Showing posts with label Hall of Fame. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hall of Fame. Show all posts

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Paperback 827: It Ain't Hay / David Dodge (Dell 380)

Paperback 827: Dell 380 (2nd ptg, 1949) (reprints Dell 270)

Title: It Ain't Hay
Author: David Dodge
Cover artist: [Gerald Gregg]

Estimated value: $30

Dell350

Best things about this cover:
  • Kind of a big deal.
  • Not just the best Gerald Gregg cover, but one of the best covers of all time.
  • The book that answers the question: why was Dartmouth always coming in last in crew?
  • Also the book that answers the question: is it hay?
  • It's hard out there for a ferryman. So Charon devised himself a backrest.
  • The ferry is also a coffin that is at least partially powered by weed that creates smoke art of hot naked ladies. I dare you to find a weak link in this cover.

Dell350bc

Best things about this back cover:
  • Of course it's San Francisco. Would've been a real surprise to turn this book over and find a map of downtown Orem.
  • "Mexican Waters" … which are somehow on land.
  • This map is super awkward. Why is the "California Coastline" part even here? Do we really need all that coastline just to have a tiny number pointing to mysterious "Mexican Waters?" It's like the map designer was, I don't know, high or something.

Page 123~
The main building, perched at the tip of the spit, was surmounted by a huge painted sign: THE BREAKERS—Coca Cola, Beer, Mixed Drinks, Sandwiches, Chili Beans, Sea Food Dinners—DANCING—Cottages For RentSouvenirsFishing Tackle—SWIMMING.
~RP

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Paperback 824: Bullet Proof / Amber Dean (Popular Library SP294)

Paperback 824: Popular Library SP294 (1st ptg, 1964)

Title: Bullet Proof
Author: Amber Dean
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $15

PopSP294

Best things about this cover:

  • Wow, turns out you can do A Lot with a fairly monochromatic palette. This is fantastic.
  • For a simple cover, it's amazingly suspenseful. Great use of light, especially on her face. Her face is the key—the craning around and the look of wide-eyed horror really sell the idea that something terrible is just on its way, just out of view.
  • The creepiness of the bondage is amplified ten-fold by the simple, naked mattress. How can a cover be so elegant and so sleazy at the same time?


PopSP294bc

Best things about this back cover:

  • I still hate this logo. It does not look like "CRIME." It looks a poorly executed fertility statue.
  • "Virginia Kirkus calls it 'non-stop'"—that made me LOL: "Seriously, it wouldn't stop. I as like 'Stop! Why won't this story stop!?' But it just kept going!"
  • "Readable!"—these just get better and better. "… in that it was made out of recognizable words, which were arranged in vaguely grammatical patterns…"

Page 123~

"It was their job, Hallie. Police have to learn how to destroy human dignity, or they'd never break through the really calloused, the hardened."

I'm just gonna leave that there.

~RP

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Paperback 820: Strangers on a Train / Patricia Highsmith (Bantam 905)

Paperback 820: Bantam 905 (1st ptg, 1951)

Title: Strangers on a Train
Author: Patricia Highsmith
Cover artist: Stanley Zuckerberg

Yours for: $17

Bant905

Best things about this cover:

  • That dude wins Best Everything at the Paperback Cover Art Oscars. Best Eyes, Best Facial Expression, Boniest Hands, Best Gun-Caressing, Best Damned Trousers On The Planet, etc.
  • What year is it? She looks she just walked out of a saloon circa 1889.
  • This cover reminds me that I really need a flask. Bourbon is never close enough at hand.


Bant905bc

Best things about this back cover:

  • Even the handwriting is "tense and frightening."
  • "Superbly Revolting" is my new go-to ambiguous pseudo-compliment.
  • You can't really see what the original hardcover art was like, but I assure you, it's pretty bleeping ugly. And no Demented Trouser Guy, so … I'll stick with the cheap stuff, thanks.


Page 123~
He longed to merge his life with hers.
And the winner for Best Euphemism goes to …

~RP

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Paperback 764: The Sirens of Titan / Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (Dell First Edition B138)

Paperback 764: Dell First Edition B138 (PBO, 1959)

Title: The Sirens of Titan
Author: Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Cover artist: Richard Powers

Yours for: $65

DellFE138

Best things about this cover:
  • Yes, *that* Vonnegut.
  • This year's sexiest accessory—the asteroid belt!
  • God bless Richard Powers. Most of his stuff does not contain what is traditionally known as "Great Girl Art" (GGA), but … this'll do.
  • I love her electric blue emanations.
  • Seriously, the colors on this are Gorgeous.

