diagnosis: Love
Author: Barbara Bonham
Cover artist: Lou Marchetti

Yours for: $15

Best things about this cover:

  • The long awaited prequel to "Diagnosis: Murder"
  • Whatever was going on in "their private lives," it apparently involved massive amounts of nitrous oxide
  • "Take off that clown make-up. This is a hospital, not a whorehouse!" / "Oh fuck you, Steve. Perform the appendectomy yourself. I'm going outside to smoke ... and maybe talk to Larry. That's right, I said 'Larry.' Asshole."

Best things about this back cover:

  • "Garnet?"
  • "Chad!" - that's more like it.
  • " ... a strange malady ..." - later diagnosed as "hot pants"

Page 123 (last page!)~

He took the thermometer from her and glanced at it quickly. "Normal. No germs here. It would be perfectly safe to kiss you." He pulled her up into his arms.

I really hope that thermometer was in her mouth.


Friday, May 29, 2009

Paperback 233: The Sisterhood / Sheldon Lord (pseud. of Lawrence Block) (Softcover Library S95189)

Paperback 233: Softcover Library S95189 (unknown ptg, 1970?)

Title: The Sisterhood
Author: Sheldon Lord (pseud. of Lawrence Block)
Cover artist: uncredited

Yours for: $14

Best things about this cover:
  • "Oh, your Scottie-hair wig is so soft ... it makes me want to unbutton my shirt..."
  • If there's one thing lesbians love more than anything else, it's grooming each other like monkeys.
  • The tall one looks like a transsexual Joan Collins ... is that redundant?
  • "swamp of bisexual love!" - worst thing about it: all the damned mosquitoes

Best things about this back cover:

  • "For Women Only" - somehow, I doubt that
  • "Happy Lesbos Hunting Ground" should totally, Totally be the name of a Vermont resort
  • "Countess!" O, man, this stuff is rich
  • "Infiltrate men's professions" - holy crap, it's an allegory about feminism. E.R.A. = exotic lesbian plot
  • "strange" = paperback cover word of choice for referring to the gays. See also "twilight world," "in-between," etc.

Page 123~

Persistent, isn't he? she thought to herself. Then into the phone, "Look, Brad. Let's take this from the top, huh? I mean - besides the fact that I happen to be, shall we say, occupied - there's something that maybe you haven't thought of."

"Huh? What?" he said desperately.


P.S. Everyone within earshot of this blog is going to want to go out and pick up / order a copy of "Dames, Dolls & Gun Molls: The Art of Robert A. Maguire" (Dark Horse, 2009). It's a loving, glossy, gorgeous tribute to the greatest paperback cover artist that ever lived (IMHO). Literally, every page I turn, I find myself whispering "wow..." It's a reasonably affordable oversized paperback - the large scale reproductions of the art are what really make this book worthwhile. Plus it has lots of insights into Maguire's process, some of the photos he used as references, pencil sketches, etc. See an online flipbook version of the book here. Then buy it. Now.

P.P.S. Article by writer Brian Ritt about sleaze fiction master Orrie Hitt - find it here (this is why I "Follow" Christa Faust on Twitter)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Paperback 232: The Bitter Passion / John W. Wadleigh (Hillman Books 153)

Paperback 232: Hillman Books 153 (PBO, 1960)

Title: The Bitter Passion
Author: John W. Wadleigh
Cover artist: uncredited

Yours for: $12

Best things about this cover:

  • "Do you like my left shoulder? Do you? You're not even looking at it? Look at it!"
  • John W. Wadleigh won the award for Most Unintentionally Pornographic-Sounding Author Name of 1960
  • "A native man" - no, don't tell me, "native" is plenty of information ...
  • Did the NY Times really say that a book called "The Bitter Passion" was a "net of passions?" That's just sad.

Best things about this back cover:

  • You too, Los Angeles Mirror-News? We get it. "Passions." What else you got?
  • "There had been several men" - nice euphemism! Way to use the passive voice to skirt the issue of your promiscuity, honey.
  • "A novel of two lonely women" - whoa ... another woman? What happened to the "native man?" And how "lonely" are the women? Your answer will go a long way to determining whether I crack this book or not.

Page 123~

-In time, in time, I said. Be patient or you'll ruin yourself. Later you will remember. My words will come back to you, years from now, and you will understand, so trust me, yes?

-Yes, he said.

Without understanding any of it.

Silly non-English-speaking native. You'll never understand the eloquence and wisdom of ... whoever this chick is.


