Sunday, September 28, 2014

Paperback 821: Tiger Street / Trevor Elleston (Lion Books 207)

Paperback 821: Lion Books 207 (PBO, 1954)

Title: Tiger Street
Author: Elleston Trevor
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $25


Best things about this cover:

  • Richie: "Whaddya think of my left thigh, lady? See this tendon on my inner thigh, here? It's been gettin' a pretty good stretch in my yoga classes. This is kinda how I do Warrior 2. I got good form, don't ya think? And my sweater's pretty nifty too."
  • Richie: "Jimmy, she ain't sayin' nothin.'" Jimmy: "Hey lady, he's showin' ya his yoga thighs. Tell him he looks nice. That's just common courtesy. Hey, you got a light? These matches don't work so good."
  • She doesn't have "fear hand" so much as "backing away as far as I can hand."
  • The original version of this painting just had the one trashcan, but then the art director was all, "Needs more trashcan." And thus the viewed-through-the-legs trashcan was born.
  • Tiger Street! The Musical! "Walk up a staircase / Make out in a doorway / Pick fruit from a trashcan / Show off your firm thighs … Tiger Street!"
  • Love the background. Street design is pretty stylized, but still has tons of nice detail. I especially like the awnings and fire escapes.
  • This cover features ten people. Find them all. Go!


Best things about this back cover:

  • This was their HOUR of HELL!—that one time they interrupted "Real Housewives" for some stupid Presidential Address. Worst Hour Ever!!!
  • Sorry, no, I am not buying that a human being has the name of "Vosper." Maybe he's literally an "animal," 'cause I might buy "Vosper" as a pet's name. Maybe.
  • First there were dark rumblings, then there were quiet rumblings. What other kinds of rumblings might this novel contain!? Start reading at once, before you stop caring.

Page 123~
"Quietly, mate—push the door to—you saw the blood, yes, where?"
"Over there by—"
"All right, stay there will you … yes, I see, and this in the crack, too, eh? What else, Cliff?"
First, this guy's super-bossy. Second, there's something painfully anticlimactic about "Cliff."


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Friday, September 26, 2014

Paperback 820: Strangers on a Train / Patricia Highsmith (Bantam 905)

Paperback 820: Bantam 905 (1st ptg, 1951)

Title: Strangers on a Train
Author: Patricia Highsmith
Cover artist: Stanley Zuckerberg

Yours for: $17


Best things about this cover:

  • That dude wins Best Everything at the Paperback Cover Art Oscars. Best Eyes, Best Facial Expression, Boniest Hands, Best Gun-Caressing, Best Damned Trousers On The Planet, etc.
  • What year is it? She looks she just walked out of a saloon circa 1889.
  • This cover reminds me that I really need a flask. Bourbon is never close enough at hand.


Best things about this back cover:

  • Even the handwriting is "tense and frightening."
  • "Superbly Revolting" is my new go-to ambiguous pseudo-compliment.
  • You can't really see what the original hardcover art was like, but I assure you, it's pretty bleeping ugly. And no Demented Trouser Guy, so … I'll stick with the cheap stuff, thanks.

Page 123~
He longed to merge his life with hers.
And the winner for Best Euphemism goes to …


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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Paperback 819: The Dain Curse / Dashiell Hammett (Vintage V-624)

Paperback 819: Vintage V-624 (1st thus, 1978)

Title: The Dain Curse
Author: Dashiell Hammett
Cover artist: Alan Reingold

Yours for: $12


Best things about this cover:

  • Oh, '70s. Never change.
  • Aside from the horrible color scheme, the other things that scream "'70s" are the particular look of the cult leader (very hippy-Jesus-chesthair) and the Manson-murder-looking girl.
  • I actually kind of love this cover. Highly unusual, lots going on. Long live Mustachioed and Fedoraed James Coburn!


Best things about this back cover:

  • Just the dumb-looking statue and some words. With the ornate title font now in isolation, we are left to marvel at its bright blue shadow. The book really wants to convey period authenticity, really, it does, but …
  • The aesthetic appears to be "Deco Goes to Woodstock."
  • Ross Macdonald secretly hated Chandler (for good and bad reasons), and so every quote I read from him now about anyone else's greatness, including his own, always contains a tacit, "So Fuck You, Ray!" This includes the Macdonald blurb often used on Chandler covers.
  • I tend to leave books just as I bought them. Hence the '90s price tag. No sticker puller, I.

