Sunday, June 11, 2017

Paperback 996: Playgirl For Hire / Sylvia Sharon (Domino Books 82-104)

Paperback 996: Domino Books 82-104 (PBO, 1966)

Title: Playgirl For Hire
Author: Sylvia Sharon (pseud. of Paul Little)
Cover artist: photo cover

[Newest addition to the Doug Peterson Collection]

Condition: 7/10
Estimated value: $25-30

Domino82-104
Best things about this cover:
  • "Put down that drink and let's go do some tumbling? Whaddya say?"
  • I assume these ladies are supposed to be facsimiles of Playboy Bunnies (?) but aside from the liquor and the heels, and maybe the floor, this cover seems less "big-time vice" and more "back stage at the taping of a yoga class for public access TV."
  • "Oh, Patti, I feel so enmeshed in big-time vice." "Those are just stockings, dearie."

Domino82-104bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • Ah, the old "daddy issues lead Kitty to sin city" narrative. Klassic.
  • There's a haven for the bored and jaded? How do I get there?
  • No models were harmed in the shooting of the cover photo
Page 123~

Kitty thought it curious that Pearl should suddenly gulp, turn very red, and squirm nervously about as she hastened to reply, "Oh, I do, Miss Wilson."

I wanted to cut that quote short at "gulp," but kept going in the interest of journalistic integrity.

~RP

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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Paperback 995: Take Me In Passion / Donna Richards (Domino Books 72-929)

Paperback 995: Domino Books 72-929 (PBO, 1965)

Title: Take Me In Passion
Author: Donna Richards
Cover artist: photo cover

Condition: 7/10
Estimated value: $15-20

[new addition to the Doug Peterson Collection]

Domino72-929
Best things about this cover:
  • It was a weird time for metal.
  • Opium Addicts Surreptitiously Admire Each Other's Bras
  • "Like the wig? It's Bowie's." "Really!?" "No, I found it in a dumpster."
  • "Maybe we should've gone with a professional stylist...?" "Shhh ... the panther ... he sees us ..." (seriously, what is that shadow?)
  • They had to re-release this book after the original title, Take Me In Indifference, failed to move buyers.
  • Love how the "Adult Reading" notice looks much more like "Exciting Feature!" than "Warning!"

Domino72-929bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • "They had to choose ... but could they?" Look, make up your mind. Those sad shirtless lesbians either had agency or they didn't.
  • No, *you're* the passion's puppet! No puppet, no puppet! (dear future, this is a reference to a 2016 political moment that's probably best forgotten, I'm sorry)
  • Wow, it gets unexpectedly Homeric there at the end, with "foreordained" this and "all-powerful, erotic destiny" that. The gods do love laughing at havoc.

Page 123~

Marty Green waggled his forefinger before the boy's nose. "No . . . you . . . don't! What do you think I am, like that broad I'm looking for? You think I'm queer like her? Well, she's not even my own daughter, what do you think of that? I adopted her, like a damn fool. Imagine? I adopted a queer!"

I know a lot is happening in this paragraph, but I'm kinda still stuck on "waggled."

~RP

P.S. bonus material from p. 123:

"You're drinking nothing! What the hell do you think I am, some kind of a hick? I'm Marty Green!"

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Monday, June 5, 2017

Paperback 994: Rainbow In My Bed / Rex Rainey (Brandon House 1019)

Paperback 994: Brandon House 1019 (PBO, 1966)

Title: Rainbow in My Bed
Author: Rex Rainey
Cover artist: photo cover

Condition: 6.5/10
Estimated value: $25-30

[New addition to The Doug Peterson Collection]

BH1019
Best things about this cover:
  • Since "rainbow" didn't have the queer implications then that it does now ... I have no idea what this means. Maybe that's her name?
  • Design is unique, but terrible. Terribly unique. It conveys nothing. The shattered fragmentation of it all runs counter to the bland tourism-poster pictures and the childish R A I N B O W
  • There is a ski in that middle-bottom triangle. Which is weird, as I can see the sunny seaside in the other picture, and also she does not appear to be dressed for skiing.