DellFE138bc

Best things about this back cover:
  • Wow. Terrible cover copy—at least in the headers.
  • I have not read this book, but it sounds like the future is not awesome. How can that be?
  • Isolation of the female figures here is a nice touch. Not sure why they have a handle. But I don't mind.

Page 123~

Unk went into the furnace room and closed the door.

He was excited, though he didn't know why. He began to read by the light from the dusty window.

Dear Unk:—the letter began.

~RP

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Paperback 757: Hammett Homicides / Dashiell Hammett (Dell 223)

Paperback 757: Dell 223 (1st ptg, 1948)

Title: Hammett Homicides
Author: Dashiell Hammett
Cover artist: Gerald Gregg

Yours for: $30

Dell223-1

Best things about this cover:
  • Taste the (lead) rainbow!
  • Uh, guys? I think it's probably dead now.
  • I see a pretty butterfly.
  • Gerald Gregg is my favorite early, semi-abstract, non-sleazy cover artist.

Dell223bc

Best things about this back cover:
  • [ahem] … MAPBACK!
  • So iconic—Hammett's S.F.!
  • Sausaleto? What the?! … aw, I can't stay mad at you, mapback! Come here!

Page 123~ (opening paragraph of "The Main Death")

The captain told me Hacken and Begg were handling the job. I caught them leaving the detectives' assembly room. Begg was a freckled heavyweight, as friendly as a Saint Bernard puppy, but less intelligent. Lanky Detective-Sergeant Hacken, not so playful, carried the team's brains behind his worried hatchet face.

~RP

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Paperback 703: Honey in the Flesh / G. G. Fickling (Pyramid G411)

Paperback 703: Pyramid G411 (PBO, 1959)

Title: Honey in the Flesh
Author: G. G. Fickling
Cover artist: Harry Schaare

Yours for: Must keep, if only for back cover

PyrG411

Best things about this cover:
  • I'm finding her cleavage both sexy and distracting. It's great if you don't think too much, but there's something proportionally and positionally off about her (mostly not visible) left breast. Like it's high and up and in. I actually love her dress and wish I could see more of it. And of course the gun is the perfect accessory.
  • Hurray for female private eyes, of whom there were (pre-1980s) far, far too few.
  • "The bodies beautiful" must be referencing some concept that had currency once that I don't know about. I feel like I've heard of "the body beautiful set" before, but that may be from some other, cheesier paperback that I own. That's a very romance-language construction (noun adjective). English doesn't normally ... do that.

PyrG411bc
[Click to see full size]

Best things about this back cover:
  • Straight-up Hall-of-Fame back cover concept. You know how dull these things can be. But this? Visually arresting and also kind of hilarious (I mean the "Age" and "Physical Description" parts, not the dead parents part). 
  • Not the best insurance application "photo" I've ever seen. Or maybe it is, as I don't think I've ever seen one.
  • God bless a book with a clear cover artist credit. 
  • Honey West and Mark Storm, your News 5 Weather Team.

Page 123~
"I've read about guys like you."
"Oh?"
"They get their kicks by squeezing two things at the same time."
"I don't follow you, Honey."
"The second squeeze is on the trigger."
"What trigger?"
"The one you've got buried in my ribs."
"What?"
Eventually, Godot shows up.

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Friday, September 20, 2013

Paperback 698: Vulcan's Hammer / Philip K. Dick // The Skynappers / John Brunner (Ace Double D-457)

Paperback 698: Ace Double D-457 (PBO/PBO, 1960) 

Title: Vulcan's Hammer / The Skynappers
Authors: Philip K. Dick / John Brunner
Cover artists: Ed Emshwiller / Ed Valigursky

Yours for: Not for sale

AceD457

Best things about this cover:
  • Bang bang Vulcan's space-age hammer came down upon his head
  • Prototypes for the robot in "Short Circuit."
  • I think a double-flashlight pincer hammer would actually be a pretty cool tool. 
  • I like to think they're little styling hammers, making our hero look fabulous.