Page 123~
"Now how can you say that?" he remonstrated. "Ain't she a dope fiend? And cracked in the bargain…?"
I would read "Ain't She a Dope Fiend?"


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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Paperback 818: Freud: His Dream and Sex Theories / Joseph Jastrow (Perma Books M4134)

Paperback 818: Perma Books 4134 (1st ptg, 1959)

Title: Freud: His Dream and Sex Theories
Author: Joseph Jastrow
Cover design: Charles Skaggs

Yours for: $7


Best things about this cover:

  • I know. It's terrible, right? It's easily the worst, i.e. the most boring, cover in my entire collection. I think. It's up there, anyway.
  • I sort of like the background pattern, in a wallpaper or possibly denim pants kind of way.
  • "The Stuff of Dreams" made me laugh. Yes, sex dreams can lead to "stuff." For sure. Especially if you are a young man.


Best things about this back cover:

  • I see your boring, Front Cover, and I raise you five borings.
  • Even "an appreciation" is boring. We get it, you're legit psych, not phony porn-psych. Ease up on the Big For Legitimacy.
  • Scholars are "dispassionate." Only the best pulp novels are "frank."

Page 123~

It is safe to predict that neither in education, nor in the family or social relations shall we return to a pre-Freudian era.

This is, by far, the most exciting sentence on this page. WHO BOUGHT THIS? Men trying desperately to kill their 4+-hour boners?!


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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Paperback 817: Hero's Lust / Kermit Jaediker (Lion 156)

Paperback 817: Lion Books 156 (PBO, 1953)

Title: Hero's Lust
Author: Kermit Jaediker
Cover artist: Lou Marchetti

Yours for: $17


Best things about this cover:
  • "The Quick Brown Fox wants you should shaddup!"
  • That tie has a mind of its own.
  • I like the puffy letters.
  • Miss Axilla, 1953
  • Seriously, though, she's pretty damned hot and I enjoy what she is wearing.  I can't recall seeing a top quite like that on paperback covers before. Spaghetti straps!


Best things about this back cover:
  • OK, +1million points for the juxtaposition of "the City stank" with her armpit.
  • Aw, I was sad to see the writer give up on the alliteration there in the first paragraph. I can think of at least one double-hard-C phrase that could substitute for "harlot's smile"...
  • "Damnfool" is a first-rate adjective.

Page 123~

"No prostitute walks our streets."

The whole page is a delightfully delusional newspaper editorial.


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Friday, September 19, 2014

Paperback 816: The Outward Room / Millen Brand (Lion 26)

Paperback 816: Lion Books 26 (1st ptg, 1950)

Title: The Outward Room
Author: Millen Brand
Cover artist: Harry Schaare

Yours for: $14


Best things about this cover:

  • Can an insane woman heat her lukewarm coffee with just the sustained gaze of her eyeballs?
  • Joe blamed Harriet for their second-place finish in the Shiniest Hair Pageant of 1949.
  • I have no idea what this book's about and don't really care because I'm *obsessed* with all the authentic '50s diner details. Napkin dispenser! Sugar dispenser! Ketchup bottle! Uniformed dude in front of the "25c" special sign next to the giant urn! Salt shaker, ribbed, for my pleasure! One of the few cover paintings where the people are far, far less interesting than their surroundings.
  • OK, her bumblebee/pirate top is pretty boss.


Best things about this back cover:

  • "No", she said. She felt no hunger. Which is why she said "no." Just to be clear.
  • This back cover came out during the brief Xtreme Font Smallness craze of 1950.
  • Insane girls are easy.
  • Harriet found Joe slightly more interesting than staring at ketchup, so she thought "Sure, why not?"

Page 123~
The clock moved, the dresses knew no sweat, set their loveliness against their bodies. Hospital, forget—she cut with the scissors, but thread, but memory until the present burned alone in the threads falling. 
"Hospital, Forget" would've made a much more interesting title.


