Friday, August 27, 2010

Paperback 345: Devil Ray, Devil Woman / Seymour Shubin (Beacon 167)

Paperback 345: Beacon 167 (PBO, 1960—Australia ed.)

Title: Devil Ray, Devil Woman
Author: Seymour Shubin
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: not for sale (gift of Doug Peterson)


Best things about this cover:
  • "Do you like my hair up, or ..." "Yeah yeah, sure, now are you gonna get naked or not?"
  • OK, which is it? A Flaming Story or a Sophisticated, Dramatic Tale. I got no time for this wishy-washy in-between crap.
  • "To Most" is my very favorite part of the cover copy. I mean, "in search of forbidden excitement" makes so much more sense, but any reasonably qualified copy writer could come up with that. It takes a true master of whatthefuckery to rephrase it so that we're left wondering not just what the excitement is, but for whom it is not "forbidden" but entirely licit.
  • She has a nice figure. I'm just sayin'...
  • I hope she's standing well away from the bed, bec. otherwise she is a giant or that smoking (!) hot guy is criminally diminutive.
  • That's one slab of a bed.
  • Worst title! "The woman, she is a like a Devil Ray, in that she is devilish, and ... Devil Ray has the word "devil" in it, so ..." Imagination!


Best things about this back cover:

  • Ugh. It's a text bloodbath back here.
  • So this is an ordinary soft-core sex novel, with stock footage from a Jacques Cousteau special? I can't wait.

Page 123~

"Sure no one a beer?" and now Tony was in the doorway.

I swear to you that I have typed that exactly as written, character for character.


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PS I *thought* I'd seen this cover somewhere before. Well, I hadn't, but here's something close: Paperback 63, Variation on a Theme:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Interlude—from a defunct school book giveaway ...


Somehow, this is *not* a book about a young male prostitute.

Any guesses what Thomas's "toughest opponent yet" is (non-serious guesses welcome!)


Monday, August 23, 2010

Paperback 344: 5 Beds to Mecca / Rod Gray (Tower 43-944)

Paperback 344: Tower 43-944 (PBO, 1968)

Title: 5 Beds to Mecca (The Lady from L.U.S.T. #4)
Author: Rod Gray
Cover artist: Uncredited [Paul Rader]

Yours for: Nope—staying here (another gift of the generous Doug Peterson)


Best things about this cover:

  • As Doug can testify, this one left me completely speechless—or, rather, it left me saying "Oh my god" repeatedly until I took it all in. I mean ... I've seen the gun/crotch motif before, but scimitar/crotch! That's a new one.
  • Well, that's *one* way of taking care of unwanted hair ...
  • I am guessing that you were so blown away the vagina dentata that it took you a while to notice that this lady is also carrying a gun (!) in her completely useless garter (!!?).
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E. spawned a number of these kinds of parodies in the '60s. "L.U.S.T." is one of the better acronyms I've seen, in that the literal explanation is completely plausible.
  • I think this cover is designed to make you (man) wish you were that sword. Legs spread, hands wrapped around hilt ... etc. Fans of subtlety will have to look elsewhere.


Best things about this back cover:

  • Not just white slavery—Milk-white slavery!
  • "Hypodermics hiss" is my favorite part of this nonsensical paragraph.
  • Kama Sutra? Huh. I guess east is east is east.
  • "Shiekh" is apparently a brand of shoes. I've never seen that spelling otherwise.

Page 123~

"Unbelievable," she whispered. "There is no sag, despite their size. It is as if they were equipped with springs."

Other randomly pulled quotes include:

"My vaginae constrictor muscles were the only part of me that moved."


"You have a couple of cannons yourself," he quipped, eyeballing my female-female breasts, all 38 inches D cup of them, where they stood at attention, brown nipples saluting. They were rock hard as they aimed themselves at his broad chest."

"Let's shoot each other," I suggested.


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Friday, August 20, 2010

Paperback 343: The Mesh / Lucie Marchal (Bantam A1923)

Paperback 323: Bantam A1923 (1st new Bantam ptg, 1959)

Title: The Mesh
Author: Lucie Marchal
Cover artist: photo

Yours for: Not for sale (one of three 'new' books I got from Doug Peterson this past weekend)


Best things about this cover:

  • "Strange," "hidden," "forbidden" ... there's a reason it won the "LES Lettres Françaises" prize!
  • Love the title font. Ambivalent about the colors. Also, why aren't these telegenic French lesbians wearing mesh? I was promised the mesh, I want to see the mesh.


Best things about this back cover:

  • "Inbred!?"—jeez, nice metaphor.
  • There's nothing lesbians like more than a good "psychological probing." Oh, and "Balzac."

Page 123~

As long as I live I shall never forget the sight I beheld when I opened the bathroom door, a sight which even today I do not know whether to call obscene or pathetic, but which I know was the start of the subsequent profound change in my whole outlook and my life.

The "sight" involves a topless woman washing a dog. Dum dum DUM!


