Saturday, August 14, 2010

Penguin's Great Ideas Series Five

One of my favourite things that Penguin does is their collections of little books in a set - Great Loves, Great Journeys etc. The best of them (& they clearly agree with me here) is the Great Ideas series, of which the fifth set of 20 is about to be published. The Great Ideas books are small (a little over 100 pages, in most cases), relatively cheap (<$10) books, offering a variety of essays from some of the great minds of all time. And, best of all, they are beautifully designed...

And one of my favourite things that the Book Depository does is offer half-price pre-orders on most books. So, over the last couple of months, I've pre-ordered the bulk of the new set in dribs and drabs. For about four bucks a pop! Thus, sometime after late August, I'll get a whole stack of gorgeous little books containing interesting little essays - some from writers I've never heard of before, some from authors I've always meant to get to, and a couple from some old favourites.

Here are some of my favourite designs from the forthcoming fifth series:
(Better quality photos are available on the Flickr page of series designer David Pearson, who's one of my favourite book designers. Go look! They really give a good idea of the tactile nature of these books, which are all debossed and lovely to touch.)

Silly Novels by Lady Novelists, George Eliot

On Conspiracies, Niccolo Machiavelli

Some Extraordinary Popular Delusions, Charles Mackay

We Will All Go Down Fighting to the End, Winston Churchill

Of Human Freedom, Epictetus

Nationalism, Rabindranath Tagore

The Perpetual Race of Achillies and the Tortoise, Jorge Luis Borges

The State as a Work of Art, Jacob Burckhardt

Night Walks, Charles Dickens

Some Thoughts on the Common Toad, George Orwell

Pretty great, in my opinion. And that's before you even open them!

What's your favourite? I think the Churchill and Orwell ones are mine - in fact, I already own a book that contains all of the pieces included in the Orwell, and am just buying that particular one for the cover.

(Yeah, I know it's sad. But it was about $4.20, so I can live with the shame.)

1 comment:

  1. I want these so much. Should have pre-ordered them when I had the chance, but Dave was all like, "Ohh, we have to pay rent with that $4.20". My favourites (that you have posted here) are Machiavelli, Epictetus, and Orwell.

    Blog on!