Friday, November 23, 2012

Paperback 584: The Delicate Ape / Dorothy B. Hughes (Pocket Books 422)

Paperback 584: Pocket Books 422 (1st ptg, 1946)

Title: The Delicate Ape
Author: Dorothy B. Hughes
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $17


Best things about this cover:
  • I have not read this book, but I dearly hope that this cover is some kind of surreal metaphor and not an actual scene from the book. 
  • Who would pick this book up based on its cover? "Hmmm, I've always been curious about apes who are also sexual sadists and aesthetes ... I guess I'll give this a try."
  • Love the flag motif against the camouflage background. It's like some horribly ill-conceived army recruitment poster. (Upon closer inspection, it's actually a camo-colored map of the world)


Best things about this back cover:

  • Well, if you want to know what this book is about, that first paragraph really isn't going to help you much.
  • I think the cover is a depiction of "a seductive force in evil hands." 
  • I assume the information he has, the information everyone wants, is data on the disastrous consequences of a flower diet in the ape population.

Page 123~

"He's an old man. Something could happen."
"These opportune events do not often occur." Watkins scooped a spoon of ice cream. 

Spy's gotta eat.


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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Paperback 583: Rape of Honor / Willi Heinrich (Permabook M-4247)

Paperback 583: Permabook M-4247 (1st ptg, 1962)

Title: Rape of Honor
Author: Willi Heinrich
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $10

Best things about this cover:
  • Rape of Honor! It's like regular rape, except not at all like regular rape and made up by some emasculated douchebag.
  • Like I want to read a book about rape by a guy named "Willi."
  • If you killed the color Pink and left it to rot in the woods for a week, it would look like this.
  • Willi Heinrich is also the author of "Crack of Doom." Willi needs a new translator (his current translator, fyi, is Sigrid Rock)


Best things about this back cover:
  • "Yes, I know. I'm even less sexy up close."
  • Sartre *wishes* he wrote dialogue this bewildering / existential.
  • I assume that when she flings her gown open, she reveals that she's wearing her lucky Tweety Bird t-shirt.

Page 123~

Rupert stared aghast at her indifferent face. "You're married to the father of your husband?"

Seriously, Willi, fire Sigrid, 'cause this shit makes no sense.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Bonus picture—a preview of forthcoming Pop Sensation books (all pulled out of a bookstore in Ithaca yesterday)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Paperback 582: Campus Call Girl / Scott O'Neill (Gold Star Books IL7-35)

Paperback 582: Gold Star Books IL7-35 (PBO, 1964)

Title: Campus Call Girl
Author: Scott O'Neill
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $25

Best things about this cover:
  • Get her some non-molded-plastic hair and I'd be In Love.
  • That is one of the best come-hither/fuck-you glances I've seen on a paperback cover.
  • Striped towel and striped bikini = Campus. Fierce heels and cigarette = Call Girl
  • I'm weirdly distracted by "into" sitting there all alone in its own line. Maybe it can call up "The" and they can get together.


Best things about this back cover:
  • "... but all the boys call me 'Double D' [WINK]"
  • "In case you were wondering what I'd look like in mirror symmetry—voila!"
  • Because nothing says "call girl" like faux-wood paneling.

Page 123~

Aniel shrugged. "Depends on how long 'long' is."

Truer words ...


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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Paperback 581: When You Think of Me / Erskine Caldwell (Signet S1839)

Paperback 581: Signet 1839 (1st ptg, 1960)

Title: When You Think of Me 
Author: Erskine Caldwell
Cover artist: [Signature blurred / Uncredited] — interior illustr. by Louis Macouillard

Yours for: $20

Best things about this cover:
  • I know Caldwell girls are typically very "earthy," but I don't normally think of them as literally growing out of the earth.
  • I love the guy in the background. He's like "That ... looks like ... what the hell?"
  • The hyphen on "Ameri-ca's" hurts. A lot.

Best things about this back cover:
  • "Living, loving, laughing ... suffering!" Ouch. It's really, really hard to land that Quadruple Alliteration in competition.
  • I'm curious about the engineering on this "gun to distribute bread among starving peasants."
  • Whoever typeset "bum's—eye" doesn't know his en dash from his rear end (-ash).

Page 123~
"They'd never understand what you went through at a time like that. All you knew was that your pal, who had gone through hell with you, was dead. That puts a queer feeling into any man."
One of the earliest documented discussions of post-traumatic queer disorder.


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Bonus interior illustrations include stunners like "Josef Stalin Likes To Drink" 


... and "Dementors Adopt Potter As Their Own":


Friday, November 9, 2012

Paperback 580: The Black Angel / Cornell Woolrich (Avon Murder Mystery Monthly 27)

Paperback 580: Avon Murder Mystery Monthly 27 (1st ptg, 1944)

Title: The Black Angel
Author: Cornell Woolrich
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $30

Best things about this cover:
  • She-Bat!
  • I do love Skeleton Warhol.
  • This book's kind of beat up, but it's complete, it's intact, and a 1944 Woolrich is a 1944 Woolrich (this was part of a stash of books I pulled out of a coastal Oregon bookstore this past summer—the rest of the stash to be covered in the books that follow)

Best things about this back cover:
  • That's a pretty rare Chandler right there. I don't really have anything else to say about this back cover. You can see the foxing and tanning near the spine there ("foxing" and "tanning" being fun words I learned in the process of collecting).

