Friday, December 30, 2011

The P. Morrison Donations #5: Case of the Duplicate Daughter / Erle Stanley Gardner (Pocket Books 4504)

The P. Morrison Donations #5

Pocket Books 4504 (1st ptg, 1962)

Title: The Case of the Duplicate Daughter
Author: Erle Stanley Gardner
Cover artist: Uncredited [Robert McGinnis]


Best things about this cover:
  • "OK, who threw egg at the wall!? I'm going to sit on these scones until somebody tells me!"
  • Love the feather-fringed teddy, but it would be much hotter without the ornate pantaloons, which make it look like a giant tulip is swallowing her leg.
  • "Come now, darling, you're far too old to be smearing the floor and wall with marmalade and then throwing flowers everywhere."


Best things about this back cover:
  • Does this "down arrow" mean something, "duplicate"-wise? It's on the front cover, and the back cover, and the title page?
  • OK, so now we know his client did *not* murder Vera Martel. Also, that his client is fond of giving his daughters slightly odd names. The only other place I've seen the name "Glamis" is in Macbeth (title character is "Thane of Glamis" at beginning of the play; he's promoted to "Thane of Cawdor" in Act I).

Page 123~

Judge Boris Alvord excused the witness and regarded Perry Mason with thoughtful speculation.


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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The P. Morrison Donations #4: The Case of the Lonely Heiress / Erle Stanley Gardner (Pocket Books 6027)

The P. Morrison Donations #4

Pocket Books 6027 (4th ptg, 1960)

Title: The Case of the Lonely Heiress 
Author: Erle Stanley Gardner
Cover artist: Uncredited


Best things about this cover:
  • The people from PETA have learned to spraypaint *very* legibly.
  • No idea who the cover artist is here, but he/she clearly doesn't have enough confidence in his/her GGA (Great Girl Art) abilities. She looks phenomenal, and really deserves to be taking up more front cover real estate.
  • Maybe ease up on the orange jewelry a little, though.
  • Cigarette holder! Chic!


Best things about this back cover:
  • The answer is no, but only because I'm 42 and scrupulously honest.
  • In case you didn't see Raymond Burr down there ... GIANT RED ARROW TO THE FACE!
  • I wish the plot of this book was that Perry Mason led a double life, trolling for lonely women on the pre-internet, killing them, and then ending up having to solve the very crimes he committed. 

Page 123~
With the glaring overhead light out, Marilyn Marlow could see Lieutenant Tragg clearly now, a tall, somewhat slender, well-knit individual whose clean-cut features were a welcome relief from the heavy faces of the officers who had been leering at her.

Marilyn Marlow then said, with a predatory coyness, "You must be Humphrey Bolgard. They said you were well-knit, but—" She ran her eyes down the length of his frame and back up again "—well, there's knit and there's knit, and boy are you knit."


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Sunday, December 25, 2011

The P. Morrison Donations #3: So Lush, So Deadly / Brett Halliday (Dell 8055)

The P. Morrison Donations #3 — Dell 8055 (1st ptg, 1971)

Title: So Lush, So Deadly
Author: Brett Halliday
Cover artist: photo


Best things about this cover:
  • Talk about your $20 photo shoots, dear lord.
  • Possibly the least manly cover I own. A slap fight? Girl's got a gun aimed at your head and you're gonna swat at her like she's a fly? I'm guessing that one second after this picture was taking, the girl with the gun just shook her head, said "pathetic," and walked away.
  • Interesting how the fabric around their midsections appears blurred with motion. I'm just so so so glad the yellow towel didn't move any further.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Dotty De Rham! Why am I not collecting these names!?
  • I'm not sure I understand where the "Carnival" metaphor is coming from.
  • Arson is a cardinal sin?
  • The coolest private eye swings into hot action! Oh, Mike Shayne, you're the paradoxiest!

Page 123~

She was bouncing in his arms. He took her by the shoulders and made her hold still. She was still wearing the same short nightgown.

Mall Santa: After Hours.