BH1019bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • "Nobody came to ski" — ah, yes, well, that explains the cover
  • "Nobody came to ski" is one of the greatest, if not The greatest, sleaze taglines of all time. I intend to use it, suggestively, every chance I get.
  • The skier looks like an anthropomorphic boar. Descending from the sky. On bolts of lightning.

Page 123~

This time it gave and came all the way out with a loud plonk.

~RP

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Paperback 993: The Farm / Louis Bromfield (Signet D1260)

Paperback 993: Signet D1260 (1st ptg, 1955)

Title: The Farm
Author: Louis Bromfield
Cover artist: James Avati

Condition: 8/10
Estimated value: $15-20

SigD1260
Best things about this cover:
  • Hay rides have always sounded like hell to me, but this doesn't look so bad.
  • This is probably the single hottest Avati cover of all time. Note that 99% of all Avati covers involve people standing motionless and looking sad.
  • It really is exquisite as a piece of figurative art—those heads, arms, calves, feet!—and all the peripheral details are rendered with keen-eyed precision as well.

SigD1260bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • Jeez, Omaha World-Herald. Dial it back a notch.
  • I'm here for the hot rural action, not "Indian massacres." Come on, Bromfield!
  • He looks like Mickey Spillane's yokel cousin.

Page 123~

And for days Johnny was haunted by a vision of Greataunt (sic) Jane clad in a pink union suit with a corset cover of passementerie.

When you don't have internet porn, you make do.

~RP

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Monday, May 29, 2017

Paperback 992: The Tents of Wickedness / Peter De Vries (Signet D1827)

Paperback 992: Signet D1827 (1st ptg, 1960)

Title: The Tents of Wickedness
Author: Peter De Vries
Cover artist: Barye Phillips

Condition: 7/10 (crisp and bright, but binding's a bit wonky)
Estimated value: $8-10

SignetD1827
Best things about this cover:
  • I think she's supposed to be sitting on that branch (?), but I like to think she's working the door at the Tents of Wickedness: "Look, you wanna get in, you're gonna have to lose the clothes. Get naked or scram, I ain't got all day!"
  • Seriously, I love her, her defiant attitude, and all her convenient foliage.
  • "... a fancy-free girl who believes in free expression, free verse and free love"—I'm 2/3 with you, sweetheart!

SignetD1827bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • Bah, rehash!
  • "... and wild for to hold, though I seem tame."—Wyatt
  • Cover copy makes author sound irreverent and saucy, whereas author photo makes him look like someone who would burn Sears catalogues to save the world from masturbatory thoughts.

Page 123~

She sat on her side of the bed, with a book of her own in which she was underlining passages heavily with a pencil. I drew her skirt up and pressed a cheek to her thighs, murmuring a declaration in her favor.

"A declaration in her favor" is beautiful and merciful in its openness. Let us imagine (or refuse to imagine). It's better than whatever specific utterance could possibly go there.

~RP

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Sunday, May 7, 2017

Paperback 991: The Silencers / Donald Hamilton (Gold Medal k1392)

Paperback 991: Gold Medal k1392 (2nd ptg, 1964)

Title: The Silencers
Author: Donald Hamilton
Cover art: Uncredited

Condition: 9/10 (unread)
Estimated value: $13-15

GM1392
Best things about this cover:
  • Is that a belt? It looks like Satan's own spatula. Either way, that's *gotta* hurt.
  • What kind of space-age roller-coaster are these people fighting over?
  • I love the effusion of motion lines. Makes a mockery of the very idea of motion lines. Way more lines than there could be motions. Bonkers.
  • I'm guessing the lady is supposed to be bound, but it looks like she was just napping.

