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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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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