Saturday, April 4, 2015
HEY FUCKERS #20: YELLOW-BACK BOOKS
Have you ever read this book? I consider it the best book on reading ever written. It even includes L'Amour's reading list in the back. I learned a lot from this one, but one of the most fascinating things he slipped into my mind was the concept of the Little Blue Book. During the Great Depression, a publisher with the noble cause of putting literature into the hands of people who couldn't ordinarily afford it started creating incredibly cheap, pocket-sized books and pricing them at a very affordable ten cents. I love that concept. I wish I had some of them in my personal collection, but I doubt many of them are extant today.
As I'm sure you're aware, I've been reading THE FIFTH HEART by Dan Simmons (OK, I get it, I'll shut up after this . . . maybe). I've learned a lot from this book, too. One of the outstanding things I learned is of the existence of yellow-back books. I fell in love with this concept immediately. These things were created as competition to the penny dreadfuls, and I'm almost certain the creators of Little Blue Books were inspired by them. After penny dreadfuls, this is the next step in the evolution of what would eventually be known as the pulps (and what would later inspire the fabulously popular concept of comic books).
I have some good classic comic books in my collection. I also have a lot of great pulp magazines. But I don't have Little Blue Books or any yellow-back books. I wish I could change that.