Merry Christmas!


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Friday, December 23, 2011

The P. Morrison Donations #2: Lady Ann / Donald Henderson Clarke (Avon 105)

Title: Lady Ann (1st ptg, 1946)
Author: Donald Henderson Clarke
Cover artist: Uncredited


Best things about this cover:
  • Pencil Mustache is trying to change TV channels with his mind. Veronica Lake thinks maybe it's time to give it a rest.
  • Hmm. A dress made of fondant. How avant-garde.
  • This author sure likes to give his book's women's names.
  • I *love* the little calling card stuck in the "frame" of this "painting." The "frame," however, is a hideous piece of ornate crap.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Opaque paper!? That's my favorite kind of paper! Oh, boy!
  • Resistant to "rough usage." So go ahead, smack your kids around with 'em. See if they don't retain their readability. And if a little blood gets on there, no matter, as they "can easily be washed clean."

Page 123~

"Aw, for Hell's sake!" Noodles Noonan exclaimed. "Shut up. You dirty, weazened little no-good leavings. Why would a fellow like me that can have any dame he wants be peeking through keyholes and roosting on roofs? You're nuts, fella. You don't know it, but you're coo-coo."

Noodles Noonan is a name to be reckoned with. And "leavings" is an amazing piece of bowdlerization. Coo-coo.


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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The P. Morrison Donations #1: A Good Year For Dwarfs? / Carter Brown (Signet 4320)

Title: A Good Year for Dwarfs?
Author: Carter Brown
Cover artist: Robert McGinnis

Reader P. Morrison sent me a stack of books. They are beat up and cheesy, just like I like 'em. First up ... this.


Best things about this cover:
  • Evocative painting. Who knew that extras in a "Conan" movie experienced such depths of ennui?
  • Is that lady a. calming her pet Pekingese, who lives in her hair; b. physically supporting her 50 lbs of hair because he neck has simply given out; or c. shaking her head in disbelief at the idea that Carter Brown has sold over 25 million books?
  • I thought "A Good Year for Dwarfs" was the tagline at first, and had no idea what that could possibly mean. Then I realized that was the title. Puzzlement remained.
  • If my students ever used a hyphen that way, there's no way they'd be getting better than a C.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Rimmel and Holman? As porn names go ... subtle.
  • I want business cards that read simply "Davis Davis, Movie Dwarf"
  • "Twilight world" normally (in paperbackese) means "homosexual."  I'm doubtful that that is the case here.

Page 123~

Any moment now, I thought frantically, I'm about to make whimpering noises out loud! "Do you play Scrabble?" I gurgled.

Man, it gets Freaky on an early '70s porn set.


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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Paperback 490: The Fifth Man / Manning Coles (Berkley F88)

Paperback 490: Berkley Medallion F880 (1st ptg, 1964)

Title: The Fifth Man
Author: Manning Coles
Cover artist: n/a

Yours for: $6


Best things about this cover:
  • OK, it's kind of dull, but what it lacks in the half-naked lady department it partially makes up for in the cool graphic design department.
  • I like the chess pieces as a visual representation of the title. Very clever. "Check mate." "But that's not even a..." "I SAID [gun cocking sound] 'check mate'."
  • I'm going to suggest that Tommy Hambledon is a lousy name for a hero (or a villain, or a person anyone might care to read about). Unless you play a mean pinball or design overpriced red white & blue mall clothes, if you are a grown man you should not go by "Tommy."


Best things about this back cover:
  • Great design, but that phrase doesn't exactly pop. There's just no menace to the word "portfolio."
  • Looking at Tommy Hambledon's other "adventures," I'm led to wonder why this book doesn't have the word "Today" in it.

Page 123~
"I am very much obliged to you, Superintendent," said Warren.

"Don't mention it. I am delighted to see you alive, Detective Inspector. I—we—began to think you weren't."

