Wednesday, 29 May 2013

An Autumn Clean Up of All Things Books

Now that winter is on its way here in the southern hemisphere it is time to start thinking about what I might do to keep from going stir crazy over these darker months.  We are fortunate that we don't get much snow here but the days are short and the winds off the Southern Ocean very cold. After all Antarctica is the next stop south of Tasmania.

I decided to redo this blog and have a good think about the direction I take it.  Yes I am an avid vintage Penguin book collector. The main reason I collect these books is because the social history they tell of the 20th century is great.  They are also disappearing from our earth at an alarming rate because they are after all quite delicate paperback books.  Do I wish to read all of them? No.  I wish to pass on to another person one day a really lovely collection of first published Penguin books in the hope that whoever inherits this collection will continue to be its keeper for another couple of generations or so.

I read enough Buddhist texts to understand the laws of impermanence so I know that one day they will all turn to dust along with the rest of the world.  So I can't be too precious about them.

I also collect a few old books of American authors.  I like Uncle Tom's Cabin and authors John Steinbeck and Jack London.  I keep my really lovely older books in the hallway as there isn't much light there and I like seeing my American heritage as I enter the front doorway into our home.  All of the Penguin books are brightly displayed in the front bedroom which should be our larger master bedroom but instead is the library and computer room. I am currently reorganising Penguin shelves to photos of that later.

Another collection of books I have that many people don't know about is everything that William Horwood has published in a first edition. A still living English author I never read anything about him anywhere online.  He wrote the Duncton Quest fantasy series and the main reason I began collecting them is because, one, they are affordable, two, I love the large chunky sized hard covers with the beautifully illustrated dust jackets.  He also did a series of books following Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham. I generally don't like it if an author follows up with another author's works but these books are delightful.

I have a good collection of old dog adventure stories that I collect from the 1800's to 1950. I mainly collect those because I love the illustrations especially those of the English illustrator Cecil Aldin. He is becoming very collectable these days and I can't afford many of the prints but the books are still within reach.

I have been so obsessed with my Penguin books that I haven't given much time to the other books I love just as much.

But back to the new directions of my blog.  I am hoping to post up more often during the winter.  I also hope to share more unusual interests I have in books besides my Penguins and general things I read.  I love the quirky, I love American literature and I'm wanting to explore more Australian Lit.  Most of the blogs I follow tend to feature a great deal of English lit and writers and personally I'm wanting to read  more American Lit and also translated fiction.

Short stories are something I don't read a lot of and I have a bit of a hankering (love that term) to get into them as well and if I really get ambitious I might revisit some American poetry.  I need to wake myself up, wake up Travellin' Penguin a bit and find something to study that I think others might also find interesting.

I will still include little stories of the furballs I live with and might even do a proper introduction of them. Maybe a feature here and there of each one individually because they really are quite the characters.

The Penguin hunting will continue on motorbike trips but the bikes are so heavy with all the gear we wear in the winter time might not be able to put too many books on the machine.  So I'm hoping the winter stays bright with interests and with long nights the seasonal affective disorder doesn't get  me.

I am going to the USA to visit family and friends for the month of November later this year and hopefully will find some interesting things in the book shops.  More on that closer to the date.

Well as it's going on 4:00 pm, my dog Wally who can tell time is reminding me it's his dinner hour so I'd better pay attention and do something about it or he really will make a nuisance of himself.


  1. Pam, I love the new design, with the background image. I'll look forward to seeing where your new directions take you. And if your travels take you through Texas, be sure and let me know :)

  2. Hi Lisa, I would love to come to Texas but I will be in California, Florida and Tennessee. Maybe another time. I quite enjoy Texas and have been there several times. Love the Tex Mex food. Australians cannot make real Mexican or Tex Mex food so will be stocking up when there. Thank you for your lovely comments.

  3. This all sounds fantastic. I'll look forward to reading more about your other book passions. It's a good idea to rethink a blog every now & then.

    1. Thank you Lyn, I couldn't agree more. I think if I get bored with what I'm doing so will everyone else who may be interested.

  4. Love the first pic! Old hardcover books do have their own charm and these look really good on your shelves (with your doggies!) :)
    My dog Sandy is very 'vocal' too, when it comes to meal times!

    1. Yes I love old hardcover books and the dogs always make me laugh. Books and dogs- a great combination!

  5. As a fellow Penguin collector, I know too well that these books can take over, but like you, I also love my other books just as much. In my case, a large collection of old hardback poetry books. I'll enjoy your new look blog. Lovely photo of some of your other books...

    1. It is the variety of the books that are so lovely. It is fun to dip into whatever is interesting at the moment. Thank you for your lovely comments.

  6. Ooh, I look forward to seeing where you're re-assessing takes you. I love all your posts, penguinish and otherwise. I have seen the Duncton Wood series here in the UK but never read them myself - I'll be interested in learning more about them. :)


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