The Hang Fire Books Blog

The rantings of a bookdealer in Brooklyn, New York.

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.