AceD457.2

Best things about this other cover:
  • A nice visual representation of what happens Every Time I try to peel a hard-boiled egg.
  • That's some pretty sweet quintessential '60s sic-fi goodness. Best rockets always look like they came out of a kit and have a maximum of 8 parts, total.
  • They kidnapped the sky! Or else they nap on planes, not sure.

Page 123~ (from "Vulcan's Hammer")

Halfway across the Atlantic they passed an immense swarm of hammers streaking toward helpless, undefended North America.

Other continents had presciently installed anti-Vulcan's Hammer technology decades earlier. Silly North Americans.

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Monday, September 2, 2013

Paperback 691: Tutor From Lesbos / A.P. Williams (Beacon B731X)

Paperback 691: Beacon B731X (PBO, 1964)

Title: Tutor From Lesbos
Author: A.P. Williams
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $55

BeacB731X

Best thing about this cover:
  • OK, Lesson One: how to sit in a chair.
  • In order of awesome: sunglasses, butterfly chair, wig, sweater set.
  • I'm imagining the frugal parents who are excited about this ad. "'No charge'! What a deal!"

BeacB731Xbc

Best things about this back cover:
  • The question we've all been asking all our lives.
  • "Love" quote unquote hahaha. Oh, Ginny, Ginny, who can I turn to ...?
  • "Consider the emotions of..." Well, that's a new angle.
  • "Feel the despair of..." Ditto.
  • So the dad *watches*? Gross/hot.
  • LOL uncontrollably at the last four sentences on this back cover.

Page 123~

[Hamilton] [...] worked at his desk until lunchtime, when he walked into several downtown shops and finally purchased an ugly gray fedora and a pair of sunglasses. These would render him inconspicuous, he figured, and enable him to blend in with the other drinkers at the lesbian bar. He had heard that dark glasses were worn as a badge by the city's questionable element.

Finally I understand why lesbians are constantly hitting on me every time I put on a fedora and sunglasses. Thank you, "Tutor From Lesbos"—aptly, you have taught me so much. Also, I would join a gang / club / sleaze appreciation society called "The Questionable Element."

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Paperback 690: Go Down, Aaron / Chris Davidson (Ember Library EL376)

Paperback 690: Ember Library EL376 (PBO, 1967)

Title: Go Down, Aaron
Author: Chris Davidson
Cover artist: Uncredited [Robert Bonfils]

Yours for: Not For Sale, partly 'cause I just wanna keep it, partly because I'd feel guilty profiting in any way from this thing (probably worth something north of a C-note)

EL376

Best things about this cover:
  • The title is ... amazing. I mean, if you can ignore completely the horrible Nazi / gay erotic nexus for, like, one second, you have to appreciate the wordplay involved in that title. Changing "Moses" to Aaron ... punning on the phrase "Go Down" ... playing "Third Sex" off of "Third Reich" ... seriously great.
  • The painting is also fantastic in its composition. I mean, again, horrible, but just the way the naked man is framed by the Nazi's legs, the way the Nazi's crotch is illuminated / represented by steel bars, the details on the uniform (belt, gun, trousers, whip (?), boots ...). And all in an unusual Green. Jaw-dropping.
  • This is among the most flat-out outrageous books in my collection. It takes "Sleaze" to 11. It's also in astonishing condition. I'd rate it 9/10, condition-wise.

EL376bc

Best things about this back cover:
  • Yuck.
  • What's the difference between a "deviate" and a "deviant"?
  • I'm trying to imagine finding any of this arousing. Not judging, though. Different strokes, as it were.

Page 123~

"The Master requests your presence in the study, sir," the servant informed Aaron.

Hmmm, this is a kind of prison I'm not familiar with.

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Paperback 681: Sweet and Deadly / Verne Chute (Popular Library 443)

Paperback 681: Popular Library 443 (PBO, 1952)

Title: Sweet and Deadly
Author: Verne Chute
Cover artist: [A. Leslie Ross]

Yours for: $12

Pop443

Best things about this cover:

  • So Many Great Things that I'm kind of paralyzed. I saw this last weekend at a bookshop in Ithaca and snapped it up without even looking at the price. I think this is one of my 20 favorite covers of all time.
  • So Much Action. The cover would be worth it for her alone—the baddest-looking Girl With a Gun in my collection—but we get Smashed Face McTireIron thrown into the bargain as well. How many ways were they planning on killing that poor blond guy?
  • Suicide doors!
  • Double Fear Hand! Or is he just dancing because she said so?
  • The art here balances pure hard-boiled action with a soft, luminous delicacy. Love.