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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Paperback 342: I Fear You Not / Ben Kerr (Popular Library 763)

Paperback 342: Popular Library 763 (PBO, 1956)

Title: I Fear You Not
Author: Ben Kerr (pseud. of William Ard)
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: Not For Sale


Best things about this cover:

  • "C'mon, this is prime lady flesh. At $4.95 / lb. ... you're not gonna get a better price than that!"
  • "Take My Wife... seriously, take her, she's drivin' me and my pal Barney here nuts!"
  • "Hi, Steve? I'm just calling you from my bubble bath to tell you that I fear you not, OK? OK, bye."
  • *He Bought Cops The Way He Bought Women ... With A Nice Dinner And A Little Sweet Talk*
  • "Down I Go," HA ha.
  • The exclamation point motif (continued, in spades, on the back cover) is Exquisite.


Best things about this back cover:

  • Poor Rita: "Ok, I've got on a sweater, parka, overcoat, headscarf ... so how 'bout now?" "Nope, sorry, you still look naked." "Damn it!" "Maybe tweed will work. Try tweed."
  • Poor Paul: It's hard to come out to your mom, on the phone, in the '50s.
  • Poor Gloria: She just looks really, really stupid.

Page 123~

He watched dispassionately as her shadowy figure gathered up clothes and put them on. It was a lithe young figure, a pleasure to watch in motion, but its bloom was aborning."
Easy on the thesaurus work there, Yeats. "Aborning?!" As in "Your writing is 'aborning' me to tears?"


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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Paperback 341: Crooked House / Agatha Christie (Pocket Books 753)

Paperback 341: Pocket Books 753 (1st ptg, 1950)

Title: Crooked House
Author: Agatha Christie
Cover artist: Paul Kresse

Yours for: SOLD! (10/10/10)


Best things about this cover:
  • Extreme Close-Up!
  • The needle—beautifully rendered, with fantastic detail. Has an apparent weightiness and heft, a solidity, that makes it really stand out. The indentation of needle on skin is a wicked little touch. Nice.
  • The talons—nothing accentuates a hypo cover like sexy/sinister blood red nails.
  • I guess "Crooked House" is a more mass-market-friendly title than "Granddad's Heroin Addiction"


Best things about this back cover:
  • Well, there's one "Who?" for each of the listed suspects, but somehow piling them up in a line there at the end diminishes their rhetorical effect / makes the imagined narrator sound like a psychotic owl.
  • Someone named her child "Clemency?" "And this is my brother, Parole, and my sister, NoloContendere."
  • Most enigmatic description I've seen in a while: "Death meant something special to weak-looking Laurence." With that kind of set-up, Laurence better be a carrion-devouring zombie or I'm going to be Very disappointed.
Page 123~

"My dear Sophia, do you really think an old gentleman of over eighty is the best judge of a child's welfare?"

Judging by the cover, grampa's got bigger problems than being 80.


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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Paperback 340: Youth Against Obscenity / Sharron Michelle as told to Rex Nevins (Saber Books 106)

Paperback 340: Saber Books SA-106 (PBO, 1966)

Title: Youth Against Obscenity
Author: Sharron Michelle as told to [!!!?] Rex Nevins
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $25


Best things about this cover:

  • All this female flesh and I'm somehow obsessed with the driftwood (!?)
  • These ... I'm gonna say 'triplets' ... have very nice bodies but scary alien faces.
  • Love the cross-legged guy—just havin' a cig, checkin' out the view...
  • "As told to" is perhaps the richest, awesomest thing about this cover. "Mmm, authenticish."


Best things about this back cover:

  • If you made it through that second sentence (let alone the whole description) with even a fingernail still clinging to the main idea, you're a better (wo)man than I am.
  • How is this description simultaneously massively detailed and exceedingly vague?: Crusading against "something?" Selling photos to "a segment of the public?"
  • "Of whom..." It's like an earnest 14-yr-old wrote this.
It should be said that there are hand-written / cursive marginalia all over this book—2nd page has the beginnings of a detailed synopsis (breaks off mid-sentence [!?]) and first page has one-line rating: "VVVG perhaps the best of my 30 books"—seriously, this book's owner Really liked this book. Like the person who wrote the back cover copy, this book's owner also comes across as an earnest 14-yr-old.

Page 123~

Danny looked at Betty again, only this time his eyes took in her hair, breasts, legs, and buttocks, all at once.

It's an well-seasoned leerer who can take in breasts *and* buttocks "at once."


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Paperback 339: The Case of the Backward Mule / Erle Stanley Gardner (Pocket Books 6083)

Paperback 339: Pocket Books 6083 (5th ptg, 1961)

Title: The Case of the Backward Mule
Author: Erle Stanley Gardner
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $6

Best things about this cover:
  • A conceptual mess. What century is it? Why is the space princess massaging her scalp, and what does it have to do with bizarrely mustachioed Chinese man on the donkey? No wonder I've never heard of "Terry Clane" and "Inspector Malloy"—how do you expect to get an enduring series off the ground with this muddled a marketing campaign?
  • "Behold, as Eva Gabor summons miniature Chinese ghosts from the distant past using the power of her Magic Updo!"
  • God, the more I look at this cover, the uglier and sillier it gets. Different colors on all the different (stupid) fonts? I'd cut Everything But The Girl and start over.

Best things about this back cover:
  • "Don't touch anything! You're leaving blue fingerprints everywhere!"

Page 123~

"In our business, we don't do too much speculative thinking, Mr. Clane. We investigate. And when we investigate we make it a point to cover all of the possibilities."

"I see."

"Even," Malloy went on, "including that poker-faced Chinese servant of yours, Yat T'oy."

"I see."


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