Monday, 25 June 2012

Great Book Buys On A Cold Winter's Day

Vintage 21st  anniversary copies. Love the colours

 It is currently 8 degrees (C) in Hobart at the moment and with the wind today it feels very chilly. That is 46 for the Fahrenheit people out there.
When a friend asked me to join her for a hot chocolate at my favourite indie book shop in Hobart (Fullers) I jumped at the chance. Also as the financial year is nearing its end,  all books in the store are 20% off. Hot chocolate and bargains. Can't ask for more than that.

I have had my eye on the series of Vintage 21st Anniversary books they have had for some time now. Vintage published 21 of these gorgeous coloured books. The actual reading pages are white. Not only are they pretty but the covers feel sensual to the touch. Almost a bit satiny. I chose three of the books I haven't yet read and at $12.98 each minus 20 % I thought it was a good deal. The hot chocolate was delicious as well.

I am such a sucker for great marketing and beautiful book covers.

I chose three authors whose work I am not at all familiar with. I simply read the back of the book and these three appealed to me. I'd love to know what others have thought of them.

Suite Francaise takes place during WWII in Paris when France fell to the Nazi's. The story is about the rural inhabitants of a small community and how they cope with the war.

The Road Home is about a character named Lev who is on his way home from Eastern Europe to Britain, seeking work. He has had a tragic history and he must cope with coming to London which holds the alluring possibility of friendship, sex, money and a new career. He is looking for a new sense of belonging.

My third choice was Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie. I have heard so much of this author over the years and believe he is incredibly brave. I think it is about time I finally read something he has written.

Once I left Fullers Independent store I went to one of my favourite second hand book shops, Imperial. I have several favourite second hand book shops as Hobart seems to do well with books especially for our population.  Imperial books on Collins Street just up the road from Fullers is under new management since the previous owner passed away.
When I walk into this shop, the new owner always says "Hello, Penguin Pam" and begins to tell me what he has set aside for me.  There was a very large warehouse filled with books from the previous owner and the new owner did not hesitate to tell me about the Saturday book sales they are now holding nearby of all of these old books. He said he has quite a few Penguins and most books are only $2.00 each so I know what I will be doing this Saturday  morning and perhaps a few more.

He did have two lovely Penguin Poets books in stock for a very reasonable price. I have a friend in England who collects these and I began by searching out books for her that she continues to look for but they are all so beautiful that I am now keeping the ones (first published only) I find that she already has. Penguin produced some lovely covers for their Vintage Penguin Poets series.

D 25     Matthew Arnold   1st published 1954
D 71             Pushkin   1st published 1964

C 5     first published 1938
One of my favourite series that Allen Lane produced in his career are the Penguin Illustrated Classics.  It wasn't an extensive collection but the illustrations were completed with wood engravings.

I had not seen the 1938 copy of Robert Browning poems before and when I saw it on the shelf I immediately snatched it up.  It still has its dust jacket on it and the book is in a great condition. It is hard to believe this book is 78 years old.

I think they are a wonderful collection. I hope to find all of them eventually.

A wonderful day of books.
Happy page turning.
All in all I would say quite a successful day. Coffee with friends, wonderful book
shops with hot chocolate and heat. Lovely books at very reasonable prices. I love it when I can buy locally and support the industry at home.


  1. Sounds like a great day, and you've got some wonderful books there. I like the Browning. I've got one Penguin with a cover, and I'd love to know if the early ones all had dust jackets.

    1. For some reason I have it in my head that the dust jackets stopped in the late 1940's. I have a reference book that I can check this in. It also depends too on what series of Penguin. The main series and the Illustrated classics had them but know the main series stopped them. Have to check if the Illustrated classics had them for all books. If anyone else knows would be good to reply. Thanks for your comment.

    2. That would be so kind if you wouldn't mind checking - I did try Googling, but I couldn't find anything, and I would love to know. It is Kate O'Brien, Without My Cloak (number 716,paperback, published by Penguin in 1949, which I think makes it a first edition in Penguin (but not for the novel, obviously). It says it's a Double Volume - I Googled that as well and couldn't find anything, but I'm a bit of a dunce with the computer. There are two penguins on the front, with their heads turned to each other, and the price between them (2s 6d).

      I volunteer in an Oxfam bookshop, and since reading Karin's blog, and your's, I've got hooked, and every time I spot an old Penguin I pounce on it, along with the old Viragos!

  2. What a perfect day's shopping. I love those Vintage classics. I wonder what Other titles they have??

    1. Thanks Lyn for your comment. I found another blog site that has the list of all 21 titles. You can read them at:

      I would love the whole set. They are gorgeous and very good reading.

  3. It's pouring rain here this morning. Nothing on my agenda. Sure wish you and I could go book hunting---a perfect day to do it.
    There was an article in our paper today about Penguin e-books in NY public libraries. I'll email you more info.

    1. That would be great fun. Enjoyed the follow up email about the Penguin e books.

  4. Sounds a great day out Pam and very successful in the book hunt. Pleased to report that I have the two Penguin Poets you found so I shall allow you to keep those!!! Frances

    1. Yes I saw that you already had them. They are lovely covers. I have one for you here I must get sent out that I know you don't have. I seem to come across them quite often in the second hand shops. They are such beautiful old books.

  5. So civilised drinking your cappuccino surrounded by books..... sandra

  6. Sounds like a wonderful day! Love the Vintage 21st anniversary editions, too. Suite Francaise was a favorite the year I read it, and I just 'discovered' Rose Tremain this year. Salman Rushdie intimidates me...

  7. I have always been intimidated by Rushdie as well but thought I need to get over it. :-) Thank you for your comment. Pam

  8. Christine, could you email me at
    and I could send you more information. cheers, Pam


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