Pop443bc

Best things about this back cover:
  • That's what they all say.
  • Wow, that's some pretty overt gropiness there at the beginning.
  • "What did you say your name was? 'Methane?'" "It's MEL Thane, doll. Don't you forget it." "I already have."
  • If that blond guy is Mel, I am *super* glad she shot him.

Page 123~

Mel's match lighting a cigarette made a harsh sound. "I've got a sort of client who's being blackmailed. He managed to steal a few things out of a blackmail mob's file . . ."

Ew, Mel is the *detective* in this story? Oh well, my desire that he get shot stands.

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Paperback 651: Mystery Walks the Campus / Annette Turngren (Berkley Books G-158)

Paperback 651: Berkley Books G-158 (1st ptg, 1958)

Title: Mystery Walks the Campus
Author: Annette Turngren
Cover artist: Harry Schaare

Yours for: $6

BerkG158

Best things about this cover:
  • "Mystery" would be a pretty cool girl's name, come to think about it.
  • This is a great cover painting. No, really. It's clearly geared toward a female audience (i.e. the woman is  in serious student mode and decidedly non-tarted-up), so it doesn't have what we'd normally call "Great Girl Art (GGA)," but she's *really* well rendered. I love art that conveys tension through small movements, especially as those movements are captured in clothing. I'm mesmerized by her right foot, as well as the flow of her jacket and the wrinkles across the front of her skirt. Her environment is pure noir. All rain-slicked pavement and moonlight/streetlight. Good stuff.
  • This reminds me of a specific part of the U Michigan campus—specifically, where campus proper meets South U. Ave. But I'm guessing this also looks like about a million campuses.

BerkG158bc

Best things about this back cover:
  • Endicott! I live near there. 
  • You gotta love a mystery that turns on "the mutterings of a parakeet." I imagine the parakeet pacing in his cage, smoking and then occasionally saying something about what you can do with your desire to hear him "sing."
  • I like how excited the Christian Science Monitor is about addiction and compulsion.

Page 123~

They took a cab home, and Wendy tried hard to be pleasant—and sympathetic about the headache. But she had a feeling it was as non-existent as Sky's hay fever had been the night of the barbecue supper. Sometimes I'd like to shake her, she thought.

As if Sky's name alone isn't reason enough to want to shake her.

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Friday, May 3, 2013

Paperback 637: The Way the Cookie Crumbles / James Hadley Chase (Pocket Books 77922)

Paperback 637: Pocket Books 77922 (1st ptg, 1974)

Title: The Way the Cookie Crumbles
Author: James Hadley Chase
Cover artist: photo cover

Yours for: $15

PB77922

Best things about this cover:
  • Is the drug in the needle gonna make the mimes go away? If so, shoot me. Now.
  • I'm sorry. I said "mimes." What I meant was "mimes hovering over my death bed."
  • I don't know what corner-mime is miming, and I really don't want to know.
  • Design team leader: "Well, the title refers to cookies, so I'm thinking... chicks, drugs and mimes. What do you think?"


PB77922bc

Best things about this back cover:
  • JAIL BAIT. Sure, sounds good. There's been no image continuity or discernible theme so far, so why start now?
  • If her morals are ripe, shouldn't they be at their peak? Is she chaste? Is that what you're saying? I don't think that's what you're saying.
  • Aaaaaand ... a murderous dwarf. Of course. Perfect. OK, I think we're done here. Unless there's a kitchen sink someone wants to shoehorn into this plot somehow.

Page 123~

"Oh, never mind. Why didn't you get yourself some clothes, Jess? I sent you enough money."
"What the hell do I want clothes for?"
"Paradise City isn't New York. You can get picked up by the cops for looking the way you do."
"Frig the cops!"

If you ever wondered where N.W.A. got their inspiration for "Fuck Da Police"—well, now you know.