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Paperback 489: Madame / Ben Berkey (Kozy Books 161)

Paperback 489: Kozy Books K161 (PBO, 1962)

Title: Madame
Author: Ben Berkey
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $10


Best things about this cover:
  • The German soliders were mesmerized by her astonishing shadow puppetry skills. "Oooh, that's a swan. Lovely."
  • Wow, those are some perfectly spherical, gravity-defying tits. And they're sprouting! Chia-Tits!
  • I love it when a stripper manages to coordinate her shoes and her pasties.
  • I like the blond G.I. Josef in the foreground. You know he's important because he's the only one sitting in a recliner.
  • I love the decor. They've painted the walls a lovely shade of Despair.


Best things about this back cover:

  • Ugh, this flaccid prose. Make it stop!
  • Wait, how did "passion" come before "desire?"— "I'm not really turned on yet, but if I just keep dry-humping you, I'm sure it'll come along."
  • Too much "seeming!"
    If you want to turn a guy on, try literally placing your lips inside his ear. Guaranteed not to creep him out and make him recoil in primal horror.
  • What did she say!?!?! Vickie!!!!! Speak up! Vickiiiiiiiieeeeeeeee! (you see how invested I am...)

Page 123~
At the barrier, Lettie Muller and Frank Killdare indulged in small talk, with the Lieutenant gone to talk to the guard, Killdare felt a trifle shy in her presence [1]. Certain incidents [2] that had occurred between them in the past [3] now came to the surface [4] with crystal clearness [5]. He had an uncomfortable feeling [6] that the girl also felt that way. He was soon to find that he had guessed right [7].
  • [1] Jeez, run-on much?
  • [2] I kill my students for this kind of vagueness, especially when said "incidents" are Never, Ever named, come on!
  • [3] Yes, that's when most events tend to have occurred.
  • [4] Of ...?
  • [5] In America, we say "clarity," but go on ...
  • [6] Not unlike what one feels reading this tone-deaf prose.
  • [7] "I often make girls feel uncomfortable, so the odds were in my favor, really," he said at the post-game press conference.


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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Paperback 488: The Case of the Constant Suicides / John Dickson Carr (Berkley G-60)

Paperback 488: Berkley Books G-60 (1st ptg, 1957)

Title: The Case of the Constant Suicides
Author: John Dickson Carr
Cover artist: Robert Maguire

Yours for: $11


Best things about this cover:
  • Well, Dr. Gideon Fell, alright. Fell to his death!
  • Nobody painted Paperback Women better than Robert Maguire. Nobody. Nobody. I mean, this is some of his least interesting work, and it's still awesome. He also has the greatest paperback cover artist signature. Regular as hell. You could set your watch by that thing.
  • This is the story of one woman's painful obsession with the phallic tower that would not love her. Or her painful battle with head lice. Or her painful attempt to follow a rudimentary yoga DVD.


Best things about this back cover:
  • How 'bout people just stop staying there. Looks like a shit place to sleep, anyway. Case closed! You're welcome.
  • Coincidentally, I'm in the middle of an Agatha Christie novel right now. It's telling that she doesn't praise his writing, but his ability to baffle. I've heard 4-year-olds tell completely baffling stories.

Page 123~

"Angus might well consider himself, in the hard-headed Northern fashion, a useless encumbrance."

Poor Angus is "stony broke," "overwhelved (sic!) with debts," and has an ex-mistress named Elspat. She used to tease him about his "useless encumbrance." Hence *ex* mistress.


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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Paperback 487: The Shocking History of Advertising / E.S. Turner (Ballantine F 403 K)

Paperback 487: Ballantine Books F 403 K (1st ptg, 1960)

TitleThe Shocking History of Advertising
Author: E.S. Turner
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $9

Best things about this cover:

  • The Shocking History Of Fonts!
  • What "tragic ailment" does the "Other Tragic Ailments" guy have? Besides the zits he has picked at, necessitating all the little bits of toilet tissue? I'm going to guess Massive Bald Oval Head Syndrome (MBOHS).
  • I'd be surprised if Dr. Scott's Electric Corset didn't sell by the truckload. I mean, look at that lady. That corset is clearly rocking her "vital organs" big time. I doubt it's a coincidence that "organs" looks a lot like "orgasm," and that the word is running right up her leg.
  • I want a T-shirt with that smoking rabbit head on it.

