Paperbacks from Hell | Review

Hey! Long time, no book related blog post. Pretty shabby for a self-proclaimed bibliomaniac. But I can’t wait to show you this book: ‘Paperbacks from Hell’ by Grady Hendrix. Originally I purchased this as a book to sit on the side and be dipped into every so often. While it’s a beautiful book my expectation was slightly misguided by its glossy style. The content is much more impressive and gripping.

Paperbacks from Hell is an intense look at publishing’s horror boom in the 70s and 80s. Split into eight different sub genres, Hendrix builds a chronological account of horrors push into the bestseller lists; now forgotten treasures that once caused a stir to overdone styles. Even the most fanatical readers of horror, I’m sure, will find titles they would never have dreamed of in here.

It’s been a fascinating read. I love Hendrix’s ability to draw on the current affairs that weaved their way into fiction and really helped the selling of such horrific stories. It makes me wonder what realities are fuelling the publishing world currently. How much of the fiction we see is influenced by reality, or does fiction shape our reality? American Horror Story’s Cult springs to mind, following the Trump election. I wonder how long it’ll be before we see a twisted sordid tale of Brexit. Maybe May and Corbyn will turn out to be extra terrestrials who chose Earth to host the finale of their ancient war. They say anything’s possible and I’m sure that’s what Hendrix found once he delved into the very depths of second hand book shops for these tales. His clear extensive research alone deserves recognition. Although I think most fans of horror would find this book interesting I have enjoyed this title from an industrial point of view. A lot of the detail is in how choices to publish books were made. As well as the stories there is also a look into the books as a product. The pages are adorned with beautiful covers throughout and often supported with information about the artists who created them. It makes a perfect read for anyone interested in a publisher’s point of view. Focussing on the horror genre is just a bonus in my case! Nevertheless the writing is upbeat while balancing statistics. Hendrix’s humour and passion shines through which keeps the information entertaining. Once I start exploring this book I find it hard to close it.

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