Thursday, December 31, 2009

57 Books from the University Book Sale: Book 32

Title: Inside the John Birch Society (Gold Medal d1141, PBO, 1961)
Author: Gene Grove
Cover artist: photo

Yours for: $7

  • Because nothing says "Happy New Year" like the John Birch Society
  • Can you be shrouded in non-secrecy? Shrouded in fame? Redundant, I say, to thee, Mr. Grove.
  • Look out! Commie! ... sorry, false alarm. This Welch guy's just got me all spooked.

  • I'm kind of with him on the republic vs. democracy thing.
  • That part about Eisenhower is the real departure-from-planet-earth moment for the Birchers (hmm, similarity to "Birthers" — Coincidence? Or Conspiracy!? ... since "Birchers" isn't a word anyone uses, I'll say "Coincidence").
  • Someone sent me a "news" article about the dangers of the H1N1 vaccine, only ... it was from the John Birch Society's website. Said person was mortally and rightly embarrassed when I pointed this out.

Page 123~

In charging during a 1961 speaking tour that some 7,000 Protestant clergymen are Communists or "Comsymps," Welch was parroting the charges of one of his closest associates, J.B. Matthews.

"Comsymps"! Why didn't that catch on? Let's bring it back for '010! Happy New Year, Comsymps!


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Sunday, December 27, 2009

57 Books from the University Book Sale: Books 30 and 31

Don't ask me why, but these two seemed to go together...

Title: The Old Man and the Boy — Crest d555 (1st ptg, 1962)
Author: Robert Ruark
Cover artist: N/A

Yours for: $5

  • Imagine a simpler time ... when a book with a title like this wouldn't scream "pedophilia"
  • Hey, look, it's the highly unasked-for and unauthorized sequel to "The Old Man and the Sea"
  • "Long story short, I shot that boy and his head now hangs over my fireplace."
  • "Straight from the exciting experiences ..." — please, please don't tell me.
  • The real title of this book is "Tomatb Hlanho Edndey," which is Swahili for "White Man In Silly Clothes Thinks He's a Hunter"

  • Please tell me that the guy with the spear is not "The Boy"
  • Two things I don't want my reading material to be — "homespun" and "salty"
  • "Smells?"
  • "Everyday living" — imagine the kind of balls you'd have to have to use that phrase above that picture.
  • Deciding his quarry was too fat and stupid to bring him honor, the warrior turned and walked slowly home.
Page 123:

The Willie was about half coaled out, and he was flopping and spluttering in the water.

I don't even know where to begin ...

Title: How to Work with Tools & Wood — Pocket Books 1057 (1st ptg, April 1955)
Author: Fred Gross (ed.)
Cover artist: photo (Meyer Studios)

Yours for: $10

  • I believe this is the sequel to "The Old Man and the Boy," wherein the old man takes the boy to see his dunge-... I mean, workshop.
  • "Have you ever ... worked with wood, Billy?"

  • This back cover is a relief, as it is mercifully dull instead of nightmarishly suggestive.

Page 123~

As the bottom is accessible from the end, it may be sawed out and then trimmed to line with the chisel if necessary.

That's some good handyman porn.


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Sunday, December 20, 2009

57 Books from the University Book Sale: Book 29

Title: No Surrender (Pocket Books 247, 1st ptg, 1943)
Author: Martha Albrand
Cover artist: Manso

Yours for: $5

  • If it weren't for the dude with the helmet and rifle, I'd think this was a novel about the music scene in Amsterdam. That guy's trying to sneak into a club to see bands from the Dauntless Dutch Underground.
  • Since this is the Netherlands, I'm assuming that thing behind our hero is a giant bong.

  • "Quisling" is just one of the best words in the English language (or any language, I'd imagine). This plot actually sounds a little awesome.
  • His name anagrams to RUN, VAN IS MONIKER

Page 123~

After a long time the professor sighed.


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Thursday, December 17, 2009

57 Books from the University Book Sale: Book 28

First, an announcement. The winner of "The Secret of Sylvia" (as determined by is ... MARLA! Send me your address and I'll get the book out to you ASAP.

Now, onto a new book!

Title: Pastoral (Ballantine X757, 1963)
Author: Nevil Shute
Cover artist: uncredited

Yours for: $5 (free if your hair is shaped like a massive sideways comma)

  • "I promise — I will return with the cure for Wedge Head. And then ... I Will Find You!"
  • I got nothing else. Her hair is the only reason I noticed this book at all.
  • "Urgent, tender and strong" is making me giggle a little

  • Happy 110th birthday, Nevil Shute!

Page 123~

The Dane smiled ruefully.

Honestly, one of my favorite "Page 123" quotes in a long time


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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Blurb That Book! — "The Secret of Sylvia" (1963)

Title: The Secret of Sylvia (Gold Medal k1308, 3rd ptg, 1963)
Author: Lee Borden
Cover artist: uncredited

So recently a reader wrote me asking for "Lady Into Fox" (one of the weirder covers I've ever featured on this site). I was gonna let him have it for the price of postage, but instead we did something novel — we decided to swap books. In exchange for my sending him "Lady Into Fox" (which, frankly, is still sitting here unsent, because I'm lazy), he would send me a ... surprise book from his own collection. Well, surprise! It arrived yesterday, and it turns out: I already own it. So I'm giving it away to one of you — randomly-selected commenter gets it.