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Paperback 617: Ski Gigolo / Lew Lessing (Kozy Books K109)

Paperback 617: Kozy Books K109 (PBO, 1960)

Title: Ski Gigolo
Author: Lew Lessing
Cover artist: Uncredited

From The Doug Peterson Collection (new acquisition)

Kozy109

Best things about this cover:
  • Baby, it's cold outside. But also hot. And it's formal, so you'll need heels. Perfect!
  • Capt. Kirk's younger brother Gordie had an elf fetish and took a Lot of drugs.
  • Purple and green. Just ... 'cause.
(And now for the back cover. Brace yourselves ... if you suffer from coulrophobia, you'll want to look away now. Trust Me.)

Kozy109bc

Best things about this back cover: 
  • I know.
  • I know.
  • When Doug handed me this book this past weekend, a bunch of us spent several gasping minutes trying to figure out just what the hell we were looking at.
  • "Did somebody call a shirtless doctor clown?"
  • "They ran out of clown hats, so I just got one of them oversized drink umbrellas. Looks good, right? Yeah, I see you like it. What you doin', crunches?"
  • Good luck getting that chest hair out of your brain tonight.

All appearances to the contrary, this is not the cover of a second book. It's an ad (???) for another book in the Kozy series. You can decide for yourself if the final cover is any less soul-chilling:


I know. Tough call, right?

Page 123~ (of Ski Gigolo, just to be clear)

[I'm literally laughing as I open the book, before I've even read a word...]

He had just begun to feel the tactile pleasure of touching her.

Later, he would enjoy the ocular pleasure of looking at her.

But wait, there's more:

Kurtz forgot about the noises outside. The touch of Dorothy was too distracting, the pleasure too intense at being able to touch the pelvic region and feel the firmness of her skin respond with an involuntary twitch. 

Somehow this all seems like it goes better with the doctor-clown cover. "It's time for Dr. Laffs to touch your pelvic region until your skin twitches involuntarily. Baby."

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Paperback 616: Cop / Jack Karney (Pocket Books 898)

Paperback 616: Pocket Books 898 (1st ptg, 1952)

Title: Cop
Author: Jack Karney
Cover artist: Stanley Zuckerberg

Yours for: $10

PB898

Best things about this cover:
  • I love this cover so much it hurts. Where to begin? 
  • The framing! They're apart, but together, but apart, but ... and such a contrast in tone. Male/female. Calm/kinetic. White/pink. Dressed/undressed. Professional/domestic. On and on. And on. And their expressions! Revealing but enigmatic. Is he here to arrest her? Sleep with her? Both? And how does she feel about that? Excited? Headachey? Feels like there's a thousand pages of subtext in this one shot.
  • The pink! Such a bold color choice, and the last color you'd expect to have "COP" written over the top of it. 
  • The title! Bold, simple, and apparently, by its slight angle, printed on the surface of the door ...
  • The detail! The careful positioning of his hand, the texture of the metal fixtures on the door, the stockings, the cigarette. A thousand points of awesome.
  • Total lack of blurb / cover copy. Exactly the right choice for this cover. I'll supply my own overheated blurb, thanks.

PB898bc

Best things about this back cover:
  • "Get wise!" I love how this book talks. Stop making me love you so much, "Cop"!
  • OMG, the back cover is talking not to me, but to Joe! And I'm just eavesdropping, I guess.
  • The problem of Joe's "conscience" says a lot about that front cover—shake her down? Take her to bed? Walk away? Does it matter? 

Page 123~
For the next five minutes the cab driver told Joe what he thought of cops in general, citing cases to prove his point that the hackie and the policeman were natural enemies. When he finished, he said, 
"I can smell a cop a mile off. Fact, I just look at a guy and can tell how he makes a buck. You look like a lawyer."
Swing and a miss, hackie!

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Friday, February 1, 2013

Paperback 601: Ace Double D-347 (1st ptg / PBO)

Title: Play For Keeps / The Corpse Without a Country
Authors: Harry Whittington / Louis Trimble
Cover artists: Uncredited / Uncredited

Yours for: $25

AceD347

Best things about this cover:
  • Perspective!
  • Other shoe!?
  • Come on, Vogue!
  • Garters!?!?! Even in imminent-death, sexy as hell.
  • I am very, very, very distracted by the placement of his pinky finger / left side of his hand.
  • Is that Fear Hand or Buh-Bye Hand?
  • "GOOD"!!! LOL x a million.