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Monday, September 15, 2014

Paperback 815: This Is Elaine / Jason Hytes (Midwood F229)

Paperback 815: Midwood F229 (PBO, 1963)

Title: This Is Elaine
Author: Jason Hytes
Cover artist: Paul Rader

Yours for: $25


Best things about this cover:

  • Whoa. I was never a big "Seinfeld" fan, but maybe I need to reconsider …
  • I love how happy is to be warming her bare bottom with the flame of a single candle. It's the simple pleasures…
  • I am laughing so hard imagining the sad person sitting on the broken Merry-Go-Round of Sex.
  • Hmm. Define "Bestseller."
  • "Sex Before Six," the best-selling follow-up to "Fucking Before Five Fifteen."


Best things about this back cover:

  • I'd like to speak to the mayor.
  • "Jason Hytes has exposed their wanton merry-go-round of sex…" Wait, is this non-fiction? Did he go undercover, as it were?
  • At this point, if there is not an Actual Merry-Go-Round Of Sex in this book, I will be very, very disappointed, Jason Hytes.

Page 123~
Clay Brackett moved out of a group of men to block her path, his darkly handsome face flushed and lusting.
"Flushed and Lusting: The Clay Brackett's Face Story"


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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Paperback 814: Assignment: Moon Girl / Edward S. Aarons (Gold Medal d1849)

Paperback 814: Gold Medal d1849 (PBO, 1967)

Title: Assignment: Moon Girl
Author: Edward S. Aarons
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $24


Best things about this cover:
  • Assignment: Tiger Butt.
  • Fear has done terrible things to her Hand.
  • The brave, lonely harem girl protected Algaeville's last monument with the only proven defense against tiger attacks: sexiness.
  • Those letters look like an art project I once worked on in third grade.
  • This book is in nearly flawless condition. You can almost smell the moon algae tiger monument harem pants.


Best things about this back cover:
  • The lady and the tiger? Aw, you mean the front cover was a metaphor all along?! Boooo!
  • "Get on down to The Lady and the Tiger—half price on Har-Buri-Tos through Tuesday!"
  • Sam Durell sees that you're tailing him and doesn't like it.

Page 123~

Nobody was in the clear, these days.


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Friday, September 12, 2014

Paperback 813: I Always Wanted to Be Somebody / Althea Gibson (Pyramid G478)

Paperback 813: Pyramid G478  (1st ptg, 1960)

Title: I Always Wanted to Be Somebody
Author: Althea Gibson (ed. Ed Fitzgerald)
Cover artist: Robert V. Engel (aka 'Engle' for some reason)

Yours for: $18


Best things about this cover:

  • Not the most dynamic painting, but striking and endearing, as straight portrait painting goes. Rare, if not unique, in my collection for featuring (or even mentioning the existence of) a female black icon.
  • I normally squirm at handwriting fonts, but this one is somehow lovely. Nice change of color on "Somebody."
  • I wish this cover (or the back cover) featured more, uh, tennis.


Best things about this back cover:
  • There's something at least a little insulting about a back cover photo that showcases the fucking queen, while the ostensible subject of the book is literally marginalized, with her back turned. Also, I resent the idea that shaking hands with the queen makes you "somebody." I want the triumphant, trophy-holding shot!
  • This back cover actually makes the book sound fantastic. Minus the "jungle" / "Harlem" connection. That, I could do without. I realize "Asphalt Jungle" is a book / movie title, but still…
  • Oooh, *hard* liquor! Wow, that *is* tough. No Bud Light Lime-a-Ritas for her!

Page 123~

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Paperback 812: The Black Curtain / Cornell Woolrich (Dell 208)

Paperback 812: Dell 208 (1st ptg, 1948)

Title: The Black Curtain
Author: Cornell Woolrich
Cover artist: George Frederiksen

Yours for: $30


Best things about this cover:
  • Me: "Why is the right side of the cover all blacked out? … oh, that's the black curtain. I see…"
  • The Michelin Man stalks his next victim.
  • The Michelin Man is ready for his midnight duel.
  • The Michelin Man feels deep satisfaction at how thoroughly he has painted the town red.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Mapback!
  • 3=trees; 4=trees; 5=darker trees; 6=shrubs…
  • Architectural blueprints! 
  • You have to go through the pantry to get from the kitchen to the dining room?
  • "Don't go in that room." "Why, what's in there?" "Old man." "O dear god!"

