All Over But the ScoutingSo the big book sale was a mild disappointment, but what happens sometimes is this: just when I think I'm going to have to wait a whole year before a pile of good books comes my way, I get lucky.
I go scouting for books and records a couple of times a week, everybody knows this. I always find one or two things of interest, but on occasion, I'll find a whole bunch of neat stuff.
Sometimes it takes a trip to Tucson.
Sometimes it's just a trip to Glendale and a thirty minute look-see before meeting my son for lunch.
Last week, at one of the used bookstores I frequent, I started scanning the fiction section and found a nice copy of John Barth's The Sot-Weed Factor with a gorgeous cover by Edward Gorey.
I continued scanning. A few shelves over, I found this copy of James M. Cain's Mignon. It should have been in the mystery section, but who am I to quibble?
It's just a reading copy, nothing particularly valuable, but I could tell almost immediately that it belonged to the same person who owned the Barth. Whenever this happens, I get excited. Anytime someone dumps their whole collection, it's cause for celebration.
Especially when it's a good reader.
The next thing I found was this copy of The Motorcycle by Andre Pieyre de Mandiargues which is interesting for a couple of reasons.
One, I collect Grove Press hardcovers. Check. Also, this novel was the inspiration for Jack Cardiff's Girl on a Motorcycle (1968) starring Marianne Faithfull. Check, check, and meow.
I continued scanning shelves, determined to find more books from the same collection. I picked up an early printing of The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass but passed on Allen Drury's Advise and Consent, Jacqueline Susann's Valley of the Dolls, and Irving Wallace's The Prize before finding this perfectly nice copy of Evelyn Waugh's The Loved One. I also threw a first edition of Mark Twain's Letters from Hawaii into my basket, in case I ever visit my cousin in Hawaii.
Then I stopped by the vintage paperback shelves.
Almost immediately, my eyes zoomed in on this copy of Peggy Swenson's Lesbian Gym. This is one of those famously camp covers, the kind they reprint on postcards and refrigerator magnets.
The story of a virgin who was seduced into the wrong kind of loving!
I continued scanning, hoping to find more vintage sleaze. Nope, nope, nope.
And then I found Suzy and Vera. Same author, Peggy Swenson, which is actually a pseudonym for Richard E. Geis.
How can you turn down a book with a tagline like this:
"The love story of a college girl and a confirmed lesbian."
The paperbacks were only a couple of bucks each.
I couldn't have been happier.