Best things about this back cover:

  • Blah blah blah too much text too many colors my head hurts. 
  • The integrated plug!? Sounds like an accessory for Dr. Scott's Electric Corset (plug sold separately).

Page 123~

Some excessively prudish criticisms of posters were voiced during this period. It is on record that even the Bovril bull was condemned by the town of Cork for the reason that it was too obviously a bull.

And thus I leave you with the image of massive bull schlong. You're welcome.


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Friday, December 9, 2011

Paperback 486: Falcons of France / Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall (Monarch 141)

Paperback 486: Monarch Books 141 (1st ptg, 1959)

Title: Falcons of France
Author: Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $8


Best things about this cover:
  • Is this guy going to shoot down the enemy plane or make love to it? Dude is primping. He just needs a bottle of Courvoisier: "Ma chérie, you are about to feel my love guns ..."
  • Some of Target's early marketing campaigns were more successful than others.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Fokkers!
  • Spads!
  • Atlantic Bookshelf writes the kind of criticism that sounds profound but is actually completely empty. "Living and consequently better?" "Better ..." than? Than what!? Fokkers!

Page 123~

"Who's Papa Gouraud going to kiss?"

"Oh, quite a lot of you. Here's the list; you can read it for yourselves."

I don't even want to know.


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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Paperback 485: Rage in Heaven / James Hilton (Avon [39])

Paperback 485: Avon [39] (unnumbered) (1st ptg, 1943)

Title: Rage in Heaven
Author: James Hilton
Cover artist: Uncredited (I have "Gonzales" written on the tag ... don't know why)

Yours for: $14


Best things about this cover:
  • "Hey, nice uraeus" (try saying that to the next pretty lady you see — see where it gets you)
  • For a very early paperback, this one is unusually realistic (and sexy) in its depiction of the female form. You don't start seeing real GGA (Good/Great Girl Art) until the late '40s. In the early years of mass market paperbacks, the cover art tends to be more abstract, or more in the vein of magazine illustration. Paperbacks were still concerned with aligning themselves with good (i.e. edifying, or at least inoffensive) books. The selling power of the Lurid had not yet impressed itself on the paperback sellers of America. It didn't take long.
  • Looks like that soft shoe guy is getting zapped by the laser goggles of some space monster.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Shakespeare Head Say: Reading is GOOD for you.
  • Wartime book. Wartime message. 

Page 123~

She felt then that he, Ward, was her husband, and that Philip, weak and puny on the bed in the next room, was their child, whom they had watched over and tended together. 

That's some awkward role-playing game they've got going there.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Paperback 484: Up From Slavery / Booker T. Washington (Pocket Books 80)

Paperback 484: Pocket Books 80 (1st ptg, 1940)

Title: Up From Slavery
Author: Booker T. Washington
Cover artist: N/A

Yours for: $10


Best things about this cover:
  • Is this a book about denim?
  • A good example of how deathly boring the packaging was on a lot of early paperbacks—and this is one of the earliest, Pocket Books having begun only a year earlier in 1939.
  • One thing this book does have going for it is its condition—a little Perma-gloss peeling, a little scuffing, but other than that, square and bright and barely (if ever) read.


Best things about this back cover:
  • More aesthetic austerity measures
  • I sort of like this incarnation of the Pocket kangaroo—they're pushing the books-are-good-for-you angle here with the intellectual, bespectacled 'roo. Later incarnations will look younger, have better eyesight (the better to appreciate the more lurid covers)

Page 123~

From the first I have sought to impress the students with the idea that Tuskegee is not my institution, or that of the officers, but that it is their institution, and that they have as much interest in it as any of the trustees or instructors.


