Shiva in Steel

For those of you who aren't "members of the tribe," Judaism has a tradition that when someone dies, the family of the deceased sit around for a week and eat a lot of food and have a sort of "open house" for friends and relatives. We also cover the mirrors and tear our clothes and do other weird things 'cause we're a quirky people. This tradition is called sitting Shiva (more information on sitting Shiva can be found on the internet).

So imagine my surprise when I came across the following book:

And imagine my chagrin that with my degree in Religious Studies it still took me wa-a-a-ay longer than it should have to figure out that this was referring to the Hindu god, Shiva. Oops, my bad.

That still doesn't explain their tiny little heads.

Shiva in Steel


Willow in Bloom

Dear Gd, please tell me that this cover did not just refer to being pregnant as being "in bloom". Ack! My eyes! They're bleeding!
Okay, sheer abhorrence against title aside, who the fuck designed this cover? Why is there a margin of white around three sides? What is going on in the inset (is that a statue of a small purple man with a large purple phallus)? Why are there no ACTUAL WILLOW TREES (in bloom or otherwise) ON THE COVER?!
I leave it to my faithful readers to make the obvious pussy willow joke.


Flaming Flamingos, Batman!

Please tell me this cover doesn't feature a bunch of Aryan men in jeans standing around a fountain shooting a highly suspicious white substance in the air...Oh, shit, you can't do that, can you? I'm all for gay erotica, but this picture is a little too much Socialist realism and a little too little Tom of Finland, if you get my drift.


I can't help myself...

I just can't stop snarking on devotional fiction. Seriously, check this out:

Wow, is that bad. First of all, there are wa-a-a-a-a-ay too many elements to this cover. It reminds me of Longarm. And not in a good way! I do like that Hezekiah and evil fat guy (we know he's evil 'cause he's fat. And he drinks. And he looks meeeeeeean) apparently shop at the same store. Their muu-muus only vary in color. Why is there so much going on in the lower half of the cover, and almost nothing (aside from Hezzie's freakishly big head) going on up top? This cover is weirdly unbalanced. Guess they wanted to save room for LORD.

I also note that the small print mentions that Hezzie is surrounded by intolerance, treachery, and infidelity to Yahweh. Correct me if I'm wrong, but pronouncing the tetragrammaton (yod heh vav heh, YHWH), the name of Gd, would have gotten you center-stage at your own stoning, right? Talk about infidelity!

I do have to give props to Lynn for not making Hezzie blonde and blue-eyed. Good going, Lynn. One thing on your cover doesn't suck.

Lord is my Strength


Burnsie's Least Favorite Book

This is Burnsie:

(Please note the dreidel chew toy, made by Chewish Toys. I love it!)

This is Burnsie's least favorite book:

How do I know this is Burnsie's least favorite book? Because a couple of weeks ago I brought this book home from the library, and he proceeded to tear off the cover and chew it into little tiny pieces. Now I know I've wanted to do this to some books, but I have fortunately been able to restrain myself.

I actually don't think this cover is all that bad, aside from the stick insect masquerading as a human. Why, oh why, do publishers think that women who read chicklit are going to be attracted to covers with women on them who would be 10 feet tall and weigh 50 pounds in real life? Why are women who read chicklit attracted by these covers? Questions I can't answer.

It does seem, however, the Burnsie has better taste than I do. This book was terrible. Its plot includes a crack assassin squad of nuns and others who are employed by the Vatican to kill, quite ruthlessly and bloodily, innocent covens of white witches. I'm no Catholic (although I'm catholic in my tastes), but I found this offensive. And now I own it sans cover (I had to buy a new copy for the library). Thanks, Burnsie! No Milkbone for you.

Tall, Dark, and Dead

Update: Phoebe complained that she wanted her picture on the blog. She's a good girl and doesn't eat books, but she couldn't stand to let Burnsie have all the limelight to himself.


Texas-Israeli War: 1999

Sometimes you can judge a book by its title! Yes, this book really does exist. DocTurtle brought this book into our marriage, and I don't think I've ever forgiven him. I am seriously traumatized by a) rebellious Texans, b) rebellious Texans on horseback, and c) tanks with Mogen Davids on them fighting said rebellious Texans on horseback (the Texans, not the tanks). And it took two people to write this! I don't know how they're defining "Science Fiction in the Grand Tradition," but in my world this ain't it.

Just in case you're not worried enough, here's the blurb:

On August 12, 1992, England's tiny nuclear arsenal fell on Ireland, on South Africa, and finally on China. Instantly the planet went up in flames. In the first half year of what was to be called the War of '92, half the Earth's population perished. The United States was reduced to a vast underpeopled land -- and, to make matters worse, Texas had seceded and taken her precious oil reserves. But Israel, virtually untouched in a world ravaged by war, was painfully overpopulated.

Texas-Israeli War: 1999

Your Neighborhood Librarian: Things with covers

Yay! Others are getting in on the game. Rock.

Your Neighborhood Librarian: Things with covers

A Bride for Lord Challmond

The last post was a little short, so here's another quickie.

