Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Paperback 431: The Disappearance / Philip Wylie (Cardinal C-40)

Paperback 431: Cardinal Books C-40 (2nd ptg, 1952)

Title: The Disappearance
Author: Philip Wylie
Cover artist: Tom Dunn

Yours for: $10


Best things about this cover:
  • Quiz: Our hero is
a. trying cast the "Disappearance" spell on her dress
b. ordering five beers from the hologram waitress
c. saying "Up top! Don't leave me hanging, Betty!"
  • "Suddenly for men there were no women"—that may explain why he's not interested in the advances of this particular "woman": "Stop right there. Pete, I know that's you."


Best things about this back cover:
  • There's lots of interesting stuff here, but it all pales and fades before the claim that Philip Wylie is "famed as the exposer of Moms." How do you get *that* job? (outside of the niche porn industry, that is)

Page 123~

In due course a thunderous water wall had poured back upon the gleaming "dent" where Chicago and its environs had been.

This was during the period when Wylie was experimenting with sexual imagery. His wife would later suggest that perhaps "dent" was not as evocative of female genitalia as he thought it was.


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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Paperback 430: Free Woman / Katharine Brush (Dell 10c 18)

Paperback 430: Dell 10c 18 (1st ptg., 1951)

Title: Free Woman
Author: Katharine Brush
Cover artist: Barye Phillips

Yours for: $12


Best things about this cover:
  • This cover never fails to make me laugh—it's such a simple, visually succinct statement of the evils of the Career Girl. "Why does mommy hate us, daddy?" "Because she's a selfish harpy, Timmy. All women are. You'll learn."
  • Or maybe she's just trying on a new suit at the department suit. "How do I look, dear?" "Well Timmy hates it, right Timmy?" "Something's wrong with my right foot, daddy."
  • I like her gloves. A lot. I also like how she's verrrry subtly giving those two the middle finger.
  • She is literally looking down her nose at them. "You two—bring the car around."


Best things about this back cover:
  • "Jon is not your son. He sprang forth fully formed from my head. Now, bring the car around!"
  • "At the height of her success, disaster struck, and she was ruined." Spoiler alert!
  • "Like any unruly horse, she was broken by a man..."

Page 23~

She had finished school in June, and in September the first fruits awaited her—she was to be Director of Athletics, spelled that way in capitals, at a fashionable school for girls in Pennsylvania.

Oooh, capital letters. That *is* fashionable.


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Friday, June 24, 2011

Paperback 429: The Right Bed / Lee Walters (Saber Books SA-14)

Paperback 428: Saber Books SA-14 (unknown ptg & year, orig. 1959)

Title: The Right Bed
Author: Lee Walters
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $20


Best things about this cover:
  • "Homosexual demons, I cast thee OUT!"
  • Original title: "Sexy Phrenologist"
  • Wanda struggled to remember exactly how to treat a choking victim...
  • Hey, Bill, if you want to avoid the Twilight Life, maybe you should move out of The Pinkest Apartment Building In the Universe.
  • Conservative columnist Bill, humiliated that he'd been caught watching "Maddow," collapsed to the floor. Wanda knew how to save him from the temptations of liberalism—take him to "The Right Bed" (American Flag bed sheets, portrait of Reagan on the ceiling, etc.) and give him a taste of that sweet, sweet missionary action.
  • ... and introducing: House Plant!


Best things about this back cover:
  • Where's the stuff about Floyd (!) struggling with his sexuality!? I was promised a "twilight life" on the front cover.
  • "What did Jill think of all this?" — of all What? The more you read this description, the less coherent it gets. So ... his ambition is realized through her ... and her ambition is him ... so the conflict is ... what? Nothing. This is a short story at best.
  • I like how the writer takes his own metaphor literally: "Jill was his key ... With her he would open many doors." Maybe that's what we're seeing on the front cover: after trying repeatedly to stuff Jill into the keyhole, he collapsed in a pile of rage and shame.

Page 123~
Johnson roamed the paths of the party like a stray buffalo [1], big, almost shaggy, a look of massiveness [2] about his broad face.
  • [1] "... like a stray buffalo, knocking over hors d'oeuvres and end tables, wondering how he got into a 5th-floor walk-up."
  • [2] You cannot have a "look of massiveness." Something is either massive or it's not. "Your face looks strange darling. A bit ... massive." No.


