The Hang Fire Books Blog

The rantings of a bookdealer in Brooklyn, New York.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Recent Hunting

My haul from a recent hunting trip. Most of the stuff in the top photo was from a house cleanout. No mind-altering wallpaper this time. The biggest excitement was having to doubletime rifle through dozens of stacked, splitting boxes two steps ahead of the trashmen who were hauling everything away. This is a scary proposition because I usually find the best stuff on the second or third deep look after I have cleaned out all the obvious.

Highlights included nice, jacketed Asimov Physics 1sts, Mary Astor's A Life on Film (HC 1st), Adultery For Adults (an interesting '60s period piece on the practicalities of committing adultery discretely and sustainably) and a first of the Norman Mailer Marilyn Monroe bio with photos by Avedon, Beaton, etc.

Nothing extraordinary but a lot of stuff to ship off for fulfillment by Amazon which has become a steady and growing set-it-and-forget-it revenue stream.

The rest came from my habit of GPSing thrift stores whenever I'm in a new town. Found one that had a 79 cent DVD sale and I picked up some classics including the complete M*A*S*H for $6.

In the "just for me" department, I picked up a nice inlaid wood fliptop box a tiny rope monkey for the shadow box and a peculiar (and bad-ass) looking Japanese vegetable (?) knife made of Vanadium steel. Anyone have any idea what this is for?

The items in the next photo were the fruits of a trip to a stretch of "thrift" shops I've come to ignore because they believe you can ask internet premium for things that you are NOT going to deliver to a customer's doorstep.

Saint Mario must have thrown me a star me because I found about a dozen rare Nintendo Gamecube titles (including late period RPGs and a SEALED Fire Emblem Awakening) All for $2 each. I also found a copy of Linda Lovelace's Loose Lips: The Last Interview signed by punk /porn scribe Legs McNeil.

All in all and fun few days of scouting that kept me up until 3 AM listing.

Friday, March 11, 2016


I bought a pile of books at a house cleanout recently. The place had 18 rooms and I kept getting lost and forgetting where I put down my piles. It didn't help that the wall paper in the place was--bold.

That is some deep-pile purple and teal shag carpeting. The place was a bit dilapidated and kind of had a psychedelic Grey Gardens vibe.

The owner was a practicing family/children's counselor and had a large library of decently preserved children's books including some uncommon Black/African-American titles. Standouts are The Legend of Africania (which features a white demon tempting an African Prince to ravage his land for diamonds and gold and turning people of other races into business-suited profit drones), and Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears (with a 7" record), beautifully illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon. I might not be able to give that one up but most of these will be hitting my Children's Books and Illustrators catalog in the next week or so.

My other favorite book find was the commanding: Look Younger, Look Prettier with a great 70s day-glo cover and some fairly bonkers yoga illustrations.

I think I saw that last routine at a Miley Cyrus concert. 

"Can a gawky Louisiana farm girl transform herself into an international beauty? She can--in fact she did. Virginia Castleton Thomas was that girl who stared in awe at 'beautiful ladies from New Orleans' and resolved to transform her own life....Look Younger, Look Prettier is the distilled essence of the methods by which the transformation took place, and which can be used by any woman seeking the kind of beauty that does not wash off at night, but reflects  the glow of good health and spiritual serenity."

Some other things don't wash off so easily either as illustrated below:

"Laura's vacations helped create family disunity."

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Dumpster haul

Witness the carload of Kabbalah, occult, Theosophy, reincarnation and general WooWoo that I dumpster-dived (with permission) from a snow-covered bin behind a local thrift store.

WooWoo remains evergreen better than some topic areas because it never had a connection with contemporary, experienced reality to begin with. For the bookseller this makes it a similar prospect to higher math (and both subjects make my brain hurt).