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Friday, December 2, 2011

Paperback 483: The Gay Detective / Lou Rand (Saber SA-18)

Paperback 483: Saber Books SA-18 (PBO, 1961)

Title: The Gay Detective
Author: Lou Rand
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $100


Best things about this cover: 
  • Not sure how legible the cover copy is, so I'll transcribe: "Francis and Tiger [!!!!!!!!!!!! ... ?] had found out what they needed to know. The trick now was to get the nude Vivien out of the bathhouse [!] and to safety."
  • Of all Vivien's failed attempts to get a man, this one was perhaps the most spectacular.
  • The bathhouse employed the most strapping and vigilant head lice police the world had ever known.
  • Come on, even the queerest of the queer aren't going to be able to stomach that much pink.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Have we seen Saber get biblical before!? This is perhaps my favorite of Sanford Aday's responses to the legal harassment his business was suffering in the late-50s / early 60s. 

Page 123~

The man is—we heard many times—a muscular masochist and confines his pleasures to young and attractive men.

"We heard many times" — that's what happens when you keep asking witnesses to "tell us the one about the muscular masochist again!"


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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Paperback 482: Sam / Lonnie Coleman (Pyramid G479)

Paperback 482: Pyramid G479 (1st ptg, 1960)

Title: Sam
Author: Lonnie Coleman
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $35


Best things about this cover:
  • "Frank"! "Twilight world"! I do love my vintage paperback buzzwords.
  • The giant "S" stands for "Super Sexy"
  • Wow, Sam looks like he's really into ... Sam.
  • QueerSam is about the most fabulous thing I've seen on a vintage paperback cover. His languid pose, his unbuttoned / flip-collared shirt, his hairless chest, his tight-as-hell red pants ... the way he is coming on to his buttondowned self, the way that he lives inside a tear in the space/time continuum ... all amazing.
  • The New York Herald Tribune is testing out its Review-Bot 3000, now with patented "hyper-adjective mode"

Best things about this back cover:
  • Unashamed homosexual!
  • "Normal," HA ha.
  • Oh, the gays and their "furtive wanderings" and inevitable chiropractic "adjustments"

Page 123~

His maleness had been stated; her susceptibility was understood by both of them.

"This is my maleness ... alright, let's do this!"


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Friday, November 25, 2011

Paperback 481: The Shame of Mary Quinn / Clifton Cuthbert (Pyramid 28)

Paperback 481: Pyramid 28 (1st ptg, 1951)

Title: The Shame of Mary Quinn
Author: Clifton Cuthbert
Cover artist: [Hunter Barken]

Yours for: $11


Best things about this cover:
  • The powerful story of a boy who would not give up his beloved chair no matter how many half-naked magic tricks his sister did.
  • The shame of Mary Quinn was her gigantic pasties—all the other strippers laughed at her, and even her most loyal patrons turned away in disgust.
  • "Climax is tremendous!"—this is why Unnatural Love is so hard to give up ...


Best things about this back cover: 
  • Wow. That's frank.
  • "This book is about some dirty shit, but it's written in complete sentences and doesn't have curse words, so you don't have to feel so guilty."

Page 123~

They went to the bed and she looked past him to the wall, his embrace impersonalized for her. His painful grasp recalled her, she noticed his loving was rough and ill-tempered, and suddenly she took joy in it.

God, even rough sex can't withstand the withering assault of clunky, amateurish writing.


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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Paperback 480: The Indiscreet Confessions of a Nice Girl / Anonymous (Lion 30)

Paperback 480: Lion Books 30 (1st ptg, 1950)

Title: The Indiscreet Confessions of a Nice Girl
Author: Anonymous
Cover artist: Michel

Yours for: $18

Best things about this cover:
  • Please note the lamp. Please please note the lamp. It's bachelor-padtastic!
  • She is getting her cigarette lit by the world's tiniest man, who happens to be hanging from the ceiling.
  • Her dress is weird. It looks like her boobs have eyebrows.
  • She's kicked off a shoe, so you know she's good to go.
  • Either that entire room is on a slant or we are looking at her through a very weird tire swing.