I don't think Lord Challmond is going to need a bride, seeing as he's got no penis. I think this title will be going to a distant nephew. But who'd wanna pass on these genes, anyway? If Quentin Tarrantino and Jay Leno had a child, this is what he'd look like.

She looks rather happy, though. Probably thinking, "Whew, I'll never have to do my wifely duty, seeing as my husband lacks the proper equipment."

A Bride for Lord Challmond

My One and Only

Listen, not even in Dick Tracy's twisted imagination (and we all know this fight with Queenie is just some sort of sick masturbatory fantasy) does there exist a gem that large.

And what kind of cat burglar wears a white shirt? Seriously.

I have to admit, though, I do like the Arabesque detailing on the arch behind him. It gives the whole thing a nice bordello feel.

My One and Only


Rough and Ready

What are some good elements for romance novels? Vikings? Ooooh, strong, sexy, blond. Navy SEALs? Ooooh, strong, sexy, gunpowder. Time-travelling SEALs who go back to ancient Norway and encounter...nuns? WHAT?!?

Here's the synopsis, which I reprint in its entirety because, as I've said before, you just can't make this shit up:
Lt. Torolf Magnusson and his team of Navy SEALs have gone back in time to eleventh-century Norselands on a search-and-destroy mission, but when they find they've landed in the middle of a sanctuary-filled with women-well, hoo-yah! Their plans are put on hold, much to the distress of Hilda, the head of the sanctuary. At first resistant to Torolf's pursuits, she soon succumbs to his passionate advances. But with victory in sight for Torolf, Hilda must face the fact that their love may not survive the test of time.


Rough and Ready


DocTurtle has just pointed out that I'm not so much snarking on the cover here as snarking on the book itself. Mea culpa. I was so distracted by the blurb on the back that I forgot to snark on the Navy SEAL who doesn't need a shirt, but does need a gun, with the miniature Viking ship in the background. And "fabulous" is a word I don't often associate with romance novels, at least not the hetero-normative romances written with mostly middle-aged women in mind.


Seeing double?

Evil conjoined Siamese twins from HELL!! Freaky. Sometimes these covers are so weird and odd that they simply render me speechless. All I know is if I move, at least one of her eyes follows me. I don't think I'll be able to sleep tonight.

Sorry the picture is so pixelated. For those who dare, here's a link to a non-pixelated picture which Amazon won't let me steal from them. Bastards. I warn you, it's not for the faint of heart. Check out some of Caroline Cooney's other covers. They're for the most part equally horrifying.

UPDATE: Here's a screen shot of the demonic Mary Lee and Madrigal. Thanks to Devil in the Drain for suggesting it.

So for some reason Young Adult novels are totally creepier and more worrisome than most adult novels. I don't know why kids are so into the macabre. Anyone remember V. C. Andrews? Incest and people locked up and all sorts of twisted shit? Kids eat that up! Or, at least, I did. Guess that explains a thing or two, eh?

So there's an actual three-eyed theme that I've found in Young Adult novels.

Okay, so it's just two, which does not a theme make, but they're strangely closely shelved (Cooney and Cormier). It's a conspiracy, I swear. It's a Masonic plot, I just know it. I'm sure more information can be found on the internet.



Not book related...

...Just a quick post to thank Josh of Comics Curmudgeon for sending traffic my way. I've had 100 times as many hits in the last few hours as I had yesterday. I'm freaking out!

For those of you who didn't come here from Comics Curmudgeon, GO THERE! I've been reading it for about a year and a half now, and the only person funnier than the commentators (of which there are over 200 or so a day) is Josh himself. I never realized people felt as strongly about comic strips as I do. Now I'm frightened.

I promise to update more frequently. Thanks for coming, y'all, and thanks for the comments!


Lilies of the Field

German Nuns! Black men crouching submissively! Sidney Poitier! POWERFUL! Yes, it's (White) Lilies of the (Black) Field. This cover isn't quite so much funny as dated, tired, oddly monochromatic, and exhibiting a '60s borderline racism that pervaded so much of the American culture at that time (and, whom are we kidding, now).

But here's what's really funny (which I can't show you, unfortunately, until I get a scanner). On the back, the narrative blurb goes something like this:
Homer Smith, a black ex-GI, was a carefree and happy man on the open road - until he met a group of refugee nuns...
Yeah, nuns make me unhappy and careworn, too. And I'm so happy they felt the need to point out Homer's race. Have you ever noticed how people sometimes feel the need to gratuitously throw in race when they're talking about things? Like, "I was having dinner at that new restaurant downtown and the waiter, who was black, suggested the tuna." I've particularly noticed this trend when talking to people who are 50+ years old. Just like this book, which feels the need to tell us that Homer Smith was black, was a GI, and that nuns ruined his lighthearted existence.

I leave you with these words, also from the back cover:

When you have finished the last page, you will have one of those rare
experiences. -The Pilot (Boston, MA)
I hope your experience is a pleasant one.



Flicker Sex

This has absolutely nothing to do with book covers, but it's kinda cool. I just watched two flickers do a mating dance on my front lawn. Unfortunately DocTurtle had to leave, and he frightened the flickers away before their relationship could be consummated, but I'm hoping they'll come back. My lawn's a good place for flicker sex, isn't it?

If you want to see the flicker mating dance, I found this cool site with a video loop. Never thought you'd be looking at bird porn, did you?


Boooo! Baen.

I just can't stop myself from picking on Baen. Seriously, what kind of leverage does the Baen house artist have that keeps him or her in a job? Naked pictures of the editorial staff in compromising positions? Tenure? Remind me, if I'm ever published, to put a BIG rider in the contract that I get to approve the art. Because surely these authors cringed when they first saw these.

Here we have aerobicizing angels*:

And here are some naked blue women dancing around a planet shaped like a woman's head. Nice makeup there.

In case you're wondering, Spider Robinson is one of my favorite Sci-Fi authors. His Callahan series is brilliant and funny and sexy and alcoholic...I mean, the two related locales are a bar and a whorehouse, what could be better?! But I would never, ever, ever, ever, in a million years, ever read this book if I just had to cover to go on.

And what is with the Baen ball? What is that, a squid? How do you pronounce Baen, anyway? These things keep me up at night.

*Thanks to diligent page Jeremy for showing me this cover. I am now scarred for life.




Small cuddly animals...WITH FIREPOWER!!!

Gordon Dickson has taken anthropomorphizing to an extreme. Well, just take a look:

Ahhh, bad puns. The last resort of sci-fi and fantasy authors everywhere. At least this book has a pun, though (and the clever, "What do bears do in the woods?" tagline). I have no idea what to do with this one:

For all those people who couldn't get enough of the Ewoks. Or is it Tora! Tora! Tora!? Be afraid. Be very afraid. Teddy's gonna getcha.




Did you know that there's a whole industry of chicklit novels for Christians? Yes indeedy!

Ahhhh, Sisterchicks. Likc Chicken Soup for the Soul, these books have spawned a whole line of Sisterchick merchandise, Sisterchick conferences, even Sisterchick cruises. Too bad they couldn't find a Sisterchick book artist who had half an idea what he or she was doing! Seriously, freaky people in black and white with boy/girl colored shower caps? Looks like Sisterchick lesbian erotica to me.

This one is my favorite of the Sisterchick novel covers, mostly because the brunette looks like she just got out of the shower. Weirdly-sepia-toned chicks do Venice, yay!

But, never fear. Your fearless narrator has gone where no self-respecting atheist Jew has gone before, she has actually read a Christian chicklit novel. And let me tell you, it was crap. Take everything that's good about chicklit--the fashion sense, the sheer hedonism, the good sex--and replace it with puppy-love for Jesus and the desperate search for a Christian boy with whom to date, mate, and procreate. Not only is it annoying, it's jarring to see these genres combined.

I do have to say, however, that I love the chicken logo, shown above wielding a sombrero. Chick-on, Sisterchicks!

http://www.sisterchicks.com/ (Which has a truly funny gallery of funny-looking people who read these books--Sorry, that was just mean!)


Special Easter Edition

Never let it be said that a godless Jew can't celebrate Easter in style. With that in mind, I give you The Prophet:

I have to tell you, when I first saw this I couldn't figure out why Jesus was so damned (ha, get it!) unhappy. Then I read that it was actually Amos on the cover and, yup, still couldn't figure out why he was so unhappy. Did the sheep reject him? That lamb sure doesn't seem to mind be clenched in a stinky guy's arms while said guy howls in pain. Maybe Amos was an early rocker, and he's about to jam with the lamb? Or rock with the flock? Either way this cover worries me.

Note to all artists who draw covers on devotional fiction: PEOPLE IN THE BIBLE WERE BROWN!!! NOT CAUCASIAN!!! Kenny Rogers here would be considered freakishly pale. Okay?! *whew* I feel better.



It's the END OF THE WORLD!!!

So I was totally planning to add a note to the previous Longarm post about yet ANOTHER Western series that publishes every month and has over three hundred volumes called The Trailsman. But as I was looking for some cover art to add (the covers aren't very exciting, just kinda formulaic)...

...I discovered that Jon Sharpe was an alias. It's one of the many pseudonyms used by a guy named, as far as I can tell, David Robbins. (NOTE: It looks like Robbins only wrote #275 of the Trailsman, which means, I assume the Jon Sharpe is a whole host of people, and David Robbins is the only one who'll own up to having anything to do with it!) And lookee what David Robbins puts his real name on!

Yes! It's an "explosive new series of survival in a post-nuclear age"! I love this cover! It's sooo nice and hyper-masculine. The dirty, bruised guy is posed (nice little snarl there) with his GIANT knife just-so...It's sooo, soooo, well, PHALLIC!Don't believe me? Well, what about this one?

Here we have mortar rounds and a BAZOOKA! posed ever so alluringly. Seriously, who reads these?