AceD347Flip

Best things about this other cover:
  • Death Is A Sexy Southern Belle Raining Fuchsia Death From Above.
  • The Corpse Had Womanly Hips.
  • Actually, that looks like me coming out of savasana at the end of yoga class.

Page 123~

"I should have killed you. I knew. When you came in. You'd figured it. I knew. I saw it in your face."
"Too bad, Tony. It's all too bad."

Too Bad Tony would be a great nickname. Also, "It's all too bad, Tony" would be the closing aria if this were a musical / opera.

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Paperback 579: The Score / Richard Stark (Donald Westlake) (Pocket Books 35014)

Paperback 579: Pocket Books 35014 (PBO, 1964)

Title: The Score
Author: Richard Stark (pseud. of Donald Westlake)
Cover artist: Harry Bennett

Yours for: No way (probably worth $50-75 in this (perfect) condition)

PB35014.Score
Best things about this cover:
  • A fine paperback original by one of my very favorite crime writers. If I had to save just a dozen books from my collection, this would probably be one of them.
  • Startlingly original cover painting by Harry Bennett. Brilliant use of the windshield as a frame-within-the-frame, highlighting Parker and his gang of robbers by stark contrast with the darkness of the imposing, cover-filling truck. Little highlights of color here and there really pop. Red background adds an intense, menacing edge to the whole scene. Just great.
  • I'm reading my way through all the Parker novels right now (well, when I get time in between all the damn reading I have to do for work). Just finished teaching "The Hunter" in my crime fiction class—the opening of that book is one of the greatest opening chapters / pieces of character development I've ever read.

PB35014bc.Score

Best things about this back cover:
  • IFFY! "Goddam!"
  • Now the truck is (literally, visually) riding on "IF..." Nice. 
  • "It was so stupid it might even work."—the creative team behind "Crystal Pepsi"

Page 123~

Just at four a.m. they entered the Command Room and found the three bodies; all three were now dead.

That post-semicolon part is brutal, particularly the "now."

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Paperback 570: The Big Bite / Charles Williams (Dell First Edition A114)

Paperback 570: Dell First Edition A114 (PBO, 1956)

Title: The Big Bite
Author: Charles Williams
Cover artist: Arthur Sussman

Yours for: $30

DellFE114

Best things about this cover:
  • If, god forbid, I ever get taken hostage, please let it look like this.
  • I love this so much. Sexy, menacing, and depraved. Manages to combine realism, abstraction, and surrealism into one hot, delicious tableau. The orange background is inspired. That bed frame is like something out of a Tim Burton film.
  • The small details make this painting exquisite—her: the haughty eyebrows, the cocky hand-on-hip, the neglected negligee strap, the ambiguously hovering cigarette hand (Will she offer him a drag? Burn his thigh? Who knows!?). Him: the resigned backward tilt of his head, the perfectly framed limp hand, the perfect-electric-white shirt. This is hall-of-fame cover art, for sure. 

DellFE114bc.BigBite

Best things about this back cover:
  • MWAH!
  • That "life's a jungle" paragraph is about as good an expression of noir philosophy as I've read since the Flitcraft story in "The Maltese Falcon."
  • Charles Williams was a paperback hero. Well admired by crime fiction aficionados, long forgotten by most others.

Page 123~
She said nothing. I went on out and got in the car. On the way out of town I stopped at a small grocery and bought a dozen cans of beer and some more supplies for the kitchen. I picked up a roll of the plastic film they use to wrap things in a refrigerator with, and two rolls of scotch tape. I bought fifty pounds of ice, wrapped it in an old blanket, and shoved off for the lake. 
I love the "How-the-fuck-am I-supposed-to-know-what-Saran-wrap-is-called!?" attitude of this paragraph.