Best things about this back cover:
  • "Hand"writing!
    Everyone's attractive in black, lady. Get over yourself. 
  • "—but I will come to that later." I love how she is titillating her Future Self. (assuming this is really a diary)
  • "Oh Harold! Harold! Bring me up to date, Harold!"
    "... unless you read other people's diaries ... in which case, this will probably be pretty disappointing. Seriously, you should just put this book down and go back to being a snooping perv. You'll be happier."

Page 123~

I decided to put on my tea gown before Arthur arrived. It was really a negligee, only more so. You wear a negligee when you want to be modest and a tea gown when you don't. Cecil's tea gowns are very immodest. She practically guarantees one shoulder to fall off during the second cocktail and the other to fall during the fourth. Of course she can't do any better than that because no girl should take more than four cocktails and if she does she will throw the whole gown over a chair anyway.

I love how she's drunk and wild enough to just chuck off her gown, but tidy enough to make sure that it's neatly hung up on a chair. Also, though I'm pretty sure Cecil is a girl, I like to pretend that he is not.


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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


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?"


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.


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Friday, November 18, 2011

Paperback 478: College Confidential / Irving Shulman (Gold Medal s1005)

Paperback 478: Gold Medal s1005 (PBO, 1960)

Title: College Confidential
Author: Irving Shulman
Cover artist: [movie still]

Yours for: $15


Best things about this cover:
  • If this is what prayer meetings are really like, sign me the hell up.
  • "This big, I swear!" "Ha ha ha ha, good one, Mamie"
  • If there's anyone I'd trust to bring me the hot details of a college sex scandal, it's some guy named "Irving."


Best things about this back cover:
  • And by "STUDY," we mean "MASTURBATE TO"
  • One requirement of 1950s headshots was that the actor be leaning heavily to one side, looking either bored (exhibit A) or hopped up (exhibit B). 
  • Steve Allen has this look like "I know, I can't believe I'm in this film either."

Page 123~
"The way we got it," Bob scowled, because he had not expected this frank admission, "you had a lot of students up here for a drunken brawl and—" he hooked both thumbs into his heavy gun belt—"dirty movies."
At this point, the sexy porn music starts playing and the gun belt comes *off!" P.S. "Frank!"


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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Paperback 477: Uncle Tom's Children / Richard Wright (Penguin 647)

Paperback 477: Penguin 647 (1st ptg, 1947)

Title: Uncle Tom's Children
Author: Richard Wright
Cover artist: jonas

Yours for: $20


Best things about this cover:
  • Kind of an abrupt shift from all the sexed-up lesbian stuff I've been trafficking in lately.
  • Simple, gruesome, effective cover from "jonas," one of the most important early pb cover artists.
  • Really digging the title font. Also, that dude's pocket square.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Back cover from back when paperbacks still modeled their back covers after those on the insides of hardcover dust jackets. Very straitlaced and informative and decidedly non-sensational.
  • The first recipient of the Spingarn medal was Ernest Everett Just (1915). Trivia!

Page 123~
There was silence. Then Hadley laughed, noiselessly.

Laughed noiselessly? You might want to check that he's not choking.


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Monday, November 14, 2011

Paperback 476: Karla / Vern Wade (Saber SA-2)

Paperback 476: Saber Books SA-2 (PBO? 1957?) 

Title: Karla
Author: Vern Wade
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $28


Best things about this cover:
  • These people look like video game avatars, or character in "Polar Express." They are going to have creepy, sweat-less, human-like sex on that sad pristine bed in 3, 2 ...
  • Heflin (really?) had not quite mastered the whole vampire thing. You can't nuzzle the blood out of her, Hef!
  • Now that I look at her more closely, I'm pretty sure she's inflatable and Hef is blowing her up.
  • In my mind, Madame Fronzeh rides a motorcycle, wears a leather jacket, says "Ehhhhhh!," and people call her "The Fronz."

Best things about this back cover:
  • More sadness from the Sanford Aday publishing houses (see also here). I've never, ever seen a publisher foreground their own economic / legal woes so aggressively. The fact that they're publishing under fire becomes part of their identity in those early years (you know, before the 25-year prison sentence ...).