These are mostly headed to the Amazon warehouse for the FBA program (which I've started experimenting with) but a few of the more vintage/unique titles will be findable in my New Age catalog.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Passion in White

Title: Passion in White (NT 3004)
Author: Richard RaymondArtist: Unknown
Year: 1965

"I've got to work for a doctor to prove to myself that I'm not those things they called me at the hospital before they fired me. I'm not a disobedient nurse, no matter what they said."

Categories: 1960s Sleaze and GGA, Lesbians and Lesbiana

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Nympho Nurse

Title: Nympho Nurse (Gold Star Books IL7-75)
Author: Jerry James
Artist: Unknown
Year: 1965

"She was a slave to her own insatiable desires. . . .Nurse Randy Scott had one burning desire--to find the one man who could master her, body and soul."

Categories: 1960s Sleaze and GGA

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Derby Dame

Title: Derby Dame (BEACON SIGNAL B329)
Author: Andrew KetchnerArtist: Photo
Year: 1974

"Dynamite on skates--dynamite in bed!"

Categories: 1970s Sleaze and GGA, Sports

Monday, February 8, 2016

Woman's Doctor

Title: Woman's Doctor (MAGNET BOOKS MB 318)
Author: Lauris Haney
Artist: Unknown
Year: 1960

"He preyed on the bodies of his beautiful patients."

Categories: 1960s Sleaze and GGA

Friday, February 5, 2016

Female Convict

Title: Female Convict (Pyramid 191)
Author: Vincent G. Burns (as told to)
Artist: Robert Maguire
Year: 1959

"Here is an uncompromising indictment of a vicious system that treats women like caged animals, and breeds degeneracy where it ought to breed reform."

Categories: 1950s Sleaze and GGA, Hot Rods and Delinquents

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Call Me Bad

Title: Call Me Bad (Beacon B 332)
Author: Orrie Hitt
Artist: Milo
Year: 1960

"Sherry was one of those dolls you list on your expense report."

Categories: 1960s Sleaze and GGA

Friday, January 29, 2016

Rock 'N Roll Gal

Title: Rock 'N Roll Gal (Beacon B 131)
Author: Ernie Weatherall
Artist: Owen Kampen
Year: 1961

"Her Body was Blonde--Her Heart was Black. The sizzling world of real gone guys--and dolls on dope!"

Categories: 1960s Sleaze and GGA, Hot Rods and Delinquents,

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Hot Beat

Title: The Hot Beat (MAGNET BOOKS MB 314)
Author: Stan Vincent
Artist: Unknown
Year: 1960

"A sizzling tale of unbridled passion in the untamed jungle of Hollywood night life."

Categories: 1960s Sleaze and GGA

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Dick Against Humanity

Moby-Dick is many things: a vivid sea adventure, an indictment of American capitalism, a Jobian argument with the cosmos, and one thing it definitely is is an 822-page (in the Rockwell Kent Random House edition) dick joke.

As my favorite book (that I have read 5x and am overdue for another) I'm always on the lookout for other media that takes on the book's ambitious themes. The direct film adaptations to date are generally botches (though Jaws' Quint is an ideal modern Ahab). There was a card game a year or so ago with really beautiful kit but I didn't find it very fun (this may have been due to my poor reading of the rules). Video game-wise there's the epic harpoon battle with a giant zombie catfish in Resident Evil 4, the mountainous, somber giants of Shadow of the Colossus and more recently the excellent ship-to-ship combat, sea chanteys and whaling missions in Assassin's Creed: Black Flag.

But now Moby-Dick has found its perfect gaming expression through the free-associative, id-scraping mechanic of Cards Against Humanity.

Thanks to a friend for the extremely thoughtful gift of Dick! I've already been ordered to take my Dick off the table and to put my Dick back in the closet.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Song of the Whip

Title: Song of the Whip (BEACON B295)
Author: Barry Devlin
Artist: Robert Maguire
Year: 1960

"Here was a vicious contest between man and woman. Which was the crueler...more passionate...more twisted?"

Categories: 1960s Sleaze and GGA

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Payoff

Title: The Payoff (Midwood No. F232)
Author: Max Collier
Artist: Paul Rader
Year: 1963

"An ambitious wife can corrupt everyone she touches, especially if she has no moral qualms about how she uses her body."