Was going to go with "Best Comment" wins it. But then reconsidered. While I really enjoy most of your comments, I knew that if I'd had to pick a winner ... well, my money would have been on "Random Chinese Spammer." That guy's just too good.

Prove me wrong, kids. Prove me wrong.


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Monday, December 14, 2009

57 Books from the University Book Sale: Book 27

Title: Danger Woman
Author: Abel Mann
Cover artist: [Roger Kastel] Kastel? Kassel? Signature is super faint, and there's no credit

Yours for: $8

  • Short-lived Wonder Woman nemesis of the Swingin' '60s
  • This cover was painted in cheap lipstick
  • Fabulous painting in the parts that have people. The rest is the kind of sloppiness-posing-as-avant-garde that I hate
  • She is doing a bad job of hiding that gun
  • "The Danger Woman" is a woefully unimaginative name
  • "It" seems to have two antecedents. Or does "It" refer to the two prior statements. If so, then I am sure one of my students wrote this cover copy.
  • Apparently The Danger Woman has a right-handed twin
  • So ... she never said no to a job? Nope, no jokes to make there

Page 123~

"You think I should have a child."
Bertha wrung her hands. "Please."
"Don't you, Bertha?"
"Such a beautiful body — a young girl's body — unfulfilled," Bertha said.


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Sunday, December 13, 2009

57 Books from the University Book Sale: Book 26

Title: The Lost God & Other Adventure Stories
Author: John Russell
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $5

  • A book about black people with bones in their noses worshiping the mysterious aquanautical god of the sea ... this is sure to be inoffensive!
  • It took me so long to see what was going on in that lower right corner. I thought there was some weird dude in a white mask and owl poncho following the lead dancer. But the owl poncho is a shield and the white mask is the aquanaut's shin and what I thought was some odd hair/helmet is the head of a man who is looking for the contact lens he just lost.

  • "Doubloons!" — this word is inherently amusing.
  • "... have been favorably compared to ..." HA ha. Way to skirt the specifics. "These stories are reminiscent of Kipling and O. Henry, in that they are printed on paper and in English."

Page 123~

Ah, they were striking at each other's naked breasts, these two. With naked weapons. And neither of them shirked it. Not the girl, who sent back as good as she got—not Bibi-Ri, who took even that last terrible thrust.

Oh, Henry!


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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

57 Books from the University Book Sale: Book 25

Title: What Happened to Amy? (SBS T 579, 1969)
Author: Jane Edwards
"Cover design by" [???]: Julio Freire

Yours for: I think I have to give this to my sister

  • Guess 1: her chin grew a hand-like appendage
  • Guess 2: she bought a hideous shade of lipstick at Woolworth's
  • Guess 3: she was drowned in a flood of Depression-colored paint
  • Guess 4: an alien life form (part fox, part scorpion) attached itself to her cranium
  • Guess 5: she caught sight of herself in the mirror after one of her evil sisters abused her hair in the middle of the night while she was sleeping: "Oh ... boo hoo ... I used to look like Crystal Gale ... sob."

  • "Leave her clothes behind"?? — I may have to revise my list of Guesses

Page 123~

"This affair gets more mysterious all the time. The more we find out, the less we know."


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PS Thanks to Dan at "The Casual Optimist" for including this site in his list of "10 Websites for Vintage Books, Covers, and Inspiration"

Monday, December 7, 2009

57 Books from the University Book Sale: Book 24

Title: Down to Eternity (Gold Medal s550, 1956)
Author: Richard O'Connor
Cover artist: I think that's Charles Binger's signature

Yours for: $5

  • "Efxcuse me, sfir, you're pholding my head afwittle tight..."
  • "Does this life jacket smell clean to you, Mary!? Well does it!? Whoa, is that an iceberg?"
  • Next time you really want to annoy a woman, accuse her of riding the "P.M.S. Titanic" (that's what that life jacket says, right?)
  • This book was reviewed in the New York Times (found this page trying to hunt down the date of this book, which appears to lack a proper title and publishing info page)

  • Easy on the bloated hyperbole, junior.
  • Oh, R.M.S. Titanic ... yeah, that makes more sense.

Page 123~

Still clad in his dressing gown, he bustled around the boat deck and undoubtedly made a great nuisance of himself.


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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

57 Books from the University Book Sale: Book 23

Title: Lady into Fox (& A Man in the Zoo)
Author: David Garnett
Cover artist: "Loew" (see signature under the "Lady" — can't find an artist credit)

Yours for: postage

  • Yes, if my Lady turned into a (literal) Fox, I would look Exactly like that guy.
  • Actually, the fox may be mildly hotter than that lady, whose face and boobs appear to have been oddly pancaked.
  • Her veil / neckpiece is awesomely monstrous, like it's eating her head.
  • She appears to be twirling those flowers between her palms rather than just holding them.
  • The definition of "tore up!" (def. 2)

Page 123~

It was therefore decided that Mr. Cromartie should go straight back to his cage, though it was impressed upon him that he would not be expected to be on view to the public any longer than he wished, and that he must lie down to rest in his inner room for two or three hours every day.


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