Friday, September 30, 2011

Paperback 461: Imposed Rebellion / James Williams (Fabian Z-127)

Paperback 461: Fabian Z-127 (PBO, 1959)

Title: Imposed Rebellion
Author: James Williams
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $55


Best things about this cover:
  • Bill had told Bess that he was far too old to enjoy a game of "got-your-nose!" but Bess would not be denied.
  • The right hand says "passions" but the left hand says "stabby."
  • I don't mean to be judgmental, but ... those really aren't appropriate swamp-trysting shoes.
  • "I said, 'Watch me pull a quarter out of your ear!?' Why won't you hold still and let me play my games, Bill!?"
  • Possibly the worst title every conceived by humankind.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Wow, they really don't want to tell us about this book.
  • "Sergeant ... Sergeant ... the camera's over here, Sergeant."
  • As this graphic suggests, Sergeant Williams is from Mirror-Image Nevada, which can be found in the alternate universe that also contains "Okinowa."

Page 123~

The joke was a little over Duce's head, but he laughed loud and long. Leola took a sip of her drink and crossed her legs. She had heard some of the best. She cut Duce off.

Such were the mad antics at the Strange Name Support Group.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Paperback 460: American Sexual Behavior and the Kinsey Report (Bantam 227)

Paperback 460: Bantam 227 (1st ptg, 1948)

Title: American Sexual Behavior and the Kinsey Report
Authors: Morris L. Ernst and David Loth
Cover artist: N/a

Yours for: $11

Best things about this cover:
  • Just consider this a sucky cover interlude—if I'm gonna put up all my books, then I'm gonna put up all my books.

Best things about this back cover:
  • The authors have done a service to the "lay public." That sounds about right.
  • Now that I see the cover of the original hardbound edition, I realize I own this book in both editions. Weird.

Page 123~

The Kinsey Report may save a good many homes

For instance, if you get enough of them together, you can fashion a levee.


P.S. please enjoy this forgotten bookmark, which I just pulled from the book while looking for p. 123


The back of this clipping is actually much more entertaining:

Highlights: McCarthy vs. the "Slot Machine King"! Hitler maps! "Jilted Lover Slays Blonde!" and, of course, advice from AUNT HET: "Men shouldn't go visitin' too often. They say about what they said the last time, but it sounds fresh if you haven't heard it for six months." 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Paperback 459: Spill the Jackpot / A.A. Fair (Dell 109)

Paperback 459: Dell 109 (1st ptg, 1946)

Title: Spill the Jackpot
Author: A.A. Fair (Erle Stanley Gardner)
Cover artist: George A. Frederiksen

Yours for: $21

Best things about this cover:
  • When slot machines get drunk (Xs for eyes, dead giveaway), they barf blood and skulls. True fact.
  • This is a fantastic example of the bright, vivid, more abstract covers that Dell tended to feature in its early years. You don't really get the saucy, realistic, Great Girl Art covers until about 1948.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Wow, no wonder people gamble. You can practically feel the monotony coming off the page.
  • Is Hotel Sal Sagev a real place? 'Cause that's some painfully unimaginative naming. Diputs!
  • "Boulder? Sure ... just go down Fremont here past Eighth and then it's just another 775 miles. You can't miss it."

Page 123~

Abruptly he turned and smiled at Bertha. "So sorry, Mrs. Cool, I interfered with you so early in the morning. Try and overlook it. If you people can learn to accept these interruptions philosophically, it's going to be a lot easier on you."

If you are a chronic interrupter, I suggest you memorize that last line. The key to being a dick effectively is: you must go all in.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Paperback 458: Gutter Gang / Jay de Bekker (Beacon Books B108)

Paperback 458: Beacon Books B158 (PBO, 1954)

Title: Gutter Gang
Author: Jay de Bekker
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $20


Best things about this cover:
  • "Psst. Hey, Billy, you gonna hit that?" "Shut up, guys, that's my mom!"
  • "Billy, you come home right now and do your chores! And take that cigarette out of your mouth this instant!" "Aw, mom...! You're makin' me look uncool in front of the guys..."
  • Art director had only one note: "Grimier."
  • I love '50s paranoia about JD (Juvenile Delinquency). I don't know who Norman Anthony is (whoa, I've said that before ...), but I'm sure he was hysterical.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Well, when you have your midnight orgies in the parking lot of the A&P, that'll happen.
  • "Sponsors"=not the word I was expecting. "Hey girls, let's all go to AA!" "Neato!"
  • "B- B- B- Benny's name is Lesk!"
  • Those poor, poor kids. Getting high, fucking ... I really pity them.
  • This book has chapters with titles like "Muggin'," "Chicken," "Hot Gin," and, of course, "Chivalry"

