Penguins and Pelicans

26th March 2011

I recently started reading Penguin by Design, which is so far fantastic. It’s also inspired me to continue seriously with my old Penguin book collection, which currently stands at a colossal total of seven books! Well, I have only just properly started — I actually purchased three (below) from a bookshop in Rochester quite some time ago, but never got around to buying any more.

My first three Penguin books

Voters, Parties and Leaders by Jean Blondel, 1965 print; Penguin Survey of Business and Industry 1966, 1966 print; The Economic History of the World Population by Carlo M. Cipolla, 1974 print

I liked these three purely because of the covers, particularly the brilliantly witty use of hats to depict the various class divisions in Britain in the sixties on Voters, Parties and Leaders.

So, to further the collection I scoured eBay for more. After narrowly missing out on The Black Cloud by Fred Hoyle which I wanted for it’s brilliant cover, I did manage to get hold of a May 1939 reprint of One Man Against Europe, interesting as it was one of the Penguin Specials published just before the start of the Second World War.

One Man Against Europe

One Man Against Europe by Konrad Heiden, 1939

The latest additions to the collection were found in one of the many bookshops along Charing Cross Road. The first I bought for it’s sinister cover illustration, The Speciality of the House, a collection of short stories by Stanley Ellin.

The Speciality of the House

The Speciality of the House and other stories by Stanley Ellin, 1968

The last two consisted of both volumes of the amusingly dated and only slightly patronising titled The Intelligent Woman’s Guide To Socialism, Capitalism, Sovietism & Facsim by George Bernard Shaw.

The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Socialism & Capitalism

The Intelligent Woman's Guide To Socialism, Capitalism, Sovietism & Facism (1) by Bernard Shaw, 1937

So, this represents the beginings of my collection. I’ll keep adding to it, choosing books for their sexy covers, intriguing subject matter or their interesting background. If anything, this will help anyone stuck for birthday present ideas!