Sunday, February 24, 2019

Book cover: "The Corner Store"

  • Title: The Corner Store
  • Author: Albert Idell (1901-1958)
  • Dust jacket artist: Robert Doares (1911-2005)
  • Publisher: Doubleday & Company
  • Publication year: 1953
  • Original price: None listed on jacket, but The New York Times states that it was $3.50
  • Pages: 287
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Dust jacket excerpt: "It was on the corner of Camac and McClellan, one of the many corner stores in Philadelphia in the 1930s. In the cluster of signs across its window — Breyer's Ice Cream, Phillies hand-made, Coca-Cola — you could just make out the old-fashioned letters: CHESTER JONES, CONFECTIONARY AND SUNDRIES."
  • Dedication: "To Clyde Lisk and Max Abrams, keepers of corner stores, for whom I have respect and affection, and to all of their trade."
  • First sentence: It was almost midnight and Chester Jones was hungry, but he did not like to close the store while Mary Plotko was seated at one of the tables with a new date.
  • Last sentence: "Sure I do," he said.
  • Random sentence from middle #1: This was Lowry's way, talking in long riddles that didn't make sense, but there was no use trying to kid him.
  • Random sentence from middle #2: Where had good old eager-beaver George come from?
  • Goodreads rating: 4.0 stars (out of 5.0)
  • Goodreads review excerpt: In 2018, Sandy Pfefferkorn wrote: "If you want to escape to a simpler time, read this book, set in the mid-1930s in Philadelphia (if you can find a copy). The Jones family owns and runs a typical corner confectionary complete with a soda fountain, three telephone booths, a lending library, and everything else you would have found in such a business at the time. ... It's not a politically correct book by today's standards, for it is filled with ethnic slurs common back then."
  • Amazon rating: 4.6 stars (out of 5.0)
  • Amazon review: In 2016, Barb Luongo wrote: "My mom introduced me to this author. Years ago, she told me that her favorite book was The Great Blizzard. She had read it over and over as a teen. So, I looked it up, ordered it, and in the process found more books by this author. I love his writing style, and he puts touches of real moments in history in his books."
  • Notes: This is Idell's second appearance on Papergreat. He and his book The Great Blizzard were mentioned in passing last year in a post about the Blizzard of "88" Association. We learn a little more about Idell from his biography on the back cover of the dust jacket. It mentions another of his books, Centennial Summer, and then drops this bombshell: "(Idell) is a professional wrestler who turned author about twelve years and nine books ago." He was born and raised in Philadelphia. After "hoboing around country" he "held down a variety of jobs that range from teaching a course in restaurant management to piloting a steam roller." Of being an author, Idell stated, "I humbly hope to share the task of teaching the American people to distrust their hates." ... Meanwhile, I found the obituary for cover illustrator Doares (full name Robert Glenn Doares), who lived into the 21st century. Here's an excerpt about his life:
    "After graduation from high school in 1929, he went to New York, N.Y., to become an artist. He worked in a sandwich shop in Times Square and at other odd jobs for 10 years. While employed at Wannamaker's [sic] Department store, he was sent to the World's Fair on Long Island to do backgrounds for fashion drawings. He studied with renowned illustrator Harvey Dunn at the Grand Central School of Illustration. In 1942, he entered the U.S. Army, where he produced training school illustrations for education purposes. After World War II, he returned to New York City and worked as an illustrator for Harper's and Doubleday books. He did illustrations for children's books, religious books and books on Biblical themes."

She's looking right at us!

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