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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Paperback 428: Lesbian Twins / Willi Peters (Vega Books V-2)

Paperback 428: Vega Books V-2 (PBO, 1960)

Title: Lesbian Twins
Author: Willi Peters
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $30


Best things about this cover:
  • The title font is amazing—stuck somewhere between Wacky and Horror
  • Composition here is also amazing—I especially love that her ass is at his eye-level, and the "Vega Book 50c" logo is like a caption over his head signifying "whoa...!" or "boing!" or "hubba hubba" etc.
  • Remember Doublemint's short-lived ad campaign for "Adult Gum?" Me either.
  • A book about lesbian twins by someone whose first *and* last names are slang for "penis!?" What are the odds?
  • Like I believe that Bill here would find the idea of two hot young twins making out with each other "ugly." His akimbo arms say "well I never ..." but his ass-hungry eyes say something else.

Back cover is just a giant version of that "Vega Book 50c" logo, so we'll go straight to ...

Page 123~

"Bill, would you like to see the picture of the girl Jane lives with?"

The way she said it, speaking it all out unnecessarily [1], I was sure I got her message: Look, Bill, Jane is still a Lesbian [2].

The girl in the picture wore a leather jacket and levis [3] as she straddled her motorcycle.

"Looks more like a man," I couldn't help saying ... [4]
  • [1] ??? "The way she said it, using her lips to form a syntactically coherent set of words..."
  • [2] Love the capital-L Lesbian. More badass and imposing that way: appropriate considering the girl in question is a biker.
  • [3] Capital-L Lesbian good; lower-case l / apostrophe-free levis, less so.
  • [4] Pretty sure you could help saying, Bill. Although you do seem awfully mystified by words and the funny things they do, so who knows?


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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Paperback 427: Adultery in Suburbia / Robert Brooks (Midwood 32-866)

Paperback 427: Midwood 32-866 (PBO, 1967)

Title: Adultery in Suburbia
Author: Robert Brooks
Graphic design: Azzato

Yours for: $17


Best things about this cover:
  • This title is crying out, begging for a pictorial cover. Maybe I'm supposed to be seeing some kind of funky intercourse in that bathroom-door symbol shenanigans, but I'm not. NOT, I say.
  • I want to be a part of this The Affluent Society. It sounds ... affluent. And sexy.
  • Kinsey! Sadly, the word "frank" appears nowhere on this book's front or back covers :(


Best things about this back cover:
  • Ah, I see we have the requisite "probing deep" claim ... nice.
  • Robert Brooks is ruthlessly honest, I tell you. Ruthlessly! You will say "No, don't tell me about the key parties!" and he will shout "Mwahahaha, you can't stop me! Key parties! Hot tubs! Oh the things I will be honest with you about!"
  • I love the logic of this back cover: "You will ask yourself 'Can this be true?' and you will have to say Yes because, after all, someone went to the trouble of printing it on paper, which, as we all know, makes things true."
  • "You, the intelligent reader..." Oh, you silver-tongued book. Do go on.

Page 123~ [aargh, book is only 122 pages long!; default to p. 23!]

The Monotony of Suburban Living Acts to Make Both Male and Female Restive

That's the title of Chapter 2. Good thing I live in the city itself, and not one of them fancy *suburbs* of Binghamton. I'd hate to be restive.


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Friday, June 17, 2011

Paperback 426: Sex and the Armed Services / L.T. Woodward, M.D. (Monarch MB507)

Paperback 426: Monarch MB507 (PBO, 1963)

Title: Sex and the Armed Services
Author: L.T. Woodward, M.D. [pseud. of Robert Silverberg]
Cover artist: Uncredited [Robert Maguire]

Yours for: $12


Best things about this cover:
  • Navy women sleep with sophisticated diplomats, where Army men sleep with French whores.
  • I have to say that I am disappointed with the balance here between "Sex" and "the Armed Services." You mean I have to *imagine* the sex? Total ripoff.
  • This will sound weird, but the more I look at our two protagonists, the more I like them. They have a distinctly cool look that makes me want to know more about them. I want them to be rivals, scheming for ... something. They would have chemistry, but they would not be a couple. They might have to team up, perhaps using the French whore to pull a scam on the sophisticated diplomat. I'm not sure where the sex comes in, exactly.
  • I LOVE these fake sciencey books that the sex publishers put out in the '60s (complete with caduceus / "Human Behavior" logo, Ha ha: "4 out of 5 scienticians agree, our books contain plausible human behavior"). Part of the whole post-Kinsey "Your Right To Know" "studies" of "real" sex lives, allowing adults to unembarrassingly indulge their penchants for voyeurism. I'm pretty sure the sex anecdotes contained therein are entirely fictional.


