Saturday, June 27, 2015

Paperback 895: Flame / Joan Ellis (Midwood 61)

Paperback 895: Midwood 61 (PBO, 1960)

Title: Flame
Author: Joan Ellis
Cover artist: [Paul Rader]

Estimated value: $17-20

Best things about this cover:
  • I don't know what you're about to do with the cigarette, lady, but please stop.
  • She looks like if Lauren Bacall and Satan had a baby.
  • I am on fire with burning ambition and a smouldering need for CHAIR.
  • Font!
  • Heels!
  • Scare quotes!
  • This book is, like, the reddest thing I own.
  • I don't know if this is a Paul Rader cover, but it feels that way, so ... partial credit!

Best things about this back cover:
  • HA ha, more scare quotes for all things "school"-related. We get it. It's a racket.
  • They're pushing this "FLAME" motif a little hard.
  • No cooked facts! Only raw! This is "Talent School," ladies!
  • If not a band, Hardened Harlots is at least a roller derby team name.

Page 123~

"Let 'em get all hot and bothered. Do 'em good," he insisted, sliding her robe into a heap on the floor, and then the bikini pajamas she wore underneath.

Google image search of "bikini pajamas" yields mostly ... well, neither bikinis nor pajamas. Is "bikini pajamas" what hep cats used to call "underwear"?


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Paperback 894: Death Has Many Doors / Fredric Brown (Bantam 1567)

Paperback 894: Bantam 1567 (3rd ptg, 1st thus, 1957)

Title: Death Has Many Doors
Author: Fredric Brown
Cover artist: Barye Phillips

Estimated Value: $20-25

Best things about this cover:

  • Gah, stupid late-'50s covers with their newfangled love of "text," crowding out the good stuff. Painting is great, but more of a smudge-sketch than a fully realized painting. I like covers that give the art Real Estate.
  • She's like a suggestion of a sexy backlit lingerie lady. Like, I get it, but I don't feel it. His pasty enigmatic leering face is wonderful, but that tower of Fuchsia Letters is crowding him.
  • Fredric Brown could Wrrrite. He has bouts of hackneyed sucking, but when he's on, he's sharp and dark and hilarious.

Best things about this back cover:
  • HA ha. Arrows! That gave me a genuine laugh. When in doubt--->arrows.
  • So … it's warm then?
  • I read "The Screaming Mimi" this past winter. Recommended.

Page 123~
I said, "This is John Smith. I want Charlie's address." "You mean my brother-in-law? I don't know where he is, Mr. Smith." I said, "Fine. I'll send a couple of the boys out some evening to see you. I won't mention which evening. We wouldn't want coppers around." He said, "Huh?" and sounded properly scared and excited.
See. Good.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Paperback 893: Fallout for a Spy / Richard L. Hershatter (Ace 22680)

Paperback 893: Ace 22680 (PBO, 1969)

Title: Fallout for a Spy
Author: Richard L. Hershatter
Cover artist: Uncredited

Estimated value: $10-15

Best things about this cover:

  • This is an artist who just could Not get the woman's head right. Weird shapeless hair helmet + sun-baked skeleton face. Dude in the chair is not turned on. He's frightened.
  • The rest of her, however, is nicely rendered. Cute underwear.
  • "Richard L. Hershatter," as depicted here, is the most ludicrously serifed name of all time.
  • "Shatter her … with Hershatter (Pour Homme)"
  • Half-naked chairlessness was apparently a big trend with '60s ladies:

And the back cover:

Best things about this back cover:
  • Rand Stannard! I love tough-guy names that sound like erection euphemisms.
  • "Airborne rape" … that sounds horrifying and yet is making me laugh. I was not aware that this was a valid rape subcategory.
  • Wait, did Rand get raped? Or did he rape someone? Either way, I have follow-up questions.
  • "Sex-scarred"? "Algerian Roulette?" Is this cover copy being generated by some remedial pulp algorithm?

Page 123~

Mitchell looked as though he'd swallowed something sour. "Ever been made to feel like a jackass by a computer?"

Stannard arched an eyebrow.

"Not Rand Stannard, old chum," chortled Rand Stannard. "Rand Stannard don't play the sap for no one."