Page 123~

Her hazel eyes widened. Her lips curved in an ironic smile as she rose, and moved toward me. She extended her hand to me, and her body undulated provocatively in a gesture that was confusingly familiar.

He's confused because he's repressed the memory of his mother's own ironic smiling and provocative undulation as she fixed him scrambled eggs as a child.


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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Paperback 475: Sex in the Shadows / Randy Salem (Beacon B799X)

Paperback 475: Beacon Books B799X (PBO, 1965)

Title: Sex in the Shadows
Author: Randy Salem
Cover artist: Al Rossi

Yours for: $50


Best thing about this cover:
  • "Fine, turn away, but you're never going to miss these painted-on capris, baby, I promise you!"
  • "'According to Jim!?' You're watching 'According to Jim!?' You disgust me. I'm going to Margo's."
  • Wait, is Ivy the older lesbian's name? Or do older lesbians prowl the way that ivy ... prowls ... up the walls of colleges and ballpark walls?
  • "Gee, my hair smells terrific."
  • I'm still trying to work out the symbolism of the orange throw pillow.


Best things about this back cover:
  • "... and certainly no hero ..." is a great line. "Don't worry—no man parts for as far as the eye can see!"
  • Searching! Scorching! It's not Frank! But it does have a character named Francine, which is something.
  • I know that when I think of lesbians, the first image that pops into my head is: brawls.

Page 123~

I was thinking of Martha and me and how we must look to that wise old moon—just two more grains of sand on a desolate stretch of beach, two flecks of nothingness.

"Two Flecks of Nothingness" should've been the title — "It's like Seuss meets Sartre meets coastal lesbians," says Michiko Kakutani


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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Paperback 474: The Third Bedroom / Brenda Baker (Fabian Z-136)

Paperback 474: Fabian Z-136 (PBO, 1960)

Title: The Third Bedroom
Author: Brenda Baker
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $19


Best things about this cover:
  • There were three things Brad loved more than anything else: bright yellow dress shirts, mirrored walls, and women covered in fondant.
  • These curtains make me laugh every time I look at this book. It's like the artist just pawned off the design concept on Mrs. Jenkins' 1st grade art class.
  • That woman is either a yoga master or has dislocated her shoulder. You try putting your elbow behind your head. Go ahead, I'll wait.
  • The mirror symbolizes Brad's dual identity: the gentleman, and the slightly more boring gentleman.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Feel the sadness.
  • Fabian (and Saber and Vega) had lots of legal troubles due to the highly sexual and controversial content of many of their books. Publisher Sanford Aday and partner Wallace de Ortega-Maxey would eventually be convicted in U.S. District Court (in Western Michigan) of trafficking in obscenity. Almost all Fabian, Saber, and Vega books in the late 50s / early 60s have legal news as part of their end material. For instance, this book contains a report on the publisher's own recent court victories, and a long discussion of recent legal victories for booksellers all over the country. This is yet another reason I love the Aday paperbacks, cheesy and low-rent as they are: they defied the moral hypocrisy of their day and challenged the legal system in ways that (ultimately) mattered. You're not going to have much problem getting some high-minded literary professional into court to defend "Ulysses." Good luck getting the same guy to defend "Sex Life of a Cop."

Page 123~

I fully believed then that God spoke to me, but it was like when your conscience tells you something, you're not too sure of what it means. But I calmed down rather quickly, and after I had taken my seat upon the divan I took a cigarette and lit it.

And ye, verily, God said unto her, "Betty ... you must go to Flavor Country."