Page 123~ (cheating: p. 122)
I ask him does he live with this folks, and he says he has a mother and a sister but no real father. He said he was a bastard, a real bastard."
I like how she talks about bastards like they were astronauts or yetis.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Paperback 457: Seducer's Sin Chase / Roy Merson (Compass Line Novel CL 144)

Paperback 457: Compass Line Novels CL 144 (PBO, 1966)

Title: Seducer's Sin Chase
Author: Roy Merson
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $14


Best things about this cover:
  • I should start a tag for my posts called "That Crazy Red Wig," because it keeps coming back.
  • That is some awkward panty-taking-off.
  • "To keep my figure trim, I do crunches on a pile of sand I have brought in from the beach every morning. It's dirty and inconvenient, but it works!"
  • This is what happens when your answer to the artist's question "What should I do with the background?" is "I don't fucking care."
  • Roy Merson is among the most pathetic pseudonyms I've ever seen.


Best things about this back cover:
  • The right jab of LUST DRUMMER was followed quickly by the lethal left cross of "stud-wise," and then everything just went dark. I see now that LEWDMONGERS were also involved. Bravo! This thing is so self-parodic that it is threatening to suck all meaning from the room and my life, so I'm gonna stop looking at it now.

Page 123~

She loved Steve, loved him deeply, of course, but love had nothing to do any more with why she was here laying between the Osgoods.

I've never been so sad to see the "lying/laying" error, because other than that, this is possibly my favorite Page 123 of all time. My favorite parts are "of course" and "Between the Osgoods," which is a sitcom I would totally watch.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Monday, September 12, 2011

Paperback 456: Stairways to Sin / Kip Madigan (Fabian Z-114)

[With postscript about "Book Blogger Appreciation Week"]

Paperback 456: Fabian Books Z-114
(7th ptg, 1959)

Title: Stairways to Sin
Author: Kip Madigan
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $14


Best things about this cover:
  • "So this is a sporting-house? Gee, neat. So, where's football and baseball and stuff? ... Badminton?"
  • "Alright, Billy, I'll pull a quarter from behind your ear one more time, but then I have to get back to fucking strangers for money, OK?"
  • Whoever did this cover painting this missed the art class about "perspective." And "proportion." And "good."
  • "Windbreak?" Again, I have to wonder if cover copy in this era wasn't written primarily by ESL students armed only with dog-eared thesauruses and an admirable "what-the-hell" spirit.
  • 7th printing!!!! Unless this thing had print runs of, like, six, I'm stunned.


Best things about this back cover:
  • This is the first time I've ever seen "sporting" to describe prostitution. "I know that when I need a windbreak, I like to go sporting. Works every time."
  • "Though his work is out of tune with the literati" ... HA ha. You could have stopped that sentence after "tune."
  • "Incest for Rene"!?!?! Wow. Worst Christmas ever.
  • Thousands of letters!!!! I would literally (i.e. figuratively) kill to read even a half dozen of those letters.

Page 123~

"I'm not dumb," she said, dauntless, "I'm just ignorant."

"For instance, what does 'dauntless' mean?"


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

P.S. it's something called Book Blogger Appreciation Week. I doubt this blog counts as a book blog in the sense that the Appreciation Week's organizers intend, as it's overwhelmingly about covers, not content. Anyway, here's my part—anyone listed under "Fellow Cover Critics" in my sidebar is worth checking out. My favorite book blog that is not mine is "Caustic Cover Critic." Always thoughtful writing about the good, the bad, and the phenomenally ugly in the world of book covers. And thus ends my contribution to building blogger "community" in anything but the most indirect of ways. Cheers.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Paperback 455: Erotic Interlude / Bob Elmer (Dragon Editions 143)

Paperback 455: Dragon Edition DE143 (PBO, 1966)

Title: Erotic Interlude
Author: Bob Elmer
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: [SOLD!: 9/9/11]


Best things about this cover:
  • OK, I've seen bad wigs, and I've seen Bad Wigs, but this thing wins.
  • She took men to her Fortress of Solitude, where she screwed them and then promptly froze them in pillars of ice.
  • If you just focus on the upper parts of her breasts and chest, this cover looks nice. But if you move your eyes from that spot even a fraction of an inch in any direction: disaster.
  • What's holding up her boobs? Remnants of an old dish rag? Plaster of Paris? A tennis ball that's been cleaved in half and pried open?
  • If you're gonna get yourself a sex machine, you need to make sure it's trained. Untrained sex machines can really chew you up. Trust me.


Best things about this back cover:
  • "UNIQUE SKILL!" — Nice. Nothing sexier than the language of a job resumé.
  • So we're just forgoing indefinite articles in our cover copy now? OK then...
  • I've read Mad Libs that made more sense than this—Mad Libs filled out by kids who don't even know what "adjective" means.
  • This was one of the earliest efforts at sex novel cover copy writing by Professor Frink's Smut-Bot 5000. When you look at it that way, it's pretty good.