Best things about this back cover:
  • "Code Red, Code Red, Emergency ... I'm gonna have to go lesbian!" Once you go lesbian, you never go back. Or you do, whatever.
  • What the hell does "mingle promiscuously" look like? Is that when you grope boobs at a cocktail party? "Can I freshen your drink? How 'bout stick my tongue down your throat? No? OK..."
  • LOVE the last sentence, which posits that the military encourages "abnormal" behavior.

Page 123~

The old nurses handled me impersonally, like I was something made of wood, but the very young ones would blush and glance away when their attentions aroused me.

Heh heh. "Wood."


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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Paperback 425: Seeds of Sin / Louis Lorraine (Nightstand Books 1560)

Paperback 425: Nightstand Books 1560 (PBO, 1961)

Title: Seeds of Sin
Author: Louis Lorraine
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $12


Best things about this cover:
  • Sex Survey—Q: Where's your favorite place to make whoopee? A: On the train tracks.
  • "... and then her left forearm exploded in a blaze of passion!"
  • The Seeds of Sin lead to ... the Dandelion of Death!
  • "The floodlights revealed Steve's secret shame: his girlfriend was a Macy's store mannequin!"


Best things about this back cover:
  • So that bright light on the front cover must be Mark's "flame-haired wife Liz." Cool superpower.
  • "A bevy of women who apparently did not care what they looked or sounded like..." Jeez, what are they doing, rolling around and snorting during the survey? "She's got a weird lisp and spinach in her teeth ... but as long as she's talking dirty ..."
  • Another one of these tone-deaf back covers, where the copywriter doesn't understand how English works, where emphasis goes, what sexy is, etc. "... 'Fling At Passion!' It is a sexy phrase, no?" "No. If anything, it evokes orangutans flinging their feces."

Page 123~

He showed Arthur a chart. "This is the chart on sexual satisfaction. Rather an eye-opener, isn't it?"

"Pretty poor performance on their husband's parts, I'd say." Arthur studied it critically, with professional interest.

1. I assume "with professional interest" means "with his hand not [yet] on his cock."
2. "Pretty poor performance on their husband's parts" can be interpreted at least two ways.


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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Paperback 424: K.O. Technique / Peter Randa (Editions Fleuve Noir 424)

Paperback 424: Editions "Fleuve Noir" 424 (PBO? 1964?)

Title: K.O. Technique
Author: Peter Randa
Cover artist: [Michel Gourdon]

Yours for: $12


Best things about this cover:
  • "My K.O. Technique, c'est Magnifique!"
  • Took me a while to realize "technique" here was "technical," as in "TKO"
  • Randa was an exceedingly prolific French crime and sci-fi writer of the mid-20th century. There is apparently an illustrated edition of this book out there ... somewhere.
  • Despite its lack of boobs and guns, I kinda like this cover. Unusually soft tones. Old-timey boxing glove and old-timey money. It's pretty, dark, and retro all at the same time.
  • "Fleuve Noir" = "black river"


Best things about this back cover:
  • I can't believe that by the mid-60s, the French weren't better at back-cover come-ons than this. It's so ... polite. And formal. Why In The World Should I Read "Pascaline," Frenchy? What's it about!? Try harder!

Page 123~

Je comprends maintenant pourquoi on a tiré sur toi.

[Now I understand why they shot at you.]

"I mean, I've only known you two minutes and I already want to strangle you a little."


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Friday, June 10, 2011

Paperback 423: Bondage Clubs U.S.A. / Robert Newton (Wee Hours 549)

Paperback 423: Wee Hours 549 (PBO, 1967)

Title: Bondage Clubs U.S.A.
Author: Robert Newton
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $20


Best things about this cover:
  • I'm not worried about the ropes and chains. I'm worried about the werewolf that's holding them. That is one hirsute forearm.
  • "Social Behavior Series For Adults" — "It's a textbook, honey. I'm just doing my, uh, sociology homework. See, 'documented' ... 'insight' ... it's educational!"
  • Tyrannical yoga instructor: "I told you what would happen next time you gave me a sloppy Pigeon Pose!"
  • Love the Wee Hours logo for how sad it is. The "W" is readily apparent, but the "H" has been tortured almost beyond recognition to form the sides of what I'm guessing is an hourglass ... measuring the Wee Hours of ... the days of our lives ... or something.


