Whether I’m rummaging through boxes of old paperbacks at a garage sale or tipping the books out quickly, one after the other, from the shelves at a used bookstore or thrift shop to see what the covers look like, I can usually tell at a glance whether the image on the front interests me or not. To speed the plow, I don’t bother looking at “newer” books but instead zero in on anything that looks like it was published in the 1970s or earlier. Also, if the books I’m looking at are divided into genres, I tend to start with the SF and mystery paperbacks, which in my experience tend to have the highest percentage of compelling illustrative covers. But I don’t shy away from other genres, which can produce some nice surprises, like so:
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Although uncredited, the cover of The Ugly American is signed by prolific pulp illustrator Barye Phillips. The cover of A Man over Forty, however, is both uncredited and unsigned. Anyone recognize the artist from the style?