Page 123~

The blonde began blazing a trail of kisses down Delia's body. And then her hand began doing things.

Delia hated it when her lovers surreptitiously played "Angry Birds" during sex.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Paperback 454: Twilight Men / Andre Tellier (Lion Books 24)

Paperback 454: Lion Books 24 (1st ptg, 1950)

Title: Twilight Men
Author: Andrew Tellier
Cover artist: Stella Lincoln

Yours for: $16


Best things about this cover:
  • "... and ladies and gentlemen, your host ... Gene Rayburn!"
  • This cover answers the question: "Is there a game show called 'Gay Mystery Date' in heaven?"
  • Kind of odd to have "The Story of a Homosexual" feature a cover with a man emerging from what looks like an ermine-fringed vagina. Or the exploding face of Abe Lincoln.
  • Wait, this tagline feels familiar: "The Story of a Homosexual." Hang on ... yes. Here we go. Interesting. So this is Lion Books 24. Double that number, and you get Lion Books 48, which has *this* tagline:


Just add "SPY"!

And the back cover:


Best things about this back cover:
  • "More Than One Man In Every Five" — now *that* sounds like a party!
  • "... have tasted of the forbidden fruits of homosexuality"; "forbidden fruits" = gay euphemism for "balls."
  • Kinsey! No "frank," but a near-frank in "unadorned." That's pretty close.
  • "We ask that you examine your conscience ... oh, man, it's fucking scary and dark in there. Stop. We take it back. Get out! Shut the door!"

Page 123~

Slips of rejection filled up the pigeon-holes of his desk and overflowed into the drawers.

Whoa. I'm not up on mid-century homosexual slang, but that sounds like some hot gay action.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Paperback 453: So Strange Our Love / Joseph Heron (Newsstand Library U159)

Paperback 453: Newsstand Library U159 (PBO, 1961)

Title: So Strange Our Love
Author: Joseph Heron
Cover artist: Uncredited [Robert Bonfils]

Yours for: $14


Best things about this cover:
  • First impression: yeah, that's pretty strange.
  • Honey, you're gonna have to move that thing a little closer to his face. From the squinting, I'd say dude is clearly too nearsighted to appreciate it from that distance. At this rate, he's never going to put his Eiffel Tower anywhere near your frenzied river, let alone your secret and turbulent rapids.
  • Wow, "forked" is a word that really kills the mood.


Best things about this back cover:
  • OK, I get it, only Mireille. Stop shouting at me.
  • "forked" : front cover :: "nostrils" : back cover
  • "Pointed" — man, talk about your adventures in bad word choice.
  • "... under the touch of his fingers her nipple swelled" — I wonder if that looked anything like this picture we've seen before.
  • I'm trying to find the part in that last paragraph where they actually start fucking. Not entirely clear. If I read it literally, it's like she gets him in some kind of wrestling hold with her legs, and he's cool with that, but then she starts writhing and ululating and speaking in tongues. No wonder he's keeping his distance on the front cover.

Page 123~

She picked up a pack of cigarettes from the table and lit one. "And yet if Johny had been a man, you wouldn't mind it," she said. "When you thought she was a man, you didn't."

If Johny had been a man, he'd have figured out how to spell his name properly. By the way, dude's name is Ken and he's just discovered that MIREILLE! sleeps with girls. Or girl, at any rate.


[Follow Rex Parker on Tumblr and Twitter]

Friday, September 2, 2011

Scanner down! Scanner down!

Hey everybody. Scanner's down. It should be up and running in the next day or so. Hope to have a new paperback up on Sunday.

In the meantime, I need your help. I'm on a quest—a quest to find the phrase "lipstick lesbian" in *any* piece of writing published prior to 1984. Long story short, the rumor that (I swear) I once heard that Ann Aldrich's "Take a Lesbian to Lunch" contained the first known attestation of the phrase "lipstick lesbian" may not be true. I am now actually *reading* said book, and so far, nothing (though it's an Incredible read). Armistead Maupin's "Babycakes" (1984) is the O.E.D.'s earliest attestation for "lipstick lesbian," but Ann Aldrich (aka Marijane Meaker, who generously answers questions posted to her website, god bless her) claims that "Lipstick lesbian was from the fifties, a very common description of the uptown, dress-up lesbian." So that's at least thirty years between when the phrase was allegedly being used and its first known appearance in print. Google Books confirms Maupin as the earliest, and someone tweeted to me that Maupin himself "claims" to have invented the phrase, which seems odd.

At any rate, if you have any knowledge of writing by or about lesbians from the '50s, '60s, or '70s, and think you can track down the use of "lipstick lesbian" in print before 1984, please help me in my quest. Thanks very much.