P.S. Thanks to Brian Cassidy for a very nice write-up of both "Pop Sensation" and "Rex Parker Does the NYT Crossword" in his "Fine Books & Collections" blog.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Paperback 231: Sin Crop / J. A. Nash (Dragon Edition 151)

Paperback 231: Dragon Edition DE 151 (PBO, 1966)

Title: Sin Crop
Author: J. A. Nash
Cover artist: the artist of the damned

Yours for: $19

Best things about this cover:

  • Define "best"
  • This artist graduated from the "Making Nudity Sad and Joyless" school of painting
  • The positioning of the "Adults Only" sign, dear god! ... "Wanda lived her life by one rule - no anal sex with minors."
  • "... and then the starfish just attacked my boob. It was so weird ..."
  • The background color is there to remind you of the dirtiness you should be feeling in your soul right about now.

Best things about this back cover:

  • For every Sin Crop, there must be a Shame Harvest
  • Remember what I said about back cover copy on sleaze paperbacks (see Paperback 230: Lust Cult). Well, this is pretty typical of what I was talking about. I mean ... comma splice! Come on!
  • "A gaggle of rural women" - I doubt that phrase has ever been used by anyone, anywhere, ever (besides this cover)

Page 123~

As I slowly let my lips glide down to hers, let them collapse to softness, melting and caressing, consuming hers.

Apparently, I am supposed to believe that that is a complete sentence. Then there's this:

Her lips were hot, indescribably soft and moist, forming a delicate cushion [!]. Still I held the locked contact [?], slowly moving my mouth, my arms holding her gently but firmly ...

I lost it at the "slowly moving my mouth" part. Made me imagine being gummed to death by ... what was the name of those novelty singing large-mouth bass?


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Paperback 230: Lust Cult / Don Elliott (Robert Silverberg) (Midnight Reader 419)

Paperback 230: Midnight Reader MR 419 (PBO, 1962)

Title: Lust Cult
Author: Don Elliott (pseud. of Robert Silverberg)
Cover artist: uncredited

Yours for: $20

Best things about this cover:

  • What the hell happened to her torso. It's like taffy ... or krazy bread. Yikes. Everything from the bottom of her breast to the middle of her ass needs to be ReDone!
  • When Thing isn't hanging out with the Addams Family ...
  • This is actually a nicely designed cover, as sleaze covers go. Like the rectangular segments - very mid-century modern.

Best things about this back cover:
  • I can tell you that, compared to the back covers of many sleaze novels, this one is remarkably lucid. That is, it doesn't sound it was translated from English into Urdu by a Swede and then back into English by a half-witted Czech.
  • "I'm gonna be late again tonight, honey ... yeah, I've got that damned Sin Meeting I was telling you about ... yeah. Boss really wants us new acolytes to work hard pushing his new 'Shrine of Evil' theme parks ... OK, I'll call you when we're done Embracing Lust!"

Page 123~ (this better be good)

His hands went to her blouse, cupping the ripe thrusts of her breasts.

Oh yeah. That's the stuff. OK, I cheated - that's page 124. But page 123 was all descriptions of driving. Just ... driving. No fun.

I have to believe that if I google "ripe thrusts" right now I get exactly zero hits. . . 71 hits! That's insane. They appear to be all porn sites, although hit 1 appears to be about some kind of lemon. I'm not clicking through to find out.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Paperback 229: Demented / Donald Jorden Young (Gold Star Books IL7-19)

Paperback 229: Gold Star Books IL7-19 (PBO, 1964)

Title: Demented
Author: Donald Jorden Young
Cover artist: uncredited (though I credited it to "Robert Maguire" for some reason - looks at least as much like the work of Mitchell Hooks)

Yours for: $20

Best things about this cover:

  • Instant Klassic - unread, near-perfect condition ... vibrant colors ... a stripping nurse (!?) ... a fifth-rate publishing house ... a text-book example of the Floating Head motif ... absolutely gorgeous, in all its sleazy marginality
  • "My prescription: take two of ... these."
  • "Anthony Perkins is ... Frankenstein's monster in ... 'Demented!'"
  • I like that the blurb features all three people depicted on the cover: "nurse," "ex-GI" with "war-born neurosis," and "weak professor," who frankly looks quite hale and handsome, if a bit disturbed by the hovering, giant head of Captain Mind Control...

Best things about this back cover:
  • This is basically a tepid, watered down version of the plot to "The Stars, My Destination" by Alfred Bester.
  • Love the random extra space between "perverted" and "lusts." It's like the copywriter tried many different versions of the final word and forgot to adjust the spacing when he'd finally decided on the winner. "Ah, 'lusts' ... le mot juste!"
  • As for the nurse ... Check her out here, in a primmer, more demure moment...

