I meant to unveil one book-a-palooza post a day, but I got impatient. All the text and pictures were ready, I couldn’t resist dumping them all at once.
And if these Penguins don’t interest you (!) scroll down there are plenty of other book treasures that follow.
I saved the best Book-a-palooza post for last.
Some of you may remember my obsession in getting all 20 volumes of the Penguin English Journey’s series. Well obssessions ran amok on my recent trip to London. As you saw earlier, I couldn’t help buying almost all of the Penguin Great Loves series. But far crazier was my last minute decision to acquire all 100 volumes in the Great Ideas series.
What possessed me? I already owned two that I had picked up a year ago at an English bookshop in Den Haag. And then when I was in the original Daunt Books on Marylebone High Street on a rainy Friday night a few weeks ago, I picked up a copy of Nationalism just because I loved the cover (see below).
Later that weekend right before drifting off to jet-lag enhanced slumber I noticed that the volume was numbered and that there are 100 books in the series. One thing led to another and our last full day in London I found myself in Daunt Books on Fulham Road where I managed to snag about 45 volumes in one fell swoop. But this still left fifty-some still to buy. As we wended our way across central London that day I called in at every new bookshop we passed to see if they had more of them. The giant Waterstone’s at Picadilly. Nothing. At the fantastically wonderful Hatchards just a few doors down from that, not one to be found. Foyles on Charing Cross Road, another goose egg. I was starting to despair, the helpful folks at Hatchards explained that they once had them all in one section but after the original promotion they put them into general stock which made them worse than a needle in a haystack given the time I had left. Then, after almost not even going in, I walked into the Blackwell’s on Charing Cross Road and asked at the information counter. He pointed me toward a full display of the whole series. Earlier at Daunt I had noted down all the numbers that were still missing. I took that list and started grabbing the ones I needed off the shelf. I soon had to enlist John’s help to hold the ones I was going to buy as I went through my numbered list. Within five minutes John had about 52 books in his arms. I had managed to find all the volumes that were missing. I couldn’t believe my luck. Finding all missing 97 volumes in one day. The best part is that Blackwells had them on sale 3 for the price of 2!
And let me tell you, they are beautiful. Most of covers have some element of embossed design. Some are very intricate and some are extremely simple. Below are a selection of my favorites.
Penguin knows at least two things: 1) Pretty covers matter; and 2) Create a numbered series and OCD book collectors will spend way too much money, like climbing Everest, just because it is there.
|Can you spot the rainbow of Great Ideas on the top shelf?|
|The cover that started it all for me.|