May 3, 2012
Not that it is acceptable to judge a book by its cover (although in the literal sense it is, because that is kind of the point of book jackets), but it helps. Especially if the cover is nice. And Penguin, who are reissuing some of their classics (not for the first time), are taking thorough advantage of this with their rather splendid Penguin English Library,
There will be one hundred titles in total, released in batches for the next six months, drawn from their extensive list of classics, all originally published in English, all issued and reissued many times over (and not just by Penguin), and yet somehow made all the more pleasing merely by a splash of colour, a move away from drab spines and resetting the type. As well as that matte, rubbery finish that is cropping up on more and more books these days (which probably has a technical term and also a good reason other than it feels pleasant) So, cosmetic, yes. But then there’s the price – £5.99, except because we are nice you can get them from us at £3.99 – and the simple fact that it makes them all look far more interesting and covetable and necessary. It even makes Thomas Hardy appear enjoyable to read, which is surely an achievement.
October 22, 2011
Hardly a hot new release, and certainly not something that could have been easily missed in the last 15 or so years, but attention must be drawn to an all new Everyman Classic Library edition of everyone’s favourite bestselling atheist-minded fantasy kids epic.
Like everything produced by the Everyman Classic Library it’s a handsome, perfectly proportioned thing, with stitched binding and sewn in bookmark, a special introduction and all the other lovely touches that Everyman do to make their books so covetable. But more exciting than any of that is the price: The Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass, all wrapped up nicely, for the ludicrously low price of £15. Too shocking.
April 7, 2011
An unsubtle satire on the genres of the turgid, overwrought and overwritten considered important literature (Gibbons tartly highlights the passages she considers most characteristic of such); an outright attack on its many clichés (the doom, tragedy and vapid characterisation, all of which face the brunt of Gibbon’s put down’s and her heroine’s belligerent common sense); but more importantly, just one of the funniest books ever, with more wit, sarcasm, one-liners and general brilliance in a mere 233 pages than other writers have managed in an entire lifetime’s output.
October 25, 2010
A work of devious, selfish, cruel brilliance that revels in French aristocratic types behaving perfectly beastly toward one another, and miles better than any of the films (even the one with Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Good stuff.
September 27, 2010
Everything you wanted to know about Greco-Roman mythology (with the emphasis on Greek, for reasons that will become obvious when reading) in handy, book form. Or rather handy, readily readable book form.
No endless chapters detailing the ten year wait outside the walls of Troy, no lengthy stanzas reciting who begat who (and with who, and what they happened to turn into, and which god’s ire was stoked in the process). March adopts the approach of a novel – starting from the very beginning, sticking to a rough, chronological order – and supplies enough background to avoid mere summaries but does not burden the text. The result is an approachable jaunt through thousands of years of mythology and an abundance of highly enjoyable and thrilling tales told with style.