Saturday, August 30, 2014

Paperback 808: The Golden Blade / John Clou (Graphic Giant G209)

Paperback 808: Graphic Giant G209 (1st ptg, 1955)

Title: The Golden Blade
Author: John Clou
Cover artist: Robert Maguire

Yours for: $12

Best things about this cover:

Ron Weasley fantasizes about gutting that lousy scar-faced pretty boy.
Easily the best painting you'll ever see of a shirtless caped redhead admiring his primary phallic symbol. (Secondary phallic symbol safely sheathed on right hip)
I am not a fan of these big dumb historical romance montages, but if you gotta do it, yeah, go with Robert Maguire. Grace and beauty of his painting will soften the overwhelming cheese of the subject matter.
Everything about that woman is improbable. Actually, I would change that to "probable" if you just moved her indoors. There's no way she's that artfully, nakedly posed out there in the dirt of the battlefield.


Best things about this back cover:

  • Everybody dance now.
  • "Enough with the hip-shaking. Fill my goblet and then polish my sex boots, woman!"
  • I like the blue-skirted lady, or, as I call her, The Mead Whisperer.

Page 123~

The day after Cholan's party arrived at the cave. Juji went hunting. He was pleased that Gesikie offered to accompany him, for he wanted an audience to acclaim his skill with the bow.

This page also features Jhotuz, Kisil, and Temujine, in case you're interested.


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Friday, August 29, 2014

Paperback 807: Night Has 1,000 Eyes / William Irish (George Hopley) (Cornell Woolrich) (Dell 679)

Paperback 807: Dell 679 (1st ptg, 1953)

Title: Night Has 1000 Eyes
Author: Cornell Woolrich, writing as William Irish, writing as George Hopley
Cover artist: Tommy Shoemaker

Yours for: $15


Best things about this cover:
  • Pretty classic stuff here—from the highly regarded suspense / crime writer so prolific his pseudonyms had pseudonyms, to the sensational paranoid title, to the panicked sideglance of our barefoot bridge walker. This book is the broken, bruised, beating heart of the vintage paperback era.
  • Book is warped and well read, but tight and complete. The collector in me likes a fine copy, but the pulp enthusiast in me loves a book in distress.
  • I really want to capitalize "has" and put a comma in that "1000."
  • I see your "Thriller" and raise you to "SUPER-THRILLER"!


Best things about this back cover:
  • Mostly dull, but I like the way the left margin follows the contours of the moon.
  • Whoa. "1000" has become "a THOUSAND"! This *is* super-thrilling!
  • Everything in red is balderdash. Fantastic, turgid, red balderdash.

Page 123~

I don't know what my lips said, but my heart said to him, it's human not to be able to bear knowing when you are to die.

I often don't know what my lips said.


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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Paperback 806: The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner / Alan Sillitoe (Signet P2629)

Paperback 806: Signet P2629 (6th ptg, undated) (1960s)

Title: The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner
Author: Alan Sillitoe
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: [Not Applicable]


Best things about this cover:
  • The title font. The title font, I like.
  • Did you have to capture the dreariness of life in a mill town so … precisely? "Shopkeep, your sootiest looking book, please."
  • The only reason I own this book is because my wife stole it from the bathroom of Collegetown Bagels in Ithaca. I mean … "found it in." Definitely not "stole it from."


Best things about this back cover:
  • "How to convey the dreariness of life in a mill town on the *back* cover … think, think … I know!" [Explains this back cover concept in detail]
  • "And beat it they do"! Promising.
  • I love how completely detached and elitist the Saturday Review review is. "Oh, the grubby lower classes … delightful!"
  • No cover artist credit, but at least we know where it was printed! USA! Thanks, Signet!

Page 123~ (from "The Disgrace of Jim Scarfedale")

I wanted to sit in my overalls listening to the wireless and reading the paper in peace.

I feel you, buddy.


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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Paperback 805: Nina / Brian Black (Beacon B745X)

Paperback 805: Beacon B745X (PBO, 1964)

Title: Nina
Author: Brian Black
Cover artist: Uncredited [Barton?—see reversed signature, under couch]

Yours for: $20


Best things about this cover:

  • I wish that, many years ago, I had created a "Women Spilling Backwards Off of Beds and Couches" tag. It's a thing.
  • Looks like "twisted pleasures" is a literal statement. "I'm sorry, Burt, but I can't get in the mood unless I'm doing [gets on couch and adjusts herself] … [grunt, awkward dress tugging] … this!"
  • I like how this cover is a panel from a Power Point presentation. Bullet list!
  • Wow, high heels have done terrible and unnatural things to her feet.
  • When were biceps bracelets trendy?
  • I like that couch quite a bit.


Best things about this back cover:

  • What is *proper* love with strangers? Does it involve handshakes and handwritten thank-you notes?
  • "Candid"!? What happened to "frank"!? I miss "frank."
  • Unfair to Jet Set! I'm so glad that we as a culture have evolved out of the terrible Jet-Settism that plagued our forefathers.

Page 123~

Nina found only one fault with the rodeo. It happened only once a year.

I knew it. I took one look at that cover and thought, "this is gonna be about the rodeo."