Page 123~
"Don't ever call me that name," I said shakily. "Don't even say it over a second time now to remind yourself what ti was. Don't use it again, Ladd, or I'll — you'll never see me again. Call me any other name, anything you want. Anything but that."
Rejected lyrics from Paul Simon's "You Can Call Me Al."


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Paperback 579: The Score / Richard Stark (Donald Westlake) (Pocket Books 35014)

Paperback 579: Pocket Books 35014 (PBO, 1964)

Title: The Score
Author: Richard Stark (pseud. of Donald Westlake)
Cover artist: Harry Bennett

Yours for: No way (probably worth $50-75 in this (perfect) condition)

Best things about this cover:
  • A fine paperback original by one of my very favorite crime writers. If I had to save just a dozen books from my collection, this would probably be one of them.
  • Startlingly original cover painting by Harry Bennett. Brilliant use of the windshield as a frame-within-the-frame, highlighting Parker and his gang of robbers by stark contrast with the darkness of the imposing, cover-filling truck. Little highlights of color here and there really pop. Red background adds an intense, menacing edge to the whole scene. Just great.
  • I'm reading my way through all the Parker novels right now (well, when I get time in between all the damn reading I have to do for work). Just finished teaching "The Hunter" in my crime fiction class—the opening of that book is one of the greatest opening chapters / pieces of character development I've ever read.

Best things about this back cover:
  • IFFY! "Goddam!"
  • Now the truck is (literally, visually) riding on "IF..." Nice. 
  • "It was so stupid it might even work."—the creative team behind "Crystal Pepsi"

Page 123~

Just at four a.m. they entered the Command Room and found the three bodies; all three were now dead.

That post-semicolon part is brutal, particularly the "now."


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Paperback 578: False Witness / Helen Nielsen (Ballantine U2150)

Paperback 578: Ballantine Books U2150 (2nd ptg, 1966)

Title: False Witness
Author: Helen Nielsen
Cover artist: [illegible]

Yours for: $10

Best things about this cover:
  • When Drapery Attacks!
  • I give up; what the hell am I looking at? Looks like a Cirque de Soleil act gone very, very wrong.
  • That dude's like, "Uh ... Can you help me? I think I'm supposed to be on a different cover?"


Best things about this back cover:
  • Why would you emphasize words that mean nothing to a potential reader? "'RANDOM NAME!'!? Ooh, this looks good..."
  • This description is very, very confusing. I really lost track of things at "foreigners."
  • Looks like strange photographs of roses were a big thing in late '60s cover design.

Page 123~

I didn't comment. The silence was ominous enough without confusing it with words I couldn't prove. 

Sometimes you just gotta shut up and enjoy the ominousness.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Friday, November 2, 2012

Paperback 577: Club Tycoon Sends Man to Moon / Felix Mendelsohn Jr. (Book Co. of America 13)

Paperback 577: Book Co. of America 13 (PBO, 1965)

Title: Club Tycoon Sends Man to Moon
Author: Felix Mendelsohn Jr.
Cover artist: [signature illegible] [Brennan? Boorman? Boron?]

Yours for: $20

Best things about this cover:
  • That! That is what I want to look like when I'm 75. Like an old Greek rap star supervillain. If I don't end up with a Money Throne, a Soviet missile, and a real-life Modigliani model in my house by the time I die, I will consider my life wasted.
  • I assume that throne is also some kind of hovercraft. I mean, why would you go through the trouble of building something that awesome if it couldn't fly?
  • I bought this book because it is insane-looking. A silly-sounding title from a very minor press, written by a guy with a ludicrous pseudonym. If I had a "Kabinet of Kooky Kuriosities," I'd put this book there.


Best things about this back cover:
  • You have no idea how much I *don't* want to know what "built-in stump" means.
  • You can get your "World's Greatest Lecher" mug at
  • I love how "wonderfully gay" is echoed further down the page by "a bachelor by choice" (and, possibly, "Cryptanalyst").
  • According to that final sentence, the author and I are 80% alike. This worries me.
  • Publishers were correct in their prediction that this would not be Felix Mendelsohn Jr's last novel. He seems to have written one other, "Superbaby," which I Must Acquire:

Page 23~ (the book is exactly 122 pages long)
Wayne: "What's your line, Mr. Dormin?"
Dormin: "Laxatives."
Sure. Why not?


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

P.S. Hope my east coast readers weathered Sandy successfully. We had a state of emergency up here, but nothing happened. Still, I was prepared:


P.P.S. I've been meaning to post this pic of a sign for a local deli — in Endwell (!) NY — just 'cause. I haven't been in yet, but I am ... curious: