Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pulp Fiction Book Covers (1950's)

"Do her eyes speak death?" Well? Do they?

I've already told you that things at the house have been in a serious state of disarray since I committed to "Spring Cleaning No For Serious We ARE CLEANING This House 2012". Whole Honda backseats of house goods have been moved from shelf, attic, and storage room space back out into the wide world for dispersal at the discretion of Music City Thrift. After a heart-wrenching, post-donation month of all my things reappearing on the Goodwill racks, I decided to take everything to whichever store I shopped the least. Seeing an old dress for sale in a thrift store is kind of like seeing an old boyfriend you used to be really into-- while you might no longer have any interest in him, you don't necessarily want anyone else to be into him either. And some dresses I care about much more than some of my exes! A large portion of the donation items have been a) dresses that are too big for me/ I never wear and b) books I have never read/have no intention of ever reading again/am not really sure why I bought in the first place.

Saved from the gaping maw of the thrift store donation bin, however? Any and all vintage paperbacks. I'm sorry, I can't part with them. Even after several round-robins of rationalizations with myself, I'm hanging on to the dadgum things with a temerity that belies my basic easygoing and practical attitude towards "paring down".

Out of Control is actually set in the Great Smoky Mountains... my old college stomping ground! Why isn't there a point on the key to the map for the Longbranch Saloon on the Strip? I KNOW that had to have something to do with whatever infamy's afoot...

Since middle school, I've been hoarding fifties' and sixties' paperbacks in four categories: pulp, movie-tie in, French language novels and James Bond. At this point, the collection is probably over two hundred strong-- spines flaking, pages yellowed, smelling like smoke and your uncle's attic...mostly unreadable due to their fragile condition! I do not care, I'm keeping them. I'm concerned, like the Kodak cameras I snatch up at estate sales for a couple bucks at a time, that some day there just won't BE any Pocket Books to be pocketed for a couple quarters at a time, in stacks and bundles, to fill up the shelves of my office's bookcase and the bottom of my bookbag.

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At left: Bombshell wiggle dress and...slanket? At left and right, a redhead's always at the "root" of these detective stories!

And like having an original lithograph or painting, there's really something to having the physical copies of these books. I know there are scores of coffee table titles with better quality and condition reproductions of the cover art than I'm ever likely to find in the fifty cents shelf at Great Escape, but I like having the truly pocketbook sized originals. How Anna Karina would you feel reading a Mickey Spillane book in a doctor's office instead of the latest Harlan Coben? Not that, even as happily matched as I am with Bab, I ever think of how my outward appearance would either attract or repel Quentin Tarantino as a suitor, and comport myself accordingly. Of course not. :)

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She said she had been framed... but had she? I would have to very-carefully-without-busting-up-the-fragile-binding read the book to find out!

I thought I would start scanning some of these covers in to share with you guys, in order to assuage just a soup├žon of guilt from having kept them. But I made the right decision, right? I just couldn't bear to think of my great collection languishing in the paperback rack at the thrift store. It belongs, e're so selfishly, with me!

Do you have a secret stash of mostly impractical pulp novels under your bed? What kind of covers attract your attention more than others? Which of these would you read first, based on the covers?

Til next time!


  1. No stash under my bed. I have not seen nor have I ever been introduced to these gems. Until now. Thanks for sharing parts of your collection. You must keep them as long as possible! You are correct in the fact they are fragile and may cease to exist. Keep them! If I would read one of the mentioned group, I would choose "The Trial of Mary Dugan". Looks like a winner. Love the cover art of the entire lot! So interesting! Thanks for your efforts.

  2. I love old books! I collect mainly books from the pre-1930's but I have a few 50s/60s paperbacks as well. I likely won't ever read them, but I enjoy having them on my shelves :)

  3. i love old books. i have a huge hoard of vintage kids books, even though i'm not even sure i want to have a kid! i collection junior delux editions too.



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