Page 123~
"How is it that don't have the estate fenced in?" he asked. "Leave it open like this for anyone to trespass—"
Pretty sure that first question is missing a word. Also pretty sure "We'll have to feel out way through the rough" (on the same page) contains a typo. So … no more blaming the internet for shitty editing.


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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Paperback 811: Vengeance Is Mine / Mickey Spillane (Signet D2116)

Paperback 811: Signet D2116 (44th ptg, undated [1962])

Title: Vengeance Is Mine
Author: Mickey Spillane
Cover artist: Uh … I doubt it.

Yours for: $6


Best things about this cover:

  • It's pretty icky all around. Not sure why this hasn't been relegated to some dank cardboard box of "extras" in my basement. That said, I'm kind of fascinated by how ugly it is.
  • It's like someone was noodling with a prehistoric version of Photoshop, and then realized "no one's going to care anyway," and then just sent this weird silhouette thing into the editor. Neither the silhouette nor the naked lady is large enough to be compelling. Maybe if she were doing something more than blandly standing there as if waiting for a director to shout "Action!" 
  • Purple font for some reason!


Best things about this back cover:
  • Without the lady inside him, he looks like he *just* got bit on his left hip by some kind of flying insect. Insect-swatting hand!
  • "How many different font sizes can we squeeze in here?" "Shouldn't there be some rationale to the varied font sizes?" "[Blank stare]" …
  • Copywriter is perversely fond of compound adjectives. "Action-tough" and "bullet-sparked" are meaningless. I'll give him "lead-riddled" as slightly apt, but "forty-million-copy bestselling" is an ungainly beast. 

Page 123~
My fingers were hurting her and I couldn't help it. "I want you to say it, Mike. You've played games with so many women I won't be sure until I hear you say it yourself. Tell me."
That first sentence is very telling. Mike's love and Mike's violence have a disconcerting resemblance.


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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Paperback 810: The Intimate Stranger / William Lynch (Lion Books 25)

Paperback 810: Lion Books 25 (1st ptg, 1950)

Title: The Intimate Stranger
Author: William Lynch
Cover artist: Woodi (Ishmael)

Yours for: $10


Best things about this cover:
  • "No … not the dress strap … alright, alright, I give. I'll murder someone."
  • Melissa's lessons in "how to use furniture" were long and grueling.
  • I genuinely like her whole get-up. 
  • The Erotic Awakening of Ward Cleaver.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Well, there's your first problem, lady. You gotta offer yourself to one of them there sane guys.
  • "He was an artist … you know how they are."
  • Green polka dots are my new favorite back cover design concept.

Page 123~
The underbrush scraped her bare legs, leaving torn, painful weals, sometimes tearing away filings of flesh and her hands were sore and torn with the constant grasping of bushes for support.
That is a manifestly terrible sentence, on several levels, and yet I kinda wish the book were titled "Filings of Flesh."


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Friday, September 5, 2014

Paperback 809: Tidewater / Clifford Dowdey (Perma Books P143)

Paperback 809: Perma Books P143 (1st ptg, 1952)

Title: Tidewater
Author: Clifford Dowdey
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $6


Best things about this cover:
  • "She was river scum…" I like a cover that gets right to the point.
  • Ha ha, I'm enjoying speculating about her "something."
  • Wow, that's a pretty high class of "scum" they got there in Tidewater. She must've got hosed down good. Only thing disgusting about her is her freakish arachnoid hand.


Best things about this back cover:
  • "It was something that had to be done"—way to use the passive voice to get your sex on, Libby.
  • Protracted deshabillitation scene gets thumbs up from this reviewer.
  • Caffey… yeah, I'm not buying that as a guy's name. Caffey is a woman in my mind now. Sorry, nothing I can do, that's just the way it is.

Page 123~

To be with them more, he did his drinking, with Jeff Bunting as a companion, in the Pitch Bottom bars where the small planters went.

The olde-timey gay code of the river folk was pretty elaborate.


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