Friday, August 22, 2008

Penguin's Great Ideas

From a review of Penguin's Great Ideas, third series:

These books are too beautiful. If I'm going to read a book, I want to be able to tote it around in a jacket pocket, to leave it in the bathroom to get warped by steam, or in the kitchen to get stained with ketchup.
Heinz, I hope.

Penguin's Great Ideas volumes are beautiful books indeed. You can see the covers from all three series (first, second, third) at designer David Pearson's website. No info available as to when these books will be available in the U.S. (I've asked.)

[Update, August 25, 2008: Penguin has no plans to publish the books in the United States. How to get them? More information in this post: Penguin's not so great idea.]

comments: 10

Geo-B said...

www.amazon.co.uk?

Michael Leddy said...

It's possible, but the shipping is outrageous. The books are a little under $9 each — with shipping, three books would cost over $50.

It's possible to get some UK books via amazon.com (I got the unpublishable-in-the-US volumes of the new Proust that way), but not, alas, these Penguins.

j said...

Oh! woe is me- shipping from the UK- a sore subject. I've had to give up (well, mostly give up) one of my small indulgences: used books from Great Britain/Ireland.

After reading your reply, Michael, reminding me of this sad state of affairs, I had to go to the kitchen and console myself with a bowl of sorbet (store brand, on sale half price, really delicious, Yay! for Brand X).

Michael Leddy said...

Brand X for the win!

J, you must know Helene Hanff's 84 Charing Cross Road, no?

j said...

84 Charing Cross Road- yes, I read it many years back.

I got it for my daughter this past spring and I was surprised to find it such a thin volume. I have such affection for it: in my memory, it was a thicker book. :)

TRH said...

I've seen some of the books in 'set one' in god book stores in New York (Albany). Now that I'm back in the midwest (WI) I'll have to look 'round here for them -- the Proust and Ruskins look good.

TRH said...

Oops, that should be 'good' bookstores above, not 'god' bookstores - tho' a good bookstore is a little bit of heaven on earth.

Michael Leddy said...

I've seen the whole sets of the Great Ideas books in display units in university bookstores, but only scattered single volumes elsewhere. I would bet the Seminary Coop has the first two series. (God's bookstore!)

Stephen said...

Thanks for the great links.

The review notes that most of these volumes are 'excerpts' from larger works.

Michael Leddy said...

Yes, many are excerpts, and many of the texts are in the public domain. I like the idea of the compact, portable volume — an inviting way for someone to become acquainted with, say, Robert Burton.