Saturday, 19 March 2016

A Penguin - ing We Did Go......

Life has been moving along quite well lately. I can't believe how fast the year is moving though. Already we are heading into April. I never remember the days moving this fast before I retired. Remind me.....

I have done some interesting Penguin things over the past couple of weeks.  First I was invited to do my Penguin Publication History talk to a group of Seniors as their guest speaker. This is the third time I have loaded up my suitcase on wheels into the car full of various series of Penguin books.
I figure the seniors will either love this talk to pieces or they will be asleep within ten minutes. I had to laugh as a couple of the men at the back of the room who would not move forward did fall asleep. They obviously weren't ready for this. I had barely started. The women and couple of other men could not get their hands off these books.  

I take a bit of ephemera with me too and I had to keep an eagle eye on everything.  After the talk I let everyone come up and handle the books, see the publications from the Penguin Collector's Society, play with the little orange truck, then I give them each a Penguin postcard to take home from the box of postcards that came out a few years ago.
The interest they show is really heartening.  I do the suspense part of the talk how all of these books are heading into landfill. I build that part up. Then I tell them how I visit all those landfill sites and op shops and rescue them and take them home to live with me.
We spend a bit of time on the stories of the Lane brothers and some of the disputed theories that have recently been published.  I then tell them nobody really knows the truth about the brothers. I don't know if the recent book about the Lane Brothers is sour grapes or otherwise so I give both sides of the story. They get a laugh of how the three brothers used to hold meetings in their bathroom.

They are very interested about the stories of Penguins during WWII. The paper shortages, how books needed to be pulped to get more paper, the lack of dust jackets due to paper shortages.

They enjoyed the bit published on the books to return them to a post office so they could be sent to the soldiers in the front line.  It is fun to paint the picture in their mind of soldiers reading these old books in the trenches while they wait for the action to start up again. 

They loved the King Penguins and exclaimed over the various colours Penguins are published in. They enjoyed the Penguin Handbooks, especially the one about Dogs. (Of course I would take that one with me). 

They ALL exclaim over the small print of the Penguin books and how on earth does anyone read them anymore. We talk about the differences in publishing big vocabulary words and few pictures decades ago and how much bigger the print is, simpler vocabulary and the general dumbing down and looser editing of books. That triggers a lot of discussion.
This group want to come visit my library. I did invite them then came home and told Mr. P we would probably be having a group of about 10 ladies, aged 80 to 93 come to the house for tea, bikkies and a tour through the front room to see all the books. He said he'd go to his friend's farm that day and work.  No guts.

The Cat Centre's Op shop. Lots of crazy cat ladies in here. 

I love the enthusiasm all three groups have shown over these books. I plan the talk to be about 45 minutes, like I said a couple in the back were asleep. But the questions go on and on and I had to stop this group after an hour and a half.  You  might be asking yourself, "I wonder if she takes payment for these talks."  No, I volunteer my time but I must say I have been given a bottle of nice wine for my efforts and Mr. P and I enjoy that later in the day.  
The view from the Margate Tip Shop

Over the past couple of weeks I also took my big scooter out one sunny day and rode to a couple of tip shops to look for books. The Margate tip shop which is south of me about 25 minutes used to just have junk books. There have been staff changes and I was told there are quite a few books now and one case that has a sign on it in scrawled handwriting that states Penguin Books.  Many of those turned out to be more recent ISBN books but I did find a few I didn't have. Also Cracked and Spineless Second Hand Books sent me a Facebook message that said, " Get your butt down here... we have Penguins." That made me laugh. Sure enough he had some nice Penguins in good condition.  I got about 5 of the main series, a couple of Penguin classics and a lovely first Puffin. 

Looking the other direction from the Tip Shop

It has been a fun week for these lovely old books and again I do appreciate the people I meet and the experiences I have had by collecting these.  It continues to be great fun even after so many years. 


  1. What a lovely post! I enjoyed reading about your Penguin Talks... thanks for sharing, Pam.

  2. Great that you hold talks about Penguin. Wish I could be there to hear them! I promise I would not fall asleep.

  3. it's really nice of you to go to all that trouble and i'm sure they all appreciate it. some of the penguins in the photo made me drool into the keyboard. darn. i'm afraid i'm with mr. P. my better half had some ladies over to collect seeds and i planned a trip to town beforehand. i felt a little guilty but did it anyway... Bad mudpuddle...

  4. How fun. But I really would be worried about sticky fingers--literal and figurative.


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