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Paperback 892: Dark Laughter / Sherwood Anderson (Pocket Books 878)

Paperbacks 892: Pocket Books 878 (1st ptg, 1952)

Title: Dark Laughter
Author: Sherwood Anderson
Cover artist: Tom Dunn

Estimated value: $15-20

Best things about this cover:

  • Her expression is somehow both lascivious and bored. It says "You … sure, you'll do."
  • Maybe if you angle your boobs toward him just a little bit more, Lady Chatterley, he'll get the hint.
  • The husband … is one of my favorite cover elements of all time. Without him, you've got a pretty typical paperback cover. With him, and his ham-sized pate and his spectacles and his "can't talk, reading" and his vibrant, shlubby boredom, this cover skyrockets to comedy. "What? Sure, fuck him, don't fuck him, whatever. I gotta check my stocks…"
  • Reader Michael 5000 sent me this book. Since I hardly ever check my mail at school, I didn't discover this book until very recently. I had, very, very weirdly and coincidentally, checked out Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio that same week. Anyway, Michael sent along a nifty postcard with its own spot-on commentary:

And the back cover:


Best things about this back cover:

  • Who wrote that tagline, Douglas Sirk?
  • Not "love as few men have ever loved," but "love as few men ever have time to love"—like that's the issue. "Damn my 6pm squash game! I could be LOVING right now, but nooooo…"
  • "… when she saw Bruce Dudley  she knew physical desire for the first time." Uh … I challenge. That is simply not a plausible statement.

Page 123~

Being in Rose's apartment that night was, for all the people who had been there, a good deal like walking into a bedroom in which a woman lies naked. They had all felt that.

I really, really wish I … knew what the hell this meant.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Paperback 891: A Boy Named Cash / Albert Govoni (Lancer 74641)

Paperback 891: Lancer 74641 (PBO, 1970)

Title: A Boy Named Cash: The Johnny Cash Story
Author: Albert Govoni
Cover artist: photo cover

Estimated value: $15-20

Best things about this cover:

  • It's a boring photo, but I'm in love with the font and color and star-spangledness of "CASH"!
  • Hard to believe it's his "first full-length biography," but if a Lancer paperback says it …
  • Discography in this thing is legit. Enormous. Runs to well over four pages.
  • Book is close to pristine, with the "triple-size pin-up photo" complete intact, and probably never unfurled. Let's unfurl it, shall we?

OK then ...

Best things about this back cover:

  • Uh … hi.
  • TV Tie-In!
  • "Here is Johnny Cash in words and pictures" is kind of a lie. Should really read "Here is Johnny Cash in words and picture, singular" (the "triple-size pin-up photo" is the only picture in the whole thing).

Page 123~

Johnny has never forgotten the words he overheard one day when he was in Sam Phillips' office. Through the partially opened door leading into a studio, he heard a man in the studio saying to someone …
a. "… marijuana, man. I can dig it."
b. "… Muddy Waters is good, man, but I'm tellin' you … Pat fuckin' Boone, man."
c. "… man, you know they faked that moon landing, right?"
d. "… it's called 'gwa kah MOLE ay'—try it, man."
e. all of the above
f. invent your own answer


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Paperback 890: Witch Power / Salambo Forest (Olympia Press 35)

Paperback 890: Olympia Press OPS-35 (PBO, 1971)

Title: Witch Power
Author: Salambo Forest
Cover artist: photo cover

Estimated value: who knows? Somewhere from $7 to $25 to infinity…

[Newest addition to the Doug Peterson Collection]

Best things about this cover:

  • The best thing about this whole book, and the only reason to own it at all, is the author's name: SALAMBO FOREST. Please use it as your pseudonym, your troll name, your porn name … spread it far and wide across the internet. Long live Salambo Forest!
  • Literally nothing about this photo says "Witch Power."
  • I couldn't think of anything more to say about this cover so I opened the book to a random page and encountered the following contender for Least Erotic Phrase in a Sex Scene: "… her knee imbedded in his pubic hair." Wait, next page has another contender: "… closing him in a vaginal grasp."

Best things about this back cover:

  • So they had, like, no budget for book design?
  • I assume "White" and "black" here are metaphorical, but with this book, who the hell knows?
  • This copy takes a jarring second-person turn midway through the first paragraph. "'You…'  You mean 'me?' But … but I don't want to be touched by a beautiful albino … I mean, I'm sure she's nice, but …"
  • I'm confused. I will accede ("accede"!?) to Seventh Heaven if I don't keep a tight grip on my everyday reality? But … isn't Seventh Heaven a good place? It sounds good. And what about my other, non-everyday realities? So many unanswered questions. Salambo Forest, release me from your enigmatic grip!

