Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Paperback 1053: La Dolce Vita / Federico Fellini (Ballantine S 517 K)

Paperback 1053: Ballantine S 517 K (PBO, 1961)

Title: La Dolce Vita
Author: Federico Fellini (trans. Oscar DeLiso and Bernard Shir-Cliff)
Cover artist: photo cover (Anita Ekberg!)

Condition: 7/10
Estimated value: $12-15

Best things about this cover:
  • Best things? I'm going to be polite and say "her armpits! they're breathtaking!"
  • I think the stylized color title font against the black-and-white still works very nicely
  • Like many paperbacks of the era, this book seems to be promising more hot action than it is going to be able to deliver. "Over 96 pages of photos!" (most of them not showcasing the ample figure of Ms. Ekberg)
Best things about this back cover:
  • Only Fellini may wear that hat
  • Really laying the sex on thick here. I guess '60s audiences were really titillated by "decadence"
  • Holy shit I was so distracted by the hat that I almost missed the KITTEN
Page 123~


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Friday, July 19, 2019

Paperback 1052: Gold Comes in Bricks / A.A. Fair (Erle Stanley Gardner) (Dell 84)

Paperback 1052: Dell 84 (1st ptg, 1945)

Title: Gold Comes in Bricks
Author: A.A. Fair (pseud. of Erle Stanley Gardner)
Cover artist: Gerald Gregg

Condition: 5/10
Estimated value: $15

Best things about this cover:
  • Gold comes in testicles
  • It looks like honey, and if you gotta go, I say asphyxiated by honey is the way!
  • Really love the early Dell covers, which had no pretensions to realism. Much more interested in evoking feeling with shape and color than in getting the perspective or anatomy right
  • Check out the jaunty cursive on the author's name. The early pb was the wild west, from a design perspective. Everyone still experimenting, going nuts.
  • This is the Platonic ideal of the "Reading Copy." Beat to hell, but still tight and complete and unfragile. They don't make 'em like they used to!

Best things about this back cover:
  • Mapback!
  • Uh ... this could be more interesting. Two nondescript hotel rooms! Thrill to the architectural possibilities!
  • LOL "Corridor," thanks, map
Page 123~
The machine shops had moved. The office stood deserted. There was an air of funereal despair about the town. Those who were left went dejectedly about their business, moving with the listless lassitude of persons who have lost their chance at winning big stakes and are plugging away simply because they can't figure out how to quit.
Ouch. I feel seen. And accused.


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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Paperback 1051: The Big Sqeeze / Christopher Athens (Chicago House A102)

Paperback 1051: Chicago House A102 (PBO, 1962)

Title: The Big Squeeze
Author: Christopher Athens
Cover artist: Uncredited (!!!?)

Condition: 9/10
Value: $15-20

Best things about this cover:

  • Billy woulda taken first place at the 9th grade art show for sure but the judges said his rad painting, which is obviously a commentary on free speech, had "sexual content" and they totally disqualified him, like what is this, Soviet Russia? Bogus.
  • Seriously, though, what is happening?
  • The dude ... did the dude forget his ... shoe? Is that a shoe? A tipped over bag of groceries? A melted turntable? I know I should be focused on the naked ladies, but...
  • Are they going up or down? Also, why? Also, is Red dead? Also, why?
  • Protip: cover one of the most important visual elements of your cover with giant block letters so the reader has no idea wtf is going on. It's avant-garde!
  • This book is in perfect condition ... is the best thing I can say about this book.

Best things about this back cover:

  • OK, right off the bat, I can tell you the cover copy writer has limited experience with what we in the writing business call "verbs."
  • BRB, relabeling all my booze "Parts Cleaner"
  • "Three-and-a-half bells?" Are we at sea?
  • "This pair of chicks tried to pick me up once and ... what? You don't know them. They live in Canada. ANYway, these totally real chicks..."
  • Who the f is "Tom Anthony"?

Page 123~
"Brush my teeth," I said, holding a hand in front of my mouth.
"Oh," exhaled Barbara. "When you said 'oral' I thought ... well, nevermind what I thought ..."


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Monday, July 1, 2019

Paperback 1050: Bogus Lover / Hy Silver (Newsstand Library U136)

Paperback 1050: Newsstand Library U136 (PBO, 1960)

Title: Bogus Lover
Author: Hy (ho?) Silver
Cover artist: Robert Bonfils

Condition: 8/10
Estimated value: $15

Best things about this cover:
  • I love her girl-about-town, devil-may care look. I'm not sure who's throwing bras and mannequin heads at her, but she doesn't seem fazed.
  • That blue is exquisite.
  • They've certainly, uh, made sure to emphasize her torso profile. The extensive boob shadow is kinda overkill. It's like, yeah, we see. They're lovely.
  • The valentine on the mannequin's face is so freaky. What is even happening here!?
Best things about this back cover:
  • Argh, too much text!
  • I'm pretty sure that "crunched" is the wrong word for what casting couches do when you put your lustful weight on them, but admittedly this isn't really my bailiwick. Maybe someone got sloppy with corn chips?
  • "Hey boss, how many 'm's in Peggy's "'Mmmmmmmm?'" "That depends. Is she lustful?" "Oh, yes, sir. Very." "Then ... Eight!" "But, sir, that's ... that's two more than we've ever done. Are you su—" "I'M TRYIN' TO SELL BOOKS HERE, MAN, JUST DO IT!" (/scene)
  • Wait. Peggy? Then who's Wanda? We lost gentle Wanda somewhere between paragraphs two and three. Oh, the boss is not gonna be happy about this...
Page 123~
"I guess we're both stupid," he said as he started the engine.
Real talk.


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