Best things about this back cover:
  • "Blow-by-blow," HA ha.
  • "Thereby," HA ha. "Heretofore, wherein, the party of the first part ties up the party of the second part ..."
  • I know this Italian restaurant where they make an amazing vegan algolagnia.
  • "Penetrating," come on!
  • "Boldly illustrated!?" OK, I'm gonna have to open this baby up ... OK, I don't know what definition of "illustrated" they are using here, but there are precisely *no* illustrations in this book. There are, however, four of the Dullest Bargraphs You Will Ever See. Example:


Page 123~

This guy describes being raped by other guys, and I can't really do anything funny with that ... so ... p. 132!
When I climbed out of the shower, he was right there! He started rubbing me down with a towel, picked me up and carried me into the bedroom, put me on the bed and seduced me. He had a very big penis and was proud of it. He even showed me with a measure that it was eight inches long.

Yes, that *does* sound seductive ... If the sight and feel of it doesn't turn her on, measure it for her! Foolproof!


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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Paperback 422: A Cartoon Guide to the Kinsey Report / ed. Charles Preston (Avon 559)

Paperback 422: Avon 559 (PBO, 1954)

Title: A Cartoon Guide to the Kinsey Report
Editor: Charles Preston
Cover artist: "cem" (??)

Yours for: $7


Best things about this cover:
  • "Facts of Life: After Dark"
  • Ladies, if you want to frame your ample bosom in a truly classy manner, Maltese fur is the only way to go.
  • Why are those girls so happy-looking? Do they think the good Dr. is going to be good at pleasing them because he ... knows ... stuff? Or are they just looking forward to talking dirty?


Best things about this back cover:
  • "Aaaaah! Oh, jesus, you scared me, lady. Maybe back up and comb your hair and put your mouth hole back near the center of your face."
  • Why do they have poor Mr. Preston down there in that tiny cramped rectangle. He looks like a peeping tom at Barbie's Dream House.

Page 123~


Since the titles are too small to read, I'll tell you that the first book he pulls of the shelf if "Tom Sawyer," the second is "Treasure Island," and the third is "Kinsey." I actually like this cartoon a lot. Little kids have priorities.


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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Paperback 421: Kiss Me, Deadly / Mickey Spillane (Signet 1000)

Paperback 421: Signet 1000 (1st ptg, 1953)

Title: Kiss Me, Deadly
Author: Mickey Spillane
Cover artist: James Meese

Yours for: $13


Best things about this cover:
  • "OK, you can see my left boob, but it's gonna cost you. *Really* cost you..."
  • What room are they supposed to be in? The kitchen? An office? Somebody's workshop? I'm kind of mesmerized by the miniature barn-like structure directly over the guy's head. And by the crimson carpet, of course.
  • I have a huge crush on Spillane's writing. Lush and emotive and tornadic and fearless. I haven't read this one, though—just seen the (insane, campy) movie. It is one of the great Bad movies of all time.


Best things about this back cover:
  • In case you didn't know, in the middle of the last century, Spillane was the best-selling author since Moses. Infuriated critics, who still don't know what to do with him, frankly. Easy to love Hammett and Chandler. Hard to love the (gun-toting, dame-ogling) bull in the china shop.
  • If you've never read Spillane, I recommend "One Lonely Night" most of all. It develops the idea that Hammer is "evil for the good." It also features a very memorable spanking scene.

Page 123~
[The ropes] were wet and slippery with my own blood. My fingernails broke tugging at them, but it was the blood that did it. I felt one come free, the next one and my hand was loose. It only took a few minutes longer to get the other one off and my feet off the end of the bed and I was standing up with my heart trying to pound the shock away and the pain back in place.

P.S. blog traffic here is up but comments seem down. I would be happier if things were the other way around, actually. Of course I'd be happiest if traffic *and* comments were up. So feel free to chime in, and spread the word.

