Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Big Box of Penguin Classics!

My only New Year's Resolution was to curtail the amount of books I was adding to my to-read shelves by not purchasing any more books.  But gifts don't count, right?  Well, what about . . . prizes?  Because a couple of weeks ago I received an unexpected email from Penguin Books!  To my surprise and delight, this is what it said:

"Congratulations! Your predictions for the final list of 10 Essential Penguin Classics were closer than anyone else's (okay, full disclosure, you and another person tied, so we're awarding two grand prizes). Because of your Nostradamus-like powers of prediction, you've won a set of Penguin Classics Deluxe Editions."


I was gobsmacked!  Okay, I've won prizes before, but I don't think I've ever won anything that wasn't random or pure luck, like a giveaway from another book blogger, or a door prize.  Or bingo -- certainly nothing that involved actual skill or knowledge.  I've never even been able to guess how many jelly beans are in a jar (not that I'd even want them -- seriously, if isn't chocolate, why bother?).  But I digress.

Anyway -- today I received a box with TWENTY FOUR Graphics Deluxe Classics from Penguin books!  A twenty-three pound box!!  Here's a photo of what was inside, properly alphabetized by author:

If you can't read the titles very well, here's a list of what was in the box:
  1. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott*
  2. Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen
  3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen*
  4. The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster
  5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte*
  6. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte*
  7. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
  8. White Noise by Don DeLillo
  9. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens*
  10. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne*
  11. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
  12. Metamorphosis and Other Stories by Franz Kafka
  13. Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence
  14. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
  15. The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker
  16. Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
  17. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley*
  18. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
  19. The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights by John Steinbeck
  20. Dracula by Bram Stoker*
  21. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain*
  22. Candide, or Optimism by Voltaire*
  23. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton*
  24. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde*
Update: Titles with asterisks are those I have read.

I've read quite a few classics but only half of these, so I've just added another 12 books to my owned-and-unread challenge.  I do own a few of these already, my other editions aren't nearly as nice!  I had originally thought I'd share some of these with friends, here in town and in the blogosphere, but these are so beautiful I don't know if I can part with any of them. They now have their own dedicated bookshelf.   

I'll start reading them soon and I'll be sure and post updates with my reviews.  Any suggestions where I should start?

And before I forget, thanks again to the generous folks at Penguin Classics, and congratulations to Jane at Reading, Writing, Working, Playing, the other winner of the sweepstakes!  Woo hoo! 


  1. I'm so happy for you! What an awesome gift to receive, and congratulations for your literary insight. ;)

  2. Lovely package - and I loved Ethan Frome. I hope you enjoy it.

  3. I'm going to have to come over soon and check them all out!!

  4. Oh my gosh that has got to be the best set of books I have ever seen! They look like fabulous editions and you really can't beat the titles.

    I posted about the Penguin Essential Classics Redux and remembered voting and entering for this. I am happy to see a blogger I know win the set! Congratulations.

  5. I was so thrilled to see that you were my co-winner! The books are gorgeous--old favorites, and tantalizing new ones I've been hankering after.

    Enjoy your books...I know I will be savoring mine.

  6. Oh wow, Karen, those are gorgeous! I have the Hans Christian Andersen one, which I very highly prize. What were your predictions?

  7. Congrats! It's a great set! I wish that I could remember which titles I voted for. I wonder how I fared.

  8. Congratulations! This is probably one the best ways to start off a new year of 2011! I would have never guessed myself, but at least a quarter of these I've read. Definitely begin with "The Picture of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde, it is absolutely life changing, at least it was to me.
    In my English AP class we have recently read Jane Eyre, and it was pretty interesting, but not my personal interest. Oscar Wilde has always been one of my favorite authors of all time. Hope you enjoy these, and congratulations once again.

  9. Wow - that is amazing! Having all those beautiful books and managing to win the competition! Well done!

  10. i want to read the Auste and Parke collections, the Pynchon and White Noise. I have Candide on my rReader for this year. Otherwise, I have read these.
    i's like a challenge set!
    Congatulations! Very thrilling. Book blogging does have its rewards.

  11. Well done - what a fab set!! I'm only just a little bit (or maybe quite a lot) jealous.

  12. CONGRATULATIONS!! What a fabulous prize... enjoy!

  13. Bellezza -- Thank you! It was such a wonderful surprise!

    Coffee and a Book Chick -- Wharton is one of my favorite authors. I loved Ethan Frome and I'm so excited to have this beautiful edition.

