Articles

Penguin Mini Modern Classics

In Books on March 31, 2011 by Miche

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions (they’re just appointments with regret), but if I did the list would probably include “read more short stories.” So I looked at this boxed set of Penguin Mini Classics with booklust. Fifty literary snacks, half of them by authors I haven’t read, and quite a few others by writers I haven’t looked at in years. Even at Amazon’s discounted price, though, I balked at spending £80-odd all at once.

Then I got a letter from BBC Contributors’ Payments. I’d done a ten-minute session reading extracts for a Radio Ulster history programme a month or so before and forgotten all about it. So here was an unexpected payment of … £80.00. I found the extra £1.24 under the sofa cushion and placed my order.

Mini Classics boxed set

Mini Classics boxed set

But it’s one thing to buy a bunch of books and another thing to read them. There are twenty books from the Penguin Great Ideas series sitting on my shelves and mutely rebuking me. I bought them years ago and have read three.

So, over the next seven weeks and a day (events permitting), I aim to read a slim volume per day. Along the way I’ll meet some old friends (Saki, P.G. Wodehouse), make the acquaintance of writers I really ought to have known before (Karen Blixen, Donald Barthelme) and have another go at authors I haven’t been able to like before (Joseph Conrad, Henry James).

I’ll read them in the order they come in the box – alphabetically by author. So first up will be Hell Screen by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, who I’ve never heard of.

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