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Friday, November 4, 2011

Paperback 473: Warped / Michael Norday (Beacon B280)

Paperback 473: Beacon B 280 (PBO, 1955)

Title: Warped
Author: Michael Norday
Cover artist: Clement Micarelli

Yours for: $50


Best things about this cover:
  • This is some golden age, bullseye, right over the plate, vintage lesbian paperback amazingness. Fantastic art, cool staggered-letter title design, and cover copy that alliterates like there's no tomorrow. Plus great lesbian code words like "twilight" and "twisted" and "strange" and "tormented" and "warped"; roughly half the vintage lesbian paperbacks in existence have at least one of these words in their titles (I made that stat up, but it feels right)
  • I love the dramatic tension between these two women—the knowing, smug, hungry eyes of the tomboyish old pro, and the coy-yet-curious eyes of the frillier girl in the foreground. Her guarded posture suggests modesty, but her exposed and pushed-up boobs and her visible garters suggest ... something else. 
  • That is one ugly bed. And pillowcase. They are far too hot to be making out in grandma's bed.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Again, great design. A bit text-heavy, but I love the pink touches.
  • I applied to Fern Mar, but got rejected. Dames only, apparently. I am, however, only too familiar with the "disgrace of an unwholesome campus weekend."
  • Hell yeah, passion-ridden women!

Page 123~

A sudden panic swept over her. She remembered the look in Estrada's eyes when he had talked about Gwen up at O'Keefe's training camp. A sudden fury burst inside her. "Damn you! Where is she? Where—"
"Relax, baby. Relax."

Wait, lesbians have training camps? That's awesome.


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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Paperback 472: The Woman Racket / Gil Lawrence (Pyramid G468)

Paperback 472: Pyramid G468  (PBO, 1959)

Title: The Woman Racket
Author: Gil Lawrence
Cover artist: Miller (?)

Yours for: $25


Best things about this cover:
  • The doctor's eyes! It's like he wants to blow that damned needle.
  • The painting of the girl is actually pretty damned hot. I Love her dress. And her ... what is that, a datebook? 
  • "Fury With Legs": an abstract concept that can get up and walk around!? Tell me more ...
  • I like to think the girl is being pursued by Fury With Legs, mostly because she looks more like someone about to die in a horror movie than she does a girl going to get an abortion in pre-Roe v. Wade America.


Best things about this back cover:
  • If you want to spice up your nouns, just put "Flesh" in front of them. It'll really make your flesh prose pop. (See!?)
  • Shocking, brutally honest ... but not frank.
  • Who is this "Miller" person and what does he have against first names?

Page 123~

I weighed the assets and demerits of the polygraph machines. "Yes," I told him finally. "I think it's a good idea. Lie detectors are good for snotty kids."
See, an ordinary writers would've just gone with "pros and cons," but this guy is a thesauristic master: "assets and demerits!" All hail unnatural usage! (Also, I'm imagining the polygraph industry's awesome ad campaign: "Lie detectors: They're good for snotty kids!"


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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Paperback 471: Model for Murder / Stephen Marlowe (Graphic 94)

Paperback 471: Graphic 94 (PBO, 1955)

Title: Model for Murder
Author: Stephen Marlowe
Cover artist: Walter Popp

Yours for: $16


Best things about this cover:
  • I have no idea what these people are up to, but that cigarette and that cigar are getting it on.
  • Finally, a taut thriller about the exciting, dangerous world of copyediting.
  • Steve is puzzled to find that his meticulously researched paper, "Broads: Stacked vs. Unstacked," merits only a B-. "I don't think I understand this whole 'Women's Studies' thing, Bernie."


Best things about this back cover:
  • Kinsey!
  • Out-Kinseyed Kinsey! "Screw this survey stuff, let's just install hidden cameras."
  • Lady wrestlers! Be still my heart.
  • Talk about ... Pop Grujdzak. Talk about ... Pop Grujdzak.
  • If I had to invent a stupid-sounding last name, and had several days to do it, I still couldn't beat Wompler.

Page 123~

The clothing was Ken's naturally, and as I dressed and tested the stiffness in my left arm, I began to wonder. The arm couldn't have punched its way through a wet Kleenex tissue.

So ... he dresses up like Barbie's boyfriend and he has a lot of experience testing the tensile strength of wet Kleenex. He sounds dreamy.


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