Page 123 ... is too boring, so here's something from the teaser page that opens the book:

Encouraged, he put an arm completely around her, so that one hand rested on her right breast. Encountering no objection he slid his hand into her blouse, which was low-cut with a natural inviting slit [?]. Feeling no bra against his hand, he was exhilarated holding her breast, so smooth and full, if a bit cool [!!?].


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Paperback 228: Crucible / Ben Ames Williams (Popular Library 113)

Paperback 228: Popular Library 113 (1st ptg, 1947)

Title: Crucible
Author: Ben Ames Williams
Cover artist: uncredited

Yours for: $12

Best things about this cover:

  • "Crucible," Or "The Andrews Sisters Go To Hell"
  • Sadness! Fear! Uh ... Sultry Boredom!

Best things about this back cover:
  • Ugh, text. And not even a break or indention to separate the paragraphs. So lazy.
  • If those three on the cover are "Mary, Phil and Barbara" ... I might have to read this book. I need to know more about "Phil"
  • I can only hope that Ben Ames Williams went on to write a novel called "Leave the Strange Woman to Heaven"

Page 123~

Q. You went into the office? A. I stood in the doorway and reached the switch.
Q. Did that light the hall? A. Yes, enough.
Q. Did you see anything? A. I saw a woman lying on the hall floor.
Q. And you did what? A. Turned on the hall light to look at her.

"If you love page after page of mundane interrogation transcripts, you will love ... Crucible! If you loved Arthur Miller's "The Crucible," on the other hand ... well, that's historically impossible. It won't be performed for the first time for another six years."


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Paperback 227: Wait for Tomorrow / Robert Wilder (Bantam A1181)

Paperback 227: Bantam A1181 (1st ptg, 1953)

[UPDATED, 4pm Monday 5/18!]

Title: Wait for Tomorrow
Author: Robert Wilder
Cover artist: unknown

Yours for: $15

Best things about this cover:

  • "Get your own pillow, blondie! This one's taken."
  • "I know I said I wouldn't kick you out of bed, but ... I'm tired and you're squirmy."
  • "I'm the 'power' and you're the 'human weakness,' got it?"
  • "Help, I've fallen out of bed onto ... this remarkably plush carpet. Where'd you get this?"
  • Love the pseudo-lesbianism of it all: "Are we gay? I don't know ... do you want us to be gay?"

Best things about this back cover:

  • That delayed "... of our times" in the Herald-Tribune blurb is making me laugh. "OK boss, here's the tagline I'm thinkin' of: 'A pungent report' ... wait for it ... 'of our times!' Whadya think? Grabby, right? It tells people the story reeks, and then, just when they think it might be about the Middle Ages - BAM, we drop the contemporary relevance factor. They won't know what hit 'em, no sir."
  • Love the bottom picture - shortest dance audition ever. "Never gonna give ..." "Goodbye. Next!"

Page 123~

Now, though, the doors were thrown open to the public, and the saloon was loud and packed, sprinkled with shrill-voiced women who stood at the bar, drank their whiskey straight, and were aggressively determined to share a dubious equality with the male patrons.

Ah, dames.


Monday, May 11, 2009


Hey all,

My teaching semester is winding down and my printer/scanner problems will be rectified tonight (I hope), so expect a spate of new covers and commentaries in the coming week. Sorry the blog went dead for so long. I promise a stepped-up publication schedule for the next 3+ months at least.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Paperback 226: Roxana / Daniel Defoe (Royal Giant 24)

Paperback 226: Royal Giant 24 (1st thus, 1953)

Title: Roxana
Author: Daniel Defoe
Cover artist: Barye Phillips

Yours for: $20

Best things about this cover:

  • "The piquant classic about powdered peruques and saucy foppish sex games played in front of ornate mirrors"
  • "Pardon me, madam, but I've lost my pinky ring and I was wondering if, perchance, it had fallen between your magnificent breasts. Let me just look ... and look ... still looking ... is that it? ... no ... wait ..."

Best things about this back cover:
  • Wrap-around cover - hot!
  • This is actually the back cover of a VHS tape entitled "Slumber Party Girls of the Restoration Era"
  • "Dance, rummy, dance .... now sing 'I'm Every Woman' ... now raise the roof ... that's it ..."

Page 123~

Under these dreadful apprehensions I looked back on the life I had lived with the utmost contempt and abhorrence.

Been there.