I can’t resist vintage paperbacks

August 18, 2009

To a God UnknownI don’t outright collect vintage paperbacks, but I can’t help purchasing first editions of classics with provocative  or, in some way, stunning cover illustrations. Consequently, I’m amassing a careless assortment, from John Steinbeck to Earl Stanley Gardner (the author of the Perry Mason series), F. Scott Fitzgerald to Ian Fleming. Given the advancing progress of the e-book, I figure paperbacks eventually will become a dinosaur. So I like that my library contains some of the early ones, from the golden years of publishing. 

Regarding the provocative aspect of vintage covers, Dawn Powell (1896-1965), a critically acclaimed Ohio author (Hemingway said she was his favorite), wrote a book Angels on Toast that went into paperback “specially revised by the author” as A Man’s Affair (1956). The change attempted to encourage more buyers with a suggestive title and cover illustration. I don’t know if it increased sales or not, but today, now collectible,the first edition of A Man’s Affair sells for about $125.

The Beautiful and Damned    0908180002Go Tell It on the Mountain

2 Responses to “I can’t resist vintage paperbacks”

  1. Sharon Says:

    Reminds me of the illustrations on the front of my old Nancy Drew books — it always captured some critical moment in the book, and certainly made it more intriguing. Doesn’t compare with Steinbeck, but there IS an Ohio connection!


    • The Longest Chapter Says:

      Ah. Carolyn Keene a.k.a Mildred Wirt Benson. She worked for a Toledo newspaper into her 90s and didn’t like it when Nancy Drew fans showed up asking for her autograph. Her books did indeed have wonderful illustrations.


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