Sunday, November 29, 2009

57 Books from the University Book Sale: Book 22

Title: You'll Like My Mother (Fawcett T1418, 1969)
Author: Naomi A. Hintze
Cover artist: Harry Bennett

Yours for: $5

  • "I think I *will* like your mother. She sounds ho- ... whoa! Is that her? Oh ... man. I, uh, I have this thing I have to go to now. Band practice, I think."
  • MILF! (Mom I'd Like to Flee)
  • "Maybe if I hide under this giant Fabio wig, mom won't see me..."

  • Dear Best Sellers, "THEY" has no antecedent. Thank you.
  • We need to revive the word "CHILLER-DILLER"
  • Book-of-the-Month Club News is creeping me out with its metaphors. "It's like watching a demonic baby emerge from the birth canal. You'll love it."
Page 123~

In my mind's eye I fixed a firm picture of that fawn-and-brown cat catching that one gray rat. One rat; there were no more.

This is, by far, the most interesting thing happening on this page.


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Saturday, November 28, 2009

57 Books from the University Book Sale: Book 21

Title: Too Late the Phalarope (Signet S1290, 1956)
Author: Alan Paton
Cover artist: uncredited

Yours for: Whatever

  • The "phalarope" is a wading bird, and not, as it sounds, a rope made out of penis.
  • The background of this cover is an abstract horror show. Total fail.
  • Well, N.Y. Herald Tribune, you were half right.
  • Publishing imperative: do not, under any circumstances, mention "race" on the cover. "Instead of 'white,' why not try 'most respected'? And for 'black,' consider some version of 'forbidden.'"

Page 123~

And he would not eat in the sun, but in the house; and he would not eat at all, but drank many cups of coffee, and smoked the cigarettes. And again he said, what's the talk amongst the black people, Johannes? But the boy could tell him nothing of account.


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Thursday, November 26, 2009

57 Books from the University Book Sale: Books 18-20

Biography Edition — three lovely ladies to spice up your Thanksgiving

Yours for: you tell me!

Title: Red Carpet for Mamie Eisenhower (Popular Library G164, 1956)
Author: Alden Hatch
Cover artist: photo!

  • Note to Mamie — hire a portrait painter next time. You are lovely, but this photo makes you look like a girl nervously awaiting her prom date
  • Love the Marilyn Monroe / stripper gloves. The bangs ... not so much
  • I'm hoping "folksy" means something different than it does today (where it's code for "white and backwards")

Title: The Elizabeth Taylor Story (Hillman MF-1, 1961)
Author: Alan Levy
Cover artist: photo!

  • Superior book design compared to the other two bios today. Love the font and alternating colors on the title, and the 90-degree tilt to the author's name. Plus, the photo's hot
  • This book is numbered "MF-1," which would be a badass name for a private plane
  • Yowza!
  • I must tell you that Alan Levy is the "author of Operation Elvis" (acc. to the title page)

Title: There Goes What's Her Name: The Continuing Saga of Virginia Graham (Avon V2153, 1966)
Author: Virginia Graham
Cover artist: photo!

  • "There goes what's her name ... you know, the one who looks like a drag queen with a tidal wave of shellacked hair..."
  • I love the false modesty of the title. "Aw shucks, I'm a nobody but OMG HERE COMES MY NAME IN BIG YELLOW LETTERS!"

Page 123~ (from "... What's Her Name")

It is almost as unheard of to be sentimental in today's world as it is for a teen-ager to stand when an adult walks into the room.

Almost as uncommon as the hyphenated spelling of "teen-ager."


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Saturday, November 21, 2009

57 Books from the University Book Sale: Book 17

: Stratford-Upon-Avon — Illustrated Guide Book (1933)
Author: n/a
Cover artist: no

Yours for: SOLD (11/21/09)

  • I bought this exclusively for the maps, both the cover map an the (sizable) fold-out area map inside (immaculate).
  • Lots of photos / maps inside, and huge chunks of advertising in front and back, including one for "Dr. J. Collis Browne's Chlorodyne — safe and reliable family remedy for INFLUENZA, coughs, colds, catarrh, asthma, bronchitis." Also something called "diarrhœa"!
  • "Foreign Orders Receive Prompt Attention" — that's code! It's a papist plot! Man your punts!

Page 123~

GLOUCESTER is a busy city with none of the placid charm of Tewkesbury, but it has many features of interest.


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Friday, November 20, 2009

57 Books from the University Book Sale: Book 16

Title: The Education of a Poker Player (Cardinal, 1961)
Author: Herbert O. Yardley
Cover artist: N/A

Yours for: SOLD (11/21/09)

  • I love this book. Design is impeccable. Vegas/neon-style font = total WIN.
  • All poker players should look like this guy. Those douchebags on ESPN2 make me want to stay as far away from the game as possible, but I would sit next to Fred Mertz here.
  • "Lusty!?" — not a word I would have associated with this guy, but OK. Good for him.
  • OMG it's an interactive quiz cover!
  • "One Big Pair" — see "Lusty," front cover.

