report from the front – Watanabe

re: the 27th Annual Vintage Paperback Collectors Show
“I had the pleasure of spending several hours with Chris Volk yesterday at the LA Paperback Show and also met Shep Iiams. We also connected with one of my favorite people, Jerry Blaz, who knows Chris from the IOBA board. Alice and Marty Massoglia’s table acted as a meeting point for Chris and I. Hard to believe they have occupied that same corner spot for at least the 16 years I have been going to the show. Ray Bradbury did not show, but that wasn’t totally expected given his health. Laura Freas was there, but Kelly was missed. He passed away about a year ago. I only bought one book, “The Paperback Art of James Avati“, (ISBN 1880418711) by Piet Schreuders & Kenneth Fulton. Avati also died last year. It is not a price guide, but a great reference book with one bibliography for his Signet/New American Library books and another for all the other publishers who featured his covers. It is really more than a reference book. It’s one I’ll spend time to read. Lots of background info and pictures of the sets and models he used. Also, his critiques of certain covers. Apparently, he and Salinger had quite a conflict over the cover for “Catcher in the Rye.” Salinger did not want any faces to show since he had never described Holden nor his sister looks. Avati said that was fine for people already familiar with the story, but would not make a connection with new readers. Neither was happy with the final product because the publisher had him put a white rectangle to the right of Holden, where they put the blurb, “This unusual book may shock you, but . . .” Avati said it didn’t even look like his work after they got through with it. There are lots of snippets of correspondence between Avati and publishers and authors, so while it is a visual treat, there is a lot of good reading. For many of us older folks, his are the covers on our first readings of many classic novels of the mid-century, so it is a litle trip down memory lane as well. “

from Mary Watanabe


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