Page 123~*

"Mrs. Jegerdorf," she stated, as if the name itself were explanation enough.

If every any name explained itself, that name is Mrs. Jegerdorf. And now I have my new swear word! "MRS JEGERDORF, that hurt!" "Get off your phone, ya JEGERDORF!" Try it out.


*actually Page 122 … but it's in the paragraph that leads in to 123, so I gave it a pass.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Paperback 889: Teen-Age Stray / Arthur Adlon (Beacon B752X)

Paperback 889: Beacon Signal B752X (PBO, 1964)

Title: Teen-Age Stray
Author: Arthur Adlon
Cover artist: Uncredited

Estimated value: $15-20

Best things about this cover:

  • "She was down to pennies, tears and her bikini…" Is that zeugma? I've been waiting to see zeugma again since I first learned what it was 25 years ago, in my Brit Lit II class, where we were reading Alexander Pope's "Rape of the Lock." And here we are. Zeugma!
  • This whole concept is not "erotic" to me. It's depressing. Except the triumphant, happy ending where she joins the erotic world of lesbianism. I approve of that.
  • … and her calves never got sunburned again.

Best things about this back cover:

  • Texty!
  • Rex. That's a great name! Terridy, however … that's not even a plausible name, let alone a good one.
  • "...a meal, a buck, and a bed…" It honestly didn't occur to me at first that "buck" might simply refer to money.

Page 123~

"Then talk, Rex. I like you better when you talk. You warm me."


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Paperback 888: Sex Store / Thomas Vail (Rapture Books 405)

Paperback 888: Rapture Books 405 (PBO, 1964)

Title: Sex Store
Author: Thomas Vail
Cover artist: Uncredited

Estimated value: $30-40

[Newest addition to the Doug Peterson Collection]

Best things about this cover:

  • This guy is ready for his Dos Equis and/or Cuervo commercial.
  • The '60s were a big time for Co-Ed Eyebrow Pageants.
  • This artist was justly famous for refusing to draw bodies. "Just Heads!" he'd shout.
  • There appears to have been some kind of mildewy seepage in the floating head storage closet. I keep trying to make sense of the green … to no avail.
  • The author's name is Thomas Vail, as in "Please veil my identity. My mom can't ever know I wrote this."
  • Sex Store! Buy ten sexes, get one free.

Best things about this back cover:
  • "Yeah…"
  • Sarah Campbell Italics! (dum dum DUM!)
  • "Goodies" omg I just barfed a little.
  • Sex Store! Ask about bulk discounts!

Page 123~

Honestly, this page is a little rape-y for my tastes, so … let's go with the teaser text at the very beginning of the book (very first thing you see when you open the cover):

I heard cloth rustling as she stopped there, and then she reached for me, a very beautiful creature who was completely naked in the starlight. Her hand touched me once, hesitantly, and then grew bolder.

"Why, Sir Galahad!" she exclaimed. "You didn't break your lance after all!"

First, always nice to class up your dick references with some King Arthur. Second, all her reaction makes me wonder is What Did He Do To His Lance Earlier?


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Paperback 887: Replenishing Jessica / Maxwell Bodenheim (Avon 191)

Paperback 887: Avon 191 (1st ptg, 1949)

Title: Replenishing Jessica
Author: Maxwell Bodenheim
Cover artist: [Phillips & Troeger / Troeger-Phillips]

Estimated value: $12-15

[Newest addition to the Doug Peterson Collection]

Best things about this cover:

  • Let's see … how to replenish Jessica? Sure, I'd say FIVE MEN oughta do it.
  • This appears to be the story of how the Flash got married, settled down, and got a steady job with an insurance company. "Is this what you wanted, baby?" he seems to ask.
  • The most reliably informed reseller of vintage paperbacks on abebooks describes this book as a "SEX and HEROIN NOVEL," so … that's unexpected. And brings the total to two—two possible ways to replenish Jessica.
  • The only reason I still attend crossword tournaments is so that Doug Peterson can slip me some vintage paperback contraband in a dingy little plastic bag. It's all quite (appropriately) sordid.

Best things about this back cover:

  • Shakespeare looks dubious about the literary merits of the publishing enterprise to which he has affixed his mug.

Page 123~

"This new school does away with all of the old qualms and quandaries, and we can certainly accomplish more when we know that sex is, well, is only the violent servant that we've hired for purposes of recreation."

Actually, the violent servant you've hired is named Tony, and it'll be $300/hr.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]