GM1392bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • "... a long day's journey into ..." The next word in that sentence should be MURDER, not the painfully anticlimactic "the New Mexico mountains."
  • "God help us all"—man, I didn't realize official file cards got that emotive.
  • "Jimmy Bond!" "Fop!" Take that ... Britain!

Page 123~

"Then somebody heaved a knife and everything went to hell."

Thanksgiving's a rough holiday for everyone.

~RP

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Friday, May 5, 2017

Paperback 990: Sugar Shannon / Adam Knight (Belmont Books 217)

Paperback 990: Belmont 217 (PBO, 1960)

Title: Sugar Shannon
Author: Adam Knight
Cover artist: Uncredited

Condition: 9/10
Estimated value: $20

Belmont217
Best things about this cover:
  • I love this cover. Mostly I love that it's so ****ing purple, and then that the title is yellow and oddly placed. I also love her big, calmly intense eyes, and the way she cradles that gun lovingly between her breasts. Either this is a next-level sexy role-playing scenario, or someone is gonna get very murdered.
  • I know when I go to rendezvous (-vouses?), my preferred method of travel is drifting.
  • Series!? Here's the other Adam Knight book in the Pop Sensation archives—throwback! (2007).

Belmont217bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • Scorching yellow!
  • Tiny Shannon. That is a weird use of the front cover image.
  • Wow, this passage and synopsis tell us ... nothing. It's boiler-plate, bot-written cover copy.

Page 123~

Serena's flat was a paradox. It screamed mediocrity, it stank of the buckeye in art and upholstery.

Don't know what it means, don't care what it means—but "it stank of the buckeye" is my new go-to judgment phrase.

~RP

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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Paperback 989: Once Upon a Dreadful Time / ed. Alfred Hitchcock (Dell 6622)

Paperback 989: Dell 6622 (1st ptg, 1964)

Title: (Alfred Hitchcock's) Once Upon a Dreadful Time (Dell 6622)
Editor: Alfred Hitchcock
Cover artist: Banbury (one name! stylish)

Estimated value: $8-10
Condition: 8/10

Dell6622
Best things about this cover:
  • Alas, poor Hitchcock...
  • Nice self-sideeye
  • Not sure why he's hiding a skull ... from ... himself ... but I'll admit it all looks super-cool.

Dell6622bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • Donald Westlake completists will want to be sure to pick this up
  • Contributors are indeed exclusively male. Women wrote a lot of horror / crime / suspense stories, so the men-only thing here is at least a little weird.
  • The whole Hal Ellson / Hal Elison thing is so weird that his name is spelled both ways in this book (in table of contents, it's ELLSON—which is correct. Here's the NYT also getting it wrong in 1955). And then there's this, from wikipedia:
Harlan Ellison cites Ellson's work as having inspired his own interest in juvenile delinquency — an interest which led directly to the writing of Ellison's first novel, Web of the City. Ellison has also stated that in the earliest days of his career as a writer, he was often mistaken for Ellson writing under a pseudonym — and that decades later, when Ellison had become much more known and Ellson's career had waned, Ellson was often mistaken for Ellison writing under a pseudonym.
 Page 123~ (from "Anatomy of an Anatomy" by Donald Westlake)

At three o'clock on the dot, she heard a thump from above, and knew it was the head.

Westlake is just a champ and that's all there is to it.

~RP

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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Paperback 988: The Trail of Fu Manchu / Sax Rohmer (Pyramid R-1003)

Paperback 988: Pyramid R-1003 (1st ptg, 1964)

Title: The Trail of Fu Manchu
Author: Sax Rohmer
Cover artist: Robert Maguire (credited as "Bob Maguire")

Estimated value: $10-15
Condition: 8/10

PyrR1003
Best things about this cover:
  • Psst, guys, he's up there ... up ... to your right ... your ... my left ... up ...
  • "I say, old man, is he in there?" "I'm afraid not." "Perhaps if you put down your brolly..." "No, I think not." "Well, we've done all we can. Tea?"
  • This cover has all the drama and suspense of two dapper gents opening a green box.
  • I like the inverted male gaze here—instead of two guys ogling naked lady statues, we have naked lady statues ogling two guys.
  • It's not one of Maguire's more memorable covers, but Maguire is Maguire is Maguire; I'll take it.
  • My wife got me this book at The Last Bookstore in L.A., which sounds Uh-mazing.

