Monday, September 12, 2011

Paperback 456: Stairways to Sin / Kip Madigan (Fabian Z-114)

[With postscript about "Book Blogger Appreciation Week"]

Paperback 456: Fabian Books Z-114
(7th ptg, 1959)

Title: Stairways to Sin
Author: Kip Madigan
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $14


Best things about this cover:
  • "So this is a sporting-house? Gee, neat. So, where's football and baseball and stuff? ... Badminton?"
  • "Alright, Billy, I'll pull a quarter from behind your ear one more time, but then I have to get back to fucking strangers for money, OK?"
  • Whoever did this cover painting this missed the art class about "perspective." And "proportion." And "good."
  • "Windbreak?" Again, I have to wonder if cover copy in this era wasn't written primarily by ESL students armed only with dog-eared thesauruses and an admirable "what-the-hell" spirit.
  • 7th printing!!!! Unless this thing had print runs of, like, six, I'm stunned.


Best things about this back cover:
  • This is the first time I've ever seen "sporting" to describe prostitution. "I know that when I need a windbreak, I like to go sporting. Works every time."
  • "Though his work is out of tune with the literati" ... HA ha. You could have stopped that sentence after "tune."
  • "Incest for Rene"!?!?! Wow. Worst Christmas ever.
  • Thousands of letters!!!! I would literally (i.e. figuratively) kill to read even a half dozen of those letters.

Page 123~

"I'm not dumb," she said, dauntless, "I'm just ignorant."

"For instance, what does 'dauntless' mean?"


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

P.S. it's something called Book Blogger Appreciation Week. I doubt this blog counts as a book blog in the sense that the Appreciation Week's organizers intend, as it's overwhelmingly about covers, not content. Anyway, here's my part—anyone listed under "Fellow Cover Critics" in my sidebar is worth checking out. My favorite book blog that is not mine is "Caustic Cover Critic." Always thoughtful writing about the good, the bad, and the phenomenally ugly in the world of book covers. And thus ends my contribution to building blogger "community" in anything but the most indirect of ways. Cheers.


Eggmaster said...

"Mary, don't touch the Thin White Duke like that!!"

Jenners said...

I wonder if Rene can return that Christmas present????

So glad you linked up to the BBAW stuff because this post was hilarious! Love it! Will be back if this the kind of stuff you do regularly!

Jenners said...

Oh wait … now I realize why your name sounded so familiar -- you were a Dorkfest winner and I was Vice Dork last year!!! Michael5000 is our mutual friend!! DUh … I knew I knew your name from somewhere!

Jean said...

Well I think you count as a book blogger. And now I'm probably going to subscribe to the Caustic Cover Critic. So...yay?

Also, "sporting house" as a synonym for a brothel is a new one to me. I totally thought basketball.

JRSM said...

Thank you, Rex!

I do like the way Melvin has had so much rough sex in the stairway that he's had to have his pant-knees patched.

infoqueen said...

"Sporting house" and "sporting woman" come up in Westerns now and then. I know Larry McMurtry used it in "Lonesome Dove."

Mel u said...

Hilarious post and my Name is Melvin!

Hi, I am stopping by to visit your blog via the list of posts for Day one

Please Stop by My Blog if you Like

borky said...

'Kip' in English English means 'sleep' or 'bed', so I find myself wondering if Kip 'Mad Again' was aware of this, (in the same way I remember watching an episode of Lost in Space and wondering whether the script writer(s) knew the English meaning of the name given to a character called Officer Bollix; 'Mom' actress June Lockhart clearly did, but in carefully pronouncing it "Bo licks", managed to make it sound somehow salacious)?

"I know that when I need a windbreak, I like to go sporting. Works every time."

You might find baked beans a less strenuous alternative.


Rex, I've been clicking away on the Book Blogger chart but you remain at 117, so presumably that's the order in which you enlisted - in which case, how does one vote? Or is it only fellow bloggers who get to vote.

The disadvantage you have, of course, is a lot of people, including me in the past, probably think your blog's for teeny boppers obsessed with pop, (even if retro pop, as I once supposed).

DemetriosX said...

Seriously, sporting-house? Hyphenated no less. Did this book fall through a time portal from 1880?

Brian Busby said...

Oh, man, if "sporting-house" is a euphemism, I hate to think about "windbreak".

Might explain the knee-patches.

Rick said...

Sporting house was in common usage through the 1930s at least. Note that the name of the pimp in the Gershwin musical PORGY AND BESS (which opened in 1935) was "Sportin' Life"....

Pat said...

During World War II the 29th Infantry Division (the Blue and Gray Division; named because it was made up of National Guardsmen from Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania) organized a brothel and called it "The Blue and Gray Riding Academy".