P.P.S. I am toying around with focusing my Crime Fiction course (this fall) on the Vietnam War era (roughly '60-'75). Books and movies don't have to have anything specifically to do with the war. Recommendations are welcome. Also, this summer I will be watching my way through Every Crime Movie (VERY broadly defined) in that period (though I may not make it out of 1961, who knows). I'll be letting you know what's on tap every week or so. So far I've watched "Portrait in Black" (1960) (Anthony Quinn, Lana Turner; horrible) and "Never Let Go" (1960) (Peter Sellers; amazing). "Never Let Go" was a revelation, with Peter Sellers as a sadistic garage owner at the center of a stolen car ring. Definitely makes the "Recommended" list. I'm halfway through "Le Trou" (1960), a prison escape movie that (so far) is wonderful. Also halfway through "The Girl in Lovers' Lane" (1960), which I'm watching as an episode of "Mystery Science Theater 3000," so that should give you some idea how good it is...

In the crime fiction queue for this week: "Beatniks" (1960) and "Seven Thieves" (1960). Looks like "Beatniks" also got the "MST3K" treatment, so ... that should be fun.

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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Paperback 420: Smoldering Women / Burton St. John (Beacon B585F)

Paperback 420: Beacon B585F (PBO, 1963)

Title: Smoldering Women
Author: Burton St. John
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $30


Best things about this cover:
  • Everything pales before the righteous name of Burton St. John.
  • I think the cover artist took the title a bit too literally—I can barely see the strangely posed women and their amorphous underthings for all the smoke.
  • "Hey Judy, do you smell smoke? [sniff, sniff] Hmm, it's not coming from my armpits ..."
  • Wow, that tagline doesn't mess around. It gets right down to business. Between "bizarre" and "depraved" ... and the mother pimping her daughters in a burning building ... this cover is failing at its putative goal of turning me on.


Best things about this back cover:
  • "Jessica was FRANK!" — dingdingdingding. Add another to the "frank" collection ...
  • So the mom isn't whoring out her daughters so much as offering them up as subjects of quasi-medical experimentation. If clinically treating a frigid woman and her nymphomaniac sister is really what "most men dream about," then the "stunning answer" to the question "What is really abnormal?" is "me." I've never dreamed about those two in my life.
I just read the last page of this book. It involves a white man telling a black girl to give up on her dream of being his lover, advising her to marry the (black) "stable boy," but then fucking her anyway. So, instead of Page 123, I give you Page 151:

A beam of sun laid a spear of gold across her breast. He stepped toward her. They came together in a bursting flood of delight.

The End. So either they fucked or they detonated themselves in some kind of suicide pact.

P.S. "A beam of sun laid a spear of gold" should be arrested for crimes against metaphor.


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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Paperback 419: The Doctor and the Dike / Jason Hytes (Midwood Y176)

Paperback 419: Midwood Y176 (PBO, 1962)

Title: The Doctor & the Dike
Author: Jason Hytes
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $21


Best things about this cover:
  • If that is his receptionist's regular office behavior, I'd say she has a bigger problem than (capital L!) Lesbianism.
  • Love the expression on his face: "Hmmm, that's odd. My comically large diploma didn't prepare me for this eventuality..."
  • Garters are sexy.
  • I don't quite understand what she's supposed to be doing. Is that a dress she has just removed? Silk cloth with which she's performing some kind of dance? A space alien that has bitten her hand and won't let go?


Best things about this back cover:
  • "Gwenn's breasts were too small" — I'm not sure that qualifies as "interesting"; "Gwenn's breasts spoke to her at night"—that would be interesting.
  • I will give this back cover one thing: I *do* want to know what "his own problem" is now. Although if it's something as simple and predictable as "he keeps nailing his patients," I'll be at least a little disappointed.
  • "Ow, my core!"

Page 123~

Reed wet his lips (1), suddenly parched, his mind aflame with thoughts of Patricia and her strange behavior (2). "This girl," he rasped drily (3), "what did she look like?" He balled his hands into tight fists as he awaited her reply.
  1. First, gross. Second, when I played clarinet, I often used my lips to wet my reed.
  2. Come on, just tell us! Between the back cover and this sentence, I've had just about enough of your ambiguity, mister.
  3. I really wish I could post an audio file of me trying to recreate what this sounds like. I sound like an aging smoker picking someone out of a line-up ("This girl... [cough]").


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