PyrR1003bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • Blah blah pulp cliche / orientalist nonsense
  • But Nay!
  • This was quite the franchise. I have never read any of these. Wonder if it's worth it...

Page 123~

"We are in part of the workings of an abandoned Thames tunnel. We are together because . . . we are going to die together."

See, I know I'm supposed to be rapt by the dramatic final utterance here, but all I can think of is "Why the hell is 'part of the workings of' in that first sentence!? Do you enjoy murdering sentences? Do You!?"

~RP

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Friday, March 3, 2017

Paperback 987: New York: Confidential / Jack Lait & Lee Mortimer (Dell 1534)

Paperback 987: Dell 1534 (2nd ptg, 1951)

Title: New York: Confidential
Author: Jack Lait & Lee Mortimer
Cover artist: Robert Stanley

Estimated value: $12-15
Condition: 8/10

Dell1534
Best things about this cover:
  • Guys! Dolls! Together!
  • Robert Stanley's people are always ridiculously rich and creamy.
  • Seriously, the art is gorgeous. That dark aquamarine NYC night sky somehow works perfectly.

Dell1534bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • Map! Back! Mapback!
  • It's a pretty dang dull map, from a design point of view, but the "Key" on p. 240 is amazing. All those little numbers on the map represent "Hotels," "Night Clubs & Restaurants," "Theaters," and "Shopping":
Dell1534Key

Also, there are appendices of cool info like "Headwaiters' Names" (!?) and a "Glossary of Harlemisms":

Harlemisms
Harlemisms2


Page 123~

Do not use cheap perfume when night-clubbing (or at any time).

~RP

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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Paperback 986: Unspeakable Practices, Unnatural Acts / Donald Barthelme (Pocket 80771)

Paperback 986: Pocket Books 80771 (1st ptg, 1976)

Title: Unspeakable Practices, Unnatural Acts
Author: Donald Barthelme
Cover artist: Harry Bennett

Estimated value: $12-15
Condition: 9/10

PB80771
Best things about this cover:
  • Holy crap.
  • "Uh ... Martha ... Junior's up."
  • Seriously, though, holy crap. That ain't right.
  • I don't normally go past the '60s with my collection, but I discovered some time ago that '70s paperback covers are their own kind of bonkers. Not always fully painted, but often loopy enough design-wise to be really interesting. I suspect that if I ever start *adding* to my collection again (I've still got ~2000 books I *haven't* written about), I'll be hunting a lot of pristine '70s/'80s-era stuff. I mean, if the 60s were my outer limit 22 years ago (when I started collecting) ... no reason that limit can't shift with the times.
  • Nice to see Harry Bennett's name in the artist credit. Hell, nice to see an artist credit at all. Bennett was a prolific '60s cover artist. No idea how long his cover career lasted. . . whoa. He lived until 2012, age 93.
  • FEEL FREE TO BUY ME THIS ORIGINAL BENNETT COVER PAINTING ANY TIME.
PB80771bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • No, this "text" crap will not do, you stupid '70s blurb-driven back cover.
  • It does make me want to read Barthelme, though, which I haven't done in decades.