    Amanda -- yes, please come over and we can talk about books!

    Anbolyn -- thanks! So many new books to read now!

    Brenna -- it is a fantastic selection, and the covers are amazing. They also include the Penguin Couture Collection which are just beautiful.

    JaneGS -- I was so excited to see your name also! Congratulations!

    Carolyn -- I was really happy to get the Fairy Tales volume. Of course I know some of the most famous Andersen stories but I don't think I've ever actually read them. I'm hoping they'll be appropriate bedtime stories for the kids so they can share the book too.

    Kristen -- Thanks! It was a real thrill to be one of the winners.

    Elish -- I read Dorian Grey but it was quite a while ago, I think I'm due for a re-read.

    Verity -- I have no idea how I managed it.

    Care -- I've never read Auster but it looks good, and I'm really excited about Dorothy Parker. Pynchon scares me a little. And Candide is great. I also need to read Moby Dick, Steinbeck, The Jungle -- this will keep me busy for a while!

  14. I love the new list of essential classics, and I was so excited to see you were one of the winners! Congratulations!!

  15. Congratulations! I'm more than a little jealous, because there are so many books in that set that I want to read/own. I hope you enjoy reading your new books. :)

  16. Congrats! I saw that you had won on Penguin's website. Enjoy!

  17. Oh congrats! That is so exciting!

  18. What a great prize! Congratulations! Some of my favorite books are in that pile. I hope you enjoy all of them.

    Thanks for your interest in the Page to Screen Reading Challenge. To answer your question, any books you read and reviewed from January 1, 2011 onwards will count. I've just added a form for people to post reviews. I was going by month in January but it didn't make sense to do so when I'm not giving out monthly prizes. Feel free to link any reviews from this year that qualify for the challenge here:


  19. What a wonderful set of books - congratulations.

  20. Jenny -- Thanks! I love the new classics list too, so many of my favorites. And so cool that Jane also won, I follow her blog and I was so happy to see her name.

    Darlyn -- thanks! I owned a couple of these already but my editions aren't nearly so pretty. I can't wait to start reading them.

    Shelley -- it was so nice of them to link from the website, I didn't expect that at all.

    Allie -- It was a huge thrill. Thanks!

    Christina T -- thank you -- and some of them would qualify for the Page to Screen challenge. I think there's a recent adaptation of Moby Dick starring Patrick Stewart! I hope to incorporate some of them for the challenge.

    Fleurfisher -- thanks! I can't wait to start reading them.

  21. Yay for you! That is a wonderful prize to win :-) Congratulations!

  22. congratulation! Seems the best way to start off a new year!

  23. Congratulations! I've read the first of the New York Trilogy, and it is wonderful and strange. Enjoy!

  24. Congrats -- that is so awesome! Enjoy them all!

  25. Congratulations. Now I'm jealous! I've enjoyed reading Paul Auster in the past. Otherwise, I've read the same ones that you have.
    You're going to be busy!

  26. I've read a lot of these in my English classes over the years; I especially enjoyed Pride and Prejudice and Little Women :)

  27. Aarti -- thank you!

    Maiko -- thanks! It was an amazing surprise.

    Motheretc. -- I'm excited about The New York Trilogy, I think it's the most recently published of all the books. I was expecting all older classics so this is a nice surprise. I'm a little worried about Pynchon and DeLillo though. . .

    Meg -- I hope to get started on them soon. I've read half of them but some of them not for a long time, so it will be fun to re-read all the new editions.

    Katrina -- I haven't read anything by Paul Auster and I look forward to this trilogy.

    Kelli P. -- I actually only read THREE of these in school, believe it or not -- Candide in high school and Great Expectations and Jane Eyre in college (not an English major, and I went to a crap high school). I'm trying to make up for it now by reading lots of classics. I really want to read Moby-Dick but I'm so intimidated by the size of it!

  28. Wow! What a wonderful surprise. And, I don't think I'd part with any of them either :)

    Enjoy them.

  29. woo hoo! awesome beautiful and wonderful books. What contest was it you won?

  30. I have what may sound like a bit of a strange question about the Penguin Deluxe editions...I really want the Jane Eyre, Sense and Sensibility, Emma (penguin threads) and Little Women (penguin threads), but when I opened them in the store they had a really strong (at least to me) chemical smell. I don't know if it's from the adhesive or the ink, but I am sensitive to things like that. So I didn't buy them even though I really wanted to. So I am wondering, have you noticed that? And if so, do they ever air out? Thanks :)


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