Saturday, September 2, 2023

Assorted book advertisements at the back of old paperbacks

One of the many enjoyable things about vintage paperbacks is perusing the advertisements on the  back pages for the publisher's other books. Depending on the year, you could get a bundle of books delivered to you through the mail for very reasonable prices. 

First up is this page from 1981's How to Master the Video Games (covered in this post). It's fascinating roundup of many of the greatest hits from late 1970s/early 1980s nonfiction. True crime; alarmism; fundamentalism; books of lists, records and predictions; medical guides and, of course, Rubik's Cube. Notice that Alvin Toffler's The Third Wave is listed on there twice! Toffler's books sold millions and millions of copies. 
This page is from 1976's The Best of Judith Merril (covered in this post). Warner Books figured its readers might be interested in modern riffs on Frankenstein and Dracula. Those readers may have been disappointed. The Frankenstein Factory (1975) has an underwhelming 3.39 (out of 5) rating on Goodreads, and one Amazon reviewer describes it as "Agatha Christie on a controlled substance." The Dracula Tape, described in this advertisement as being "fang-in-cheek," fares somewhat better, with a 3.78 on Goodreads, but one reviewer quips, "Not as good as the Nixon tapes, however."
This page is from the 1989 printing of W.P. Kinsella's Shoeless Joe, which was first published in 1982 and was, of course, adapted into the wonderful 1989 film Field of Dreams. (Joan, Kaitlyn and I were talking about that film this week, and I was trying to figure out how it was nominated for Best Picture but received no acting nominations. Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan and, especially, James Earl Jones were robbed, I say!) Anyway, any advertisement that touts the writing of Kinsella and Roger Angell is a good one.
This alarmist book advertisement is from the back pages of the July 1971 printing of Ray Bradbury's The October Country, which was first published in 1955 and contains Bradbury stories dating back to the early 1940s. I may need to track down a copy of 1971's How to Be a Survivor, to see how much of it was ridiculous and how much of it was on-point about known threats to the environment that were shrugged off for a half-century and are now our human-made climate-crisis reality. Stay tuned.
Finally, these two pages of advertisements are from the back of Hans Holzer's obscure Charismatics, which I just wrote about in July. Unsurprisingly, the first page has a lot of books about the occult, devils, witches, psychics and more. Tucked in there is Charles Fort's The Book of the Damned, which I wrote about in 2019. The second page does contain some more notable books, including Ursula K. Le Guin's classic, The Left Hand of Darkness.

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