Page 123~ (from "Alice")

I want to fornicate with Alice but it is a doomed project fornicating with Alice there are obstacles impediments preclusions estoppels I will exhaust them for you what a gas see cruel deprivements SECTION SEVEN moral ambiguities SECTION NINETEEN Alice's thighs are like SECTION TWENTY-ONE

I need to know all the SECTIONs so I can use them as shorthand I am somewhat interested in SECTION TWENTY-ONE PS there is no punctuation in this story

~RP

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Friday, January 13, 2017

Paperback 985: Runyon First and Last / Damon Runyon (Graphic 30)

Paperback 985: Graphic 30 (1st ptg, 1951)

Title: Runyon First and Last
Author: Damon Runyon
Cover artist: Uncredited

Estimated value: $10-15
Condition: 7/10

Graphic30
Best things about this cover:
  • I oppose fur but that is a magnificent fur. That is an ostentatious, almost comically elongated sleeve. And shoulder pad.
  • I love how she seems to be admiring Runyon's name while poor Slats pleads spectrally in the background.
  • Runyon is a really important early 20c. American newspaperman and short story writer. He records and cultivates a certain hardboiled, slangy, colloquial style that ends up being very influential. You may know him from such things as "Guy & Dolls."

Graphic30bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • Runyonese. I like my ham on rye with extra Runyonese.
  • The titles of these stories alone are worth the price of admission. Soupbone Pew!
  • "Informal Execution" is such a menacing phrase. I'm guessing that one wasn't made into a musical.

Page 123~ (from "Old New Year's")

On this day everybody swears off doing something or other, generally drinking, which is very easy for most people to swear off on New Year's Day, because generally they feel so tough from welcoming in the New Year that they never wish to see another drink again as long as they live, or anyway until they feel better.

I like that usage of "tough." So much more delicately ambiguous than the straight jab of "hungover."

~RP

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Friday, January 6, 2017

Paperback 984: Vanish in an Instant / Margaret Millar (Dell 730)

Paperback 984: Dell 730 (1st ptg, 1953)

Title: Vanish in an Instant
Author: Margaret Millar
Cover artist: Griffith Foxley

Estimated value: $8
Condition: 6/10

Dell730
Best things about this cover:
  • Death comes for Richie and Joanie and the whole Arnold's gang!
  • Two great surprise faces. And then blond dude. Blond dude is like "Hey ... I'm also here ... what's up? Nice knife."
  • My two favorite things about this cover are That Hand and That Ribbon.
  • Margaret Millar was the wife of Kenneth Millar, aka Ross Macdonald. Ross and I both have English Ph.D.s from Michigan. Go Blue.

Dell730bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • It's kinda busy. Swoosh, swish, plummet!
  • "How many mysteries rate THIS kind of rave?" Uh, six! No, eight! Thirty-four! ... what do you mean, "rhetorical"?
  • Gonna need a fact-check on "Not one in a hundred." Sounds kinda made-up.

Page 123~

"Are you still here?"
"Yes."
"Want a drink?"
"Not now, thanks."
"It's rum," she said.

~RP

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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Paperback 983: Angel! / Carter Brown (Signet S2094)

Paperback 983: Signet 2094S (PBO, 1962)

Title: Angel!
Author: Carter Brown
Cover artist: Robert McGinnis

Estimated value: $6
Condition: 6/10 (stupid sticker pull) (8th ring of hell for pb stickerers!)

Signet2094
Best things about this cover:
  • I have always been fascinated by highly localized storms. Here, we see a downpour located exclusively in the butt region of a woman whose name, I gather, is Angel (!)
  • Yes ... a "luscious lass." A very luscious lass. Lass is definitely what I think when I look at this cover. "Nice lass!" I think to myself. McGinnis had an amazing talent for drawing ... lasses. 
  • The wraparound hand! To go with the wraparound gaze! It's an exquisite, if uneventful, cover painting.

Signet2094bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • That's a rather defensive opening claim. I saw the cover. I didn't have doubts. Easy, copywriter.
  • Don't tell Venus she took second. Trust me, when goddesses lose beauty contests, *very* bad things happen.
  • Mavis Seidlitz thrillers!? I don't think I own any of these. Color me intrigued.

Page 123~

"So what happens after the bomb, huh? Tell me that?"

Wow. Timely.

~RP

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