Penguin Fodder


Not only was I a lazy blogger in May, but we have been out of the country since the 25th. That last post with all the pictures was meant to fool you tide you over until we returned. And now that we have returned I have lots of fantastic pictures to share, but it is going to take a while to sort through them all.  So in the meantime I will give you a bookish teaser of what is to be culled from the 1,846 photos we took over eight days in the UK. (Although it might be a bit misleading since the vast majority of photos are not book related.)

When we make our reservation to stay at The George in Rye, I couldn’t help but notice that they had a room called “The Book Room”. Luck was with us and our room request was honored. So we got to spend the night in a room full of Penguins.

Cozy room in Rye. But when one can only stay for one night, having all these Penguins in one spot doesn’t really do one much good. To add to the charm of the setting, that little Tivoli radio seen on the nightstand was in the middle of Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis when we arrived. A very nice, very English, and since it was playing on the radio, a very serendipitous touch.


I had every intention of putting all of these in alphabetical order by author, but alas, the quaint charm of Rye and beautiful weather won out and I ended up without much time to do it. Not to mention the fact that I ended up taking a lovely hot bath and going to bed by 10:00.


I started to pull the ones I wanted to buy or own off the shelves. Then it dawned on me that they weren’t for sale, and unless I intended to steal them, I really needed to just put them back on the shelves.


After seeing others post about these great 1960s Muriel Spark editions during
Muriel Spark Reading Week, it was fun (and frustrating) to see them in person.


I picked out a selection of titles that I knew would appeal to my readers. Not only a Miss Hargreaves and Ivy Compton-Burnett for Simon T., but a pair of Monica Dickens, a little Waugh, some Forster, a couple of Bowens and two copies of High Wages by Dorothy Whipple. I must admit, if they had had a Whipple novel that wasn’t in print with Persephone, I would have put it in my suitcase and then gone around the corner to the antiquarian bookshop that had vintage Penguins to fill in the gap. I wouldn’t have felt too bad about this either given that there was clearly no rhyme nor reason to the assemblage of Penguins and that it seemed like one vintage Penguin could just as easily take its place with no one being too upset about it. (Slippery slope, I know.)

18 thoughts on “Penguin Fodder

  1. Aarti June 4, 2012 / 5:40 pm

    WHAT AN AWESOME ROOM! I would never want to leave :-)


  2. bookssnob June 4, 2012 / 6:03 pm

    What self restraint, Thomas! I would have left with a MUCH heavier bag than the one I came with!!

    Glad you had a lovely stay in England and I look forward to your photos!


  3. Vintage Reading June 4, 2012 / 6:26 pm

    Oh I love Rye. Once home to Rumer Godden. One of my favourite writers. Hope you had a great time there.


  4. Gardener in the Distance June 4, 2012 / 6:31 pm

    Thomas, what a lovely find! I've been a big fan of Elizabeth Bowen, recently read a collection of her letters, 'Love's Civil War.'


  5. Karyn Reeves June 4, 2012 / 6:43 pm

    They are lovely photos, Thomas. You have me wondering if I would have been able to resist that temptation: High Wages is one of the titles in the first thousand I don't have, and they have two!


  6. Ruthiella June 4, 2012 / 7:05 pm

    I had to laugh at your urge to alphabetize them. :) I am glad the scenery won out after all. I admire your restraint. Those little bottles of soap and shampoo of course, are meant to be taken by guests, but the decoration, not so much. I imagine the management would have let you switch out a penguin or two, if you were able to replace them with another orange spine, however.


  7. JoAnn June 4, 2012 / 9:35 pm

    What a wonderful room! Laughing at (and sympathizing with) your urge to alphabetize … must have been torture to stay only one night.


  8. music-books-steve June 4, 2012 / 11:24 pm

    Simply amazing! These lovely old Penguins never come into our shop in good enough shape to sell! (There is a store in Stillwater that used to have a bunch of them, but I don't know if they still pursue that little specialty.) BTW, (and remembering your posting of a a few weeks ago), the RVW Fantasia on a Theme of TT is on my list of pieces I don't ever need to hear again…


  9. Verity June 5, 2012 / 4:41 am

    I love this post! Beautiful room and frustrating experience.


  10. StuckInABook June 5, 2012 / 5:02 am

    Once again, I admire your restraint (and told you that Rachel would steal them ;))

    I like what they've done with the room a lot, but it does also rather look like the books are just there for colour. Poor Miss Hargreaves! She deserves better.


  11. Christine Harding June 5, 2012 / 5:43 am

    How fantastic. All those Penguins, and the Theme on a Fantasia from Thomas Tallis, which is one of my favourite pieces of music. Like everyone else, I admie your restraint in not taking a book home!


  12. penandpencilgirls June 5, 2012 / 8:14 am

    How wonderful! So happy you had such a great place in Rye and lovely to have you back blogging again. I do wonder if others who had got there first have had the same thought re rarer Whipples etc and swapped them out already!


  13. Thomas at My Porch June 6, 2012 / 10:37 am

    Aarti: Thankfully the weather and the charms of Rye lured me out or I might not have left the room.

    Rachel: John made a purchase on the second day of our trip that made both of our suitcases too heavy already. That kind of put a straight jacket on my book buying.

    Vintage Reading: Did RG live at Lamb House as well?

    Gardener: I am a big Bowen fan too. Although I have only read maybe three of her novels. I think I am pacing myself.

    Karyn: Now you know where you need to go the next time you are in the UK. A sure bet to pick up a missing volume from your collection.

    Ruthiella: In retrospect, I think you are right about the swapping. But overall I was trying to not buy books on this trip.

    JoAnn: Residual jet lag and the warm bath made the alphabetization project impossible.

    Steve: I know that one person never wanted to hear Lark Ascending again, but I didn't remember your aversion to FoaToTT. It seems funny that you would have heard it enough in this country to get sick of it–unless it was self-inflicted. :)

    Verity: Happily, although there were fun books in the room, none of them were on my must have at any cost list.

    Simon: I looked back at the photo of the room on the website and they also used to have very colorful, Victorian looking hardcovers on some of the shelves. Maybe those were too valuable to keep unguarded.

    Christine: It was a perfect combination that is for sure.

    Penandpencilgirls: I thought the same thing about the Whipples.

    Julie: And the nice thing is the room would have been cozy even without the books.


  14. June 11, 2012 / 11:58 am

    Ah, that room would be too tempting to me. Penguin pbks make such beautiful interior decor!


  15. Bookish Mind November 22, 2014 / 12:21 pm

    Wow! I know it's not right to be envious…but I am! Look at those lovely Penguin books^^*


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.