Thursday, 18 June 2015

Penguin Little Black Classics - An 80th Anniversary Celebration

When I discovered that Penguin would be releasing 80 little books of classic literature for just 80p each, it was inevitable that I would end up accumulating a large collection. And alas, it is true. Over the past few months, I have collected 45 of the 80 volumes, and do indeed plan to acquire the remaining 35 much to my parents dismay.

Aside from the fantastic price I love the wide-ranging nature of the books.They contain everything from Emily Bronte, to Dante, to Karl Marx. Although well-known writers such as Dickens are included, it is their lesser known tales that represent them, opening the eyes of the reader to literature they may never have thought of reading. Unlikely names also crop up, such as Mozart, Darwin and ancient texts such as Nordic legends, Chinese poems and religious texts.

The sheer diversity of the classics makes it possible to widen one's reading without committing to a huge and intimidating volume. Each of the Little Black Classics averages at around 64 pages, making the reading bite size and digestible.
In terms of design, the covers are classic and simple. The dominant black is broken up by a single strip of white, possibly a nod to the white band around the centre of classic penguin volumes. On the back, there is a few sentences about the text, and a single quote on the inside cover. I really enjoy the lack of description here, I feel as though it allows the text to speak for itself rather than revealing too much, working well with the shortness of the books.
From my experience, the classics take around 40 minutes each to read, making them a perfect read during a coffee break or train journey. A large proportion of the books are also made up of multiple short stories, or are collections of poetry, again making them quick to read in small chunks. This makes many of the books good introductions to their genre or writing style, such as those of the classical period.
I would really recommend picking up a few of these books in areas you are interested in, even if you don't collect them all. They are sure to widen your horizons, and at only 80p each, you really can't go wrong.



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