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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Paperback 804: The Grass is Singing / Doris Lessing (Bantam 1045)

Paperback 804: Bantam 1045 (1st ptg, 1952)

Title: The Grass Is Singing
Author: Doris Lessing
Cover artist: Fletcher Martin

Yours for: $15


Best things about this cover:
  • OK, there are several remarkable things about this cover, but I'm somehow most struck by the "Painted by" credit! Attribution! Credit! So useful! Why aren't all paperback covers like this!?
  • If you want an iconic picture for "The White Gaze," Here You Go!
  • Doris Lessing won the Nobel Prize in Literature, so I assume the writing quality here is a grade or two above "Mandingo."


Best things about this back cover:
  • "Mounting tensions" WINK WINK
  • "The one sin no white woman in Africa dares" … based on the cover, I'm betting on "Sloth."
  • Technically "Brave New World" had already come, twenty years earlier. Still, I love how excited this book is.

Page 123~

Then followed a time of dull misery: not the sharp bouts of unhappiness that were what had attacked her earlier. Now she felt as if she were going soft inside at the core, as if a soft rottenness was attacking her bones.

The horrible days before Boniva.


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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Paperback 803: Love and the Countess to Boot / Jack Iams (Dell 139)

Paperback 803: Dell 139 (1st ptg, 1946)

Title: Love and the Countess to Boot 
Author: Jack Iams
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $12


Best things about this cover:

  • Cupid does not mess around with rival gods. Just look what he did to Santa!
  • Everyone should have a countess to boot.
  • This cover is ultra-terrible. No countesses. No boots. Weird log-like clouds. Bah.


Best things about this back cover:

  • Ah, that's more like it. Mapback!
  • Caribbean mapback with St. Croix inset and even bigger Bland Seascape inset. Hot.
  • Ooh, Charlotte AMALIE. I recall that place name from a crossword clue I Did Not Know.

Page 123~

He sipped the frothy swizzle, enjoying Walter's rising curiosity.

That line is either benign and dopey or super-homoerotic, depending on your mood.


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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Paperback 802: The Man With a Certain Talent / Pierre Sichel (Signet T1977)

Paperback 802: Signet T1977 (1st ptg, 1961)

Title: The Man With a Certain Talent
Author: Pierre Sichel
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $10


Best things about this cover:

  • Perhaps the giantest, most ill-defined floating head in my collection.
  • Cover design is truly poor. The fonts are not making me feel the emotions I'm supposed to be feeling, and nothing about wispy blue smoke-face there is jibing with "shock-powered" (whatever that means) and "joy-ride." Maybe "hell," but only in the sense that the Head looks like he has returned therefrom, perhaps as a warning. "Rural poet," however, I buy.
  • Title is also bad / nondescript. Ditto sleepy New England village down there.
  • The lady is sad that they have relegated her to such a tiny piece of cover real estate. "I had my hair done and wore my nice gloves and everything … [sob] …"


Best things about this back cover: 
  • Ugh, text.
  • Please, I beg you, do not use "the sodden tragedy of his life" in my obit. Thanks.
  • "Pierre Sichel bares the forces that skyrocket…" Nice metaphoring!
  • Williams College!? Screw those guys. [Rejected in 1987 and Never Forgetting!]
  • The dumbest editorial decision By Far where this book is concerned was changing the title from the original, awesome, "The Sapbucket Genius." That title has layers. *This* title just lies there, vaguely, pointlessly, so devoid of specific meaning that, like the Giant Head (ironically), it's barely there. I mean, he clearly has at least two talents. Come on, man.

Page 123~

Here was the ideal promising, provocative, compromising situation and, while she knew I wouldn't try a Flodge, I knew she at least expected me to make the most of it. Not behave like a stick.
You have no idea how disappointed I was to learn that "Flodge" was just another character in the book. I wanted it to be the Greatest Idiom Ever (meaning what, I don't know).


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Paperback 801: Morgan's Daughter / H.G. de Lisser (Ernest Benn Ltd (UK) nn)

Paperback 801: Ernest Benn Ltd (UK) nn (1st ptg, 1961)

Title: Morgan's Daughter
Author: H.G. de Lisser
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $16


Best things about this cover:

  • "Remove the ascot at once, or you will force me to make use of what appears to be an awfully anachronistic-looking handgun … sir."
  • I hope this is a bodice-ripper, 'cause she's certainly ready.
  • He has double fear hand! Or else "Air Keyboard Hands."
  • I wanted this to be Morgan le Fay's daughter, but no.
  • I picked this up in Owego a couple weeks ago, during an impromptu trip to a bookstore basement. Nothing Great, but plenty of Good.


Best things about this back cover:

  • "Complacency returned"! Phew! Slavery was really rough for white people.
  • The name "Three-fingered Jack" is making me thirsty for whiskey.
  • Oh … *Captain* Morgan is her dad. I just got that. Now I want rum.
  • With such awkward punctuation and grammar, what might not be the meaning of that last question?
  • Wait, she became the "mistress" of *all* the slaves (and maroons!)? What might not be possible?

NOTE: Maroon
1. often Maroon
a. A fugitive Black slave in the West Indies in the 17th and 18th centuries.
b. A descendant of such a slave.
2. A person who is marooned, as on an island.

Page 123~

Captain Thornton was a man of action. And now he was a soldier attending to his duty. He swung himself off his horse and his men followed his example. So did Cudjoe.

I wish I could tell you Cudjoe was a man-eating Saint Bernard. I really do.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

P.S. Should be back to a roughly 3x/week posting schedule now, for the foreseeable future.