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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