Page 142 (page 123 is a buncha technical poker stuff) ~

The only kibitzers were Maria, Bing, who spied on foreigners, and a Polish girl who broadcast Chinese propaganda — for what reason I could never understand, but then most foreigners managed to get on the Chinese payroll.


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Thursday, November 19, 2009

57 Books from the University Book Sale: Book 15

Title: Lipika (Jaico, 1969)
Author: Rabindranath Tragore (trans. Indu Dutt)
Cover artist: I doubt it

Yours for: the taking

  • I have no idea what this is. I got it mainly because I have no other pocket books from India.

  • What in the world do they do at "InterCulture Associates?" Really hoping it doesn't involve mail-order brides.
  • "India's Own Pocket Editions" — take that, you Penguin-pushing UK bastards!

Page 123~

Indra: —Whether it is progress or retrogress, the fact remains that whatever brings disruption it produces frustration. When the Great moves away from the sphere of the small, the greatness becomes meaningless like a burdensome load.

Talk about a "burdensome load" ...


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Monday, November 16, 2009

57 Books from the University Book Sale: Book 14

: Down These Mean Streets (Signet 3471, 1968)
Author: Piri Thomas
Cover artist: photo

Yours for: Whatever

  • A stirring tale of laundry!
  • I got this only for the title, which comes from Raymond Chandler's "Simple Art of Murder": "Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean ..."
  • "Attempted Killer!?" As Sideshow Bob once famously said about "attempted murder": "Now honestly, what is that? Do they give a Nobel prize for attempted chemistry? Do they?"

Page 123:

I tried to dig myself.


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Saturday, November 14, 2009

57 Books from the University Book Sale: Book 13

Puzzle in Patchwork (Curtis Books 07304, 1973)
Author: Elizabeth Gresham
Cover artist: uncredited

Yours for: best offer

  • "A crazyquilt of terror" is one of the best pieces of cover copy I've read on these old books. Or one of the worst. At any rate, it's original.
  • Yes, that's a hoof. The title says quaint cozy, but the cover painting says sadistic torture porn.
  • "So Lovely, So Deadly" = So LAZY!!! Where are my quilting metaphors!?
  • Wow, this series of books is like a parody of stupid, endless mystery book series. At some point I imagine the titles will run out of fabrics/materials that start with "P" and head in the direction of foods, i.e. "Puzzle in Pepperoni," "Puzzle in Peanut Butter," and "Puzzle in Pork."

Page 123~

"Today, around two-thirty, the 'hobo feller' came back to Pike's store. Bought a cud, as before, and stood around. The phone rang and he said, 'I expect that's for me,' and answered it ..."
"Bought a cud, as before, and stood around" is perhaps the greatest sentence that God has given man on earth.


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Friday, November 13, 2009

57 Books from the University Book Sale: Book 12

Title: You're A Riot, Andy Capp
Author: Smythe
Cover artist: Smythe

Yours for: SOLD 9/18/10

The follow-up to the hugely successful "Andy Capp Sounds Off," "Andy Capp Strikes Back," and "Andy Capp Beats His Wife Into a Coma Then Has a Pint of Stout and Watches Rugby"

Page 123 (or thereabouts) ~


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Sunday, November 8, 2009

57 Books from the University Book Sale: Books 8-11

A Mess of March ... I'm moving all the NGAIO MARSH titles to the front of the queue (literally, Roger Daltrey sang the word "queue" as I typed it just now ... freaky coincidence) because one of my readers seems to have a thing for her :)

Book 8: Singing in the Shrouds (Berkley, 1960)
Cover artist: photo?

  • A book that takes on the collapsing telecommunications system, apparently
  • Her miniskirt has its own miniarm.

  • Finally, someone has tamed the wild, native, animalistic mystery novel and made it "civilized literature." Where's my houseboy with the tea!?

Book 9: Death of a Peer (Pocket 475, 1947)
Cover artist: Aargh, uncredited

  • This lady's got Fear Hand (TM). In fact, she appears to have a double case of it.
  • Ouch. Skeleton key to the eye. That's gotta hurt.

  • Well if it's WEALTHY, of course we care...

Book 10: Death of a Fool (Avon T-254, late '50s)
Cover artist: Uncredited

  • Fear Hand! (TM)
  • Jenny recoils in horror as she sees that her gardener has failed to blow all the leaves off her front lawn. And squirrels on her bird-feeders!? Oh, the humanity.

