Bookstore Chronicles: The Power of Positive Thinking

I had a busy day at the bookstore Tuesday. There was a box from triliteral to unpack (I want all the books in the semiotexte series — so small, so simply designed, with such apocalyptic titles) and I was entering the books in the system while customers kept interrupting me — which is good! No complaints. We like it when people buy books.

A man in town for a convention asked if we had any books on dachshunds. No, I said, after conscientiously doing a keyword check, was he a dachshund fan? he wasn’t, his wife was. But stronger than a fan she was…”obsessed?” I Continue reading

Desperate Housewives

One Touch of Ecstasy, by Gwynne Wimberly, Frederick Fell, Inc. 1959.

Best line: “There’s a reason we teach you correct posture. If your pelvis isn’t tilted forward, the organs in the area are affected unfavorably.”

The Plot: Poor Louise, married and with an eighteen-year-old daughter has never had an orgasm. Ever since that date-rape in college she’s been all twisted up inside, and marriage hasn’t helped–she’s mired in suburban misery. “The hollandaise had been spectacular” but that can’t disguise the fact that her life is one “cruelly civilized evening of superficiality and loneliness” Continue reading

Lesbian Pre-Teens

The tasteful cover is a harbinger of the tedium to be found within

The House in the Mulberry Tree, by Zena Garrett, 1959, Random House

Book Jacket Copy: “Then Elizabeth’s burgeoning, formless emotions, blown hither and yon by the strife around her, crystallized into a youthful and innocent passion for Nonie, nourished by Nonie’s kindness and Elizabeth’s idealization of the relationship that Carter and Nonie seemed to enjoy.”

A dull southern gothic, penned by first-time author and Carson McCullers-wannabe, Zena Garret. The “About the author” blurb gives the reader fair warning: “Her writing career was postponed, however, because Continue reading

Pulp for Dad

Twisted Loves, by Mark Ryan “an original Bedside Book”

“A story of strange passions and forbidden lusts that changed a young girl into a twisted sinner!”

This is the template for the exploitation pulp. Lots of big breasted, horny women, sex, sex, and more sex, and then a heterosexual rescue on the final pages. From the cover to the content, this is what most people think of when they think of lesbian pulp.

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Distracted Lesbians with Cameras

One of my pet peeves about lesbian pulp fiction is how little attention the lesbians pay to career advancement. They have no work ethic — they’re always coming in late to the office in the morning or taking a sick day to nurse their hangovers. I think Beebo Brinker delivers less than a dozen pizzas in the course of Continue reading

Career Girls, 1942 Style

First edition of Laura, Eyre & Spottiswood, cover by Bip Pares

There was a double feature playing a few nights ago, Laura and Bedelia, both based on books by Vera Caspary. I was so exhausted from the grueling Noir City Film Festival pace (four movies on Saturday) that I thought I’d skip the movie version of Laura (which I’ve seen more times than I can remember) and read the book instead. Continue reading