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Paperback 563: Canterbury Tails / Bjorn Peters (Adam's Gay Readers 148)

Paperback 563: Adam's Gay Readers 148 (PBO, 1986)

Title: Canterbury Tails
Author: Bjorn Peters
Cover artist: yes

Yours for: ... well, I can see exactly one copy of the book on sale, at ebay, for $103, so ... $1,000,000 (or best offer)
AGR148.CantTails
Best things about this cover:
  • I assume this is a modern version of the Nun's Priest's Tale, since that tale centers on a cock.
  • As a friend of mine noted, *that* sandwich will not fit in *that* lunchbox (p.s. that's what she said).
  • I love fall weather—cold enough for a down vest, hot enough for a shirt unbuttoned all the way below the navel.
  • I love how the artist captured the expression on sandwich guy's face precisely at the moment he realizes what his co-worker is suggesting. [Needle scratching on record!]
  • After yet another unsuccessful audition for Village People '86, Raymond needed the comfort that only a fellow hard-hat could provide ...
  • "Bjorn" is funny on many levels. Most notably, its first two letters.

AGR148bc.CantTails

Best things about this back cover:
  • Really? "Surey?" That's your name? Are you sure? Or sorry? And what kind of circus font is that?
  • If this is Adam's Gay Reader #148, how bad, HOW BAD do I want Adam's Gay Readers #1-147!?

Page 123~ (drum roll, please)
Having Jim's cock filling my mouth, and mine filling his, made me feel closer to him than I had ever felt to anyone.
The word "literally!" comes to mind. Understatement, thy name is Bjorn Peters! [slow clap => standing ovation]

P.S. this sample is not atypical. Virtually every sentence of this book is this unintentionally awesome. Who knew words like "gullet" and "starchy" (!?) were erotic!? A revelation. Five stars.

~RP

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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Paperback 524: The Farmers Hotel / John O'Hara (Bantam A2203)

Paperback 524: Bantam A2203 (4th ptg [1st thus], 1960)

Title: The Farmers Hotel
Author: John O'Hara
Cover artist: [James Avati]

Yours for: $10

Bant2203.Farm
Best things about this cover:
  • I love this cover. Specifically, I love the use of text—generously sized and spaced, in gorgeous contrasting white (like the snow it's describing), in a 1/2-cover sized block that abruptly Stops and leaves the lower half quiet as 3am. 
  • James Avati is best known for doing Every Damn Cover for Signet for several years, but this is up there with my favorite work of his. I clearly need a "Sexy Staircase" or "Woman Ascending a Staircase" or "Staircase Puts Woman's Ass at Man's Eye-Level" tag. This is not the first
  • I love how the painting is so still (very Avati), and yet there is subtle motion in both him (rounding the corner) and her (slowly ascending, with a slight but meaningful over-the-shoulder glance).
  • The dress is the thing. Magenta pops against the monochromatic brown background, as well as against the creamy V of her upper back. So, to sum up, Love.



Bant2203bc.Farm

Best things about this back cover:
  • Less love, though this does make me want to read the book.
  • This is the second version of this book that I've featured on this blog.
  • "Jerry Mayo and the Pickwick Sisters" would be a Great band name.

Page 23~ (book is only 119pp. long)

The quiet of the room was almost total, but not peaceful.

~RP

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Paperback 479: The Torrid Teens / Orrie Hitt (Beacon B294)

Paperback 479: Beacon B294 (PBO, 1960)

Title: The Torrid Teens
Author: Orrie Hitt
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $50


TorridTeens.JD

Best things about this cover:
  • Home. Run.
  • Too many great things to list. The title! The garters! The menacing shadow men! I mean, I realize that this painting depicts what appears to be a sexual assault in progress, and obviously sexual assault is bad, but as sensational covers go, this one is gold. 
  • This book should be called "Everyone's Hands Were Awesome." A triad of terrifically expressive hands.
  • "You told ma you'd be home for dinner at 6, and as you can clearly see from my visible watch face, it's almost 6:30. Why must you succumb to vileness and the twisted desire to stay out past dinner time?"


TorridTeensBC.JD

Best things about this back cover: 
  • One of the ugliest line drawings I've ever seen on a paperback cover. Reeks of Dickensian squalor. 
  • I think he's trying to do this trick where he lights a match using only his teeth and her breast.
  • Why does honesty always have to be so brutal? What did we ever do to honesty?

Page 123~

"The kids in the gang were pretty good to you," he said. "They could have told the cops you were with them on the rumble, but they didn't. That could have hurt you a lot and I don't think it would have made your mother very happy."

Little did he know that her mother was actually a long-time subscriber to "Rumble Fancier" magazine.

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]