  • Inspector Alleyn arrives to cut through the heathen nonsense of the simple souls. Civilization! God save the Queen, wot!

Book 11: Swing, Brother, Swing (Pocket 762, 1951)
Cover artist: Lew Keller

  • "Swing, Brother, Swing ... for Hepcats only, man!"
  • Secret ingredient to all good mystery cover copy — just add "... with DEATH!"

  • I'm sorry, I started laughing at "accordion" and haven't stopped yet


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Saturday, November 7, 2009

57 Books from the University Book Sale: Book 7

Title: Death in a White Tie (Fontana Books, 1960)
Author: Ngaio Marsh
Cover artist: John L. Baker (or is that the book owner's signature in the bottom left corner?)

Yours for: make an offer

  • New Zealand in the House!
  • Uh, that tie is not white.
  • Henry was busy entertaining no one with his drunken soft shoe routine when the Rolls Royce came creeping around the corner.
  • I contend that there is no way Henry can see that car, despite the fact that he *appears* to be looking at it.
  • I would say that Henry looks like he's sliding across a newly waxed floor, but in fact he appears to be levitating.
  • Whoa! That is not the author pic I'd use to sell pulp fiction. She looks like she's dreamily recalling the Good Old Days (i.e. the reign of Queen Victoria).
  • LOVE the apostrophe-as-abbreviation marker on 'PHONE. Marsh was always so street, always hip to the lingo of kids those days, etc.

Page 123~

"The ball was a great success, I believe."
"Yes. Lady Carrados was born under a star of hospitality. It is always a source of wonderment to me why one ball should be a great success and another offering the same band, caterer and guests an equally great failure."

It is always a source of wonderment to me that anyone ever found aristocrats inherently interesting.


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Thursday, November 5, 2009

57 Books from the University Book Sale: Book 6

Title: The Official AAF Guide Book (Pocket Books, 1944)
Author: Uncredited (Forward by H.H. Arnold, Commanding General, Army Air Forces)
Cover artist: Uncredited (tiniest signature ever, but I can't make it out — back cover, right where the clouds meet the clear sky on the left...)

This was published in the summer of '44, when the War was still in full swing, so everything about the war is written in present tense. Tons of photos of war footage, of plane types, of insignias, of shoulder patches, etc. If you are into military history — of if you are the "Ralph" or "Theresa" whose names are written in cursive on the cover— let me know and I'll send this to you. It's kind of fantastic.

Publisher info page indicates that it is a "War Time Book" (strict restrictions on paper usage during the war)


Back cover:


Title page! (I wonder if "Mother" and "Dad" have anything to do with the "Ralph" and "Theresa" of the cover)

Page 123~

In the AAF, we enter into a partnership with our machines and instruments.


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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

57 Books from the University Book Sale: Book 5

Title: The Man in Lower Ten (Dell D276, 1959)
Author: Mary Roberts Rinehart
Cover artist: Muni

Yours for: best offer

  • I'm intrigued the modernist book design in the book hammock
  • More gruesome lefthanditude
  • This cover gets awesomer once you realize that it is a wrap-around...
  • Free verse. Interesting. I am imagining this being read at a Poetry Slam. Now I'm imagining it being read by Garrison Keillor. Both versions have their charms / horrors.
  • "Confirmed bachelor" — awesome! The main character is gay! That must be why there's that dash for shocking emphasis in the phrase "he fell desperately, unequivocally / in love — with a woman!" [gasp!]
  • Mmmm, 9. My favorite number. I am the man in lower nine.

Page 123~

Hotchkiss had penetrated the steaming interior of the cave, and now his voice, punctuated by the occasional thud of horses' hoofs, came to me.

What are horses hoofs doing in the middle of an otherwise very hot sex scene?


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Sunday, November 1, 2009

57 Books from the University Book Sale: Book 4

Title: Stairway to an Empty Room (Popular Library, undated — early/mid-60s)
Author: Dolores Hitchens
Cover artist: uncredited

Yours for: best offer

  • Oh, snap!
  • Stairway to a massive car interior
  • His left hand is Disgusting — like the claw of some mythical, horrifying sea creature
  • "They said 'just lift the neck' ... why ain't there no candy comin' out! What good's a life-sized Pez dispenser if it don't put out!?"
  • Dolores Hitchens is actually a pretty good writer

  • One-armed, bow-legged spy with wide, rectangular wang = interesting logo choice
  • "Expertly tautened!" — next time I see a pair of high, firm breasts, I'll know what to say

Page 123~

Biddy's fingers writhed inside Monica's. The hot eyes were frightened and unsure. "You let me alone. You get out of here."

If only that first sentence read "Biddy's fingers writhed inside Monica" — I might be inclined to read it.