Friday, July 11, 2008

Penguin Great Ideas Series Three

11 July 2008 - Just an update on an earlier post: The full covers for the third series of Penguin Great Ideas are finally available online via Flickr

Penguin first launched their Great Ideas series in 2004. The concept is to take extracts of great books that have shaped thoughts and societies through history, and publish them in pocket-sized booklets priced at £4.99 each.

The first series proved so popular that in 2005, the second series of Penguin Great Ideas was released. There are 20 titles in each series - nuggets of ideas from philosphers, thinkers, writers - such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Michel de Montaigne, Henry David Thoreau and Confucius.

In August 2008, Penguin UK will launch the third - and probably the final - series of Great Ideas. The series will be launched at a later date in the US.

List of titles on the Penguin Great Ideas Series Three:

  1. A Confession, Leo Tolstoy
  2. The Sickness Unto Death, Soren Kierkegaard
  3. Some Anatomies of Melancholy, Robert Burton
  4. Man Alone with Himself, Friedrich Nietzsche
  5. The Evils of Revolution, Edmund Burke
  6. Concerning Violence, Frantz Fanon
  7. The Significance of the Frontier in American History, Frederick Jackson Turner
  8. The Future of an Illusion, Sigmund Freud
  9. The Invisible Hand, Adam Smith
  10. Useful Work V. Useless Toil, William Morris
  11. The Fastidious Assassins, Albert Camus
  12. The Spectacle of the Scaffold, Michel Foucault
  13. In Consolation to His Wife, Plutarch
  14. An Appeal to the Toiling, Oppressed and Exhausted Peoples of Europe, Leon Trotsky
  15. The Lamp of Memory, John Ruskin
  16. Human Happiness, Blaise Pascal
  17. Nature, Ralph Waldo Emerson
  18. Days of Reading, Marcel Proust
  19. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Walter Benjamin
  20. Books V. Cigarettes, George Orwell

Personally, I'm curious about Orwell's Books V. Cigarettes, where he ponders this dilemma: does he spends more money on reading or smoking? He explore everything from the perils of second-hand bookshops (sounds famiiar, anyone?) to the dubious profession of being a critic, from freedom of the press to what patriotism really means.

I'm also interested in Proust's Days of Reading, because, can we ever get enough of Old Marcel? (Actually, there are days when I just want to smack that snobbish little prig) In this essay, Proust explores all the pleasures that we take from books, as well as explaining the beauty of Ruskin and his work, and the joys of losing yourself in literature as a child.

Oh, I'm feeling the vapours just from the description. Must buy!


Ana S. said...

Orwell's is the one that appeals to me the most. I'm a recent convert to his non-fiction, and I just can't get enough of him. The perils of second hand bookshops definitely do sound familiar.

darkorpheus said...

Nymeth - Haha. Dangerous places, those bookstores. :)

Bybee said...

That's funny, Orwell's book is the one that drew my eye first. Never heard of it before, and I do love Orwell's nonfiction.

Anonymous said...

I want the Proust too!

& I know the lure of 2nd hand bookshops... but don't you think there's something special about books someone else has read before?

have said that I love new books too...& book nuggets...

okay, certified book slut here--

darkorpheus said...

Bybee I'm not sure where the Orwell essay is collected either. But it just jumps at you, doesn't it? Hee.

Ovidia - Another Proust admirer. You're in good company around the blogsphere.

The new Penguin Great Ideas should be available locally September this year. But will probably cost about SGD15.00 - which I wonder if it's worthwhile for a nugget.

While I use the library very often, when I actually stop to think about it - I'm not totally okay with books other people has read before. I think: what if they read in the toilet?

It's just my OCD working overtime. I know. ;p

Anonymous said...

I have such a fetish for Penguin editions. Those covers are gorgeous!

darkorpheus said...

Ella I just realised you probably can't see the larger visuals via Flickr. At least they have updated the pictures on Amazon.

I want a poster of all the bookcovers on my wall.

Anonymous said...

The cover for that Walter Benjamin is downright inspired. Ahh, Penguin goes for my wallet again!