Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Great Paperback Project

And now for something completely different.

Rex Parker has begun the Great Paperback Project, scanning the fronts-and-backs of his mid-century paperbacks and posting them in his blog. He lists "The Best Things About This Cover" and that's why I'm mentioning his blog here. Rex is a an entertaining wordsmith (he also has a NYT Crossword blog). Each Best Things list is well-written and laugh-out-loud funny.

I remember paperbacks like the ones that Rex has posted. Our after-school babysitter was a middle-aged neighbor who must have read at least one of these books a day. She always had a different one with her when she arrived at our home. Some of the covers were... intriguing. Women in filmy sleepwear, men with intense expressions, strange abstract backgrounds, and guns held by hands that were (apparently) acting on their own. I cannot begin to describe the science fiction covers. Nightmarish? Perplexing? Naked aliens? My brother and I stole sneaky glances at them whenever we could.

So, there it is. For a fun and enlightening visual history of the American paperback book, just click on this post's title and visit The Great Paperback Project.

Next up: Stay tuned.