Categories: 1960s Sleaze and GGA

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Third Lust

Title: The Third Lust (BEACON B586F K)
Author: George Simon
Artist: Unknown
Year: 1963

"The well-cared-for women in their well-tended homes had time on their hands--time to pursue the new community pastime...Lesbianism!"

Categories: 1960s Sleaze and GGA, Lesbians and Lesbiana

Monday, January 11, 2016

Facebook Biz Page

I forgot to mention it here (which shows how Grrrrrrrrreat! I am at social media strategy) but I'm (re)building the Hang Fire Books Facebook business page after a multi-year rage quit.

Please stop by, say hi and leave a like.

Paperback Restoration: Update and A New Tool

Seven years ago (yikes!) I published a post on paperback restoration that was picked up by a number of crafting/DIY sites. The post described how to use an iron to gently heat the glue of a paperback binding to reattach loose pages/sections and to resquare a cocked/warped spine. I stand behind the technique (since friction and heat are the forces that deformed the book it makes sense to use heat to restore it) but I have modified it a bit over the years. I also recently acquired a new tool that works much better than a standard clothes iron.

The "new" tool is a vintage laboratory heating plate acquired on ebay for <$40 (but you might easily turn one up for less at a school or business auction)

The heating surface on this one is about 7" diagonal (about the length of a paperback spine), it has finer adjustment than an iron and--because of the horizontal orientation--you can use the weight of the book itself to help resquare the spine. It can also be used to cook up book-binding paste.

My original post on ironing a paperback spine is below (with edits).


I frequently find vintage paperbacks where--due to reading-wear--the glue has separated from the text block and then frozen/dried in a way that prevents the spine from laying flat.

One easy and low-impact way to correct this flaw is to use an iron (or other adjustable heating element) to soften the glue which can then be resquared and allowed to dry in a book press (or under a suitable weight).

I first did this using a paper towel to protect the spine but I have since had better results using a sheet of paper covered with strips of masking tape. The tape backing tends not to adhere to the bookbinding (which can lead to chips and peeling...bigger problems than you are correcting).

The paper/masking tape layer also keeps small beads of hot glue from adhering to your heating element.

Here is the result:

WARNING: Use this technique at your own risk. Results vary with books from different publishers.  Start out on valueless books until you find the right heat levels and I would be very cautious (and use much lower heat) on paperbacks with laminated covers.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Strand...with Donuts!

Another Japanese oddity. A Strand bag from "Mister Donut" for a campaign celebrating Brooklyn(?) with the famous Strand motto "Delicious Donuts and Good Books make for Happy Times."


Alice said she was sure this was licensed. I laughed.

Big Dump: Our Brainy and Clever Friend

My new "Big Dump" business idea and todo notebook. A Christmas present from my brother-in-law who lives in the wonderland of Japan (thanks Ian!). Can't wait to use this "gratest problem-solver of this generation"!


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

NYPL's erotica collection

On January 1st the New York Times ran an article (with accompanying wah-wah scored video) on the New York Public Library's recently more accessible vintage erotica collection. The piece describes a team of librarians hand selecting items for the collection from the multitude of dirty book stores that used to fill The Deuce in the 1970s. That is the definition of a dream job.

Also thanks to the article for bringing the Third Heat with the gold keyword "midcentury gay erotica" and for giving me another scholarly alibi when someone raises an eyebrow at my stock.

A trip to the library is overdue.

Reviewing for Wink

 I'm excited to announce that I recently became a contributing reviewer for Wink Books!

Wink--"Remarkable Books That Belong on Paper''--is a sister site to Cool Tools and focuses on favorite (not necessarily new) books with heavy illustration or design elements.

My first review, for Justin Green's Sign Game, went up today. Please check it out and subscribe.

I was a Wink fan before I became a reviewer and the site has added a number of wonderful books to my ludicrous "to be read" pile.