Friday, 14 August 2009

The Silver Shelf



Previous posts have shown you some of my colour-themed shelves, which are a mix of titles all with their cover cover in common. My silver shelf is slightly different (and less exciting, I think) in its being devoted to one imprint, Penguin, and their silver modern classics. As a book lover I am a huge admirer of Penguin's designs through the ages (I covet this book and also this one) and have orange, mint, silver, and now white Penguins gracing my shelves. However, as you may know I also like to have matching sets of books so I treat my Penguins by colour and the silver ones live together on the shelf above. Where on this shelf I have incomplete collections of author's works (as in the case of Anaïs Nin, Jean Rhys, and Vladimir Nabokov) I will try to track down a copy of the silver edition rather than the new white, to maintain their uniformity. Saying that, the remainder of my Virginia Woolf collection (I have all but one of her books) are in various editions and it hasn't killed me... When it came to novels that I required for University -like Woolf and Joyce- then I often went for the cheaper or more readily available edition rather than striving for a matching set, which explains why they differ.

The first twelve titles on the left are actually in a box: the Penguin banned books collection (limited edition) and provided me with a few duplicates at the time but now I only have Lolita and The Annotated Lolita; I won't give up my annotated edition as it's an incredibly good resource and I can't disturb the box-set.

I guiltily notice that there are quite a number of the books photographed that are unread, a shockingly high amount, but they are ones that I look forward to reading some day and that I want as part of my book collection.

I have potential Penguin-centric posts for a future date, including special attention to their cover art, but in the meantime read this fun, Penguin related post from Verity of The B Files, which originated in a suggestion I made.

There you have it: another insight into the bookshelves of Paperback Reader and her many book collecting neuroses.

33 comments:

verity said...

Ooh, lovely. Maybe I could get some silver icing for my Penguin biscuits :) - thanks for the link.
You do have a lot of that design; I don't think I have ANY silver Penguins at all. Have you read any of the Jean Rhys? I am a big fan of hers, especially the semi-autobiographical novels (of which you have two), and am looking forward to reading her autobiography, Smile please. I own them all in orange Penguins...

Paperback Reader said...

You could also decorate with those little silver balls, apropos of nothing but my like for them!

I do have a lot...

I have only read Wide Sargasso Sea, which I love, and am perpetually telling myself to sit down with the others as I desperately want to read them

I love the orange Penguins; I used to be solely about new books but have a relatively new-found appreciation for retro-cool.

The most recent acquisition is the Nancy Mitford, which I had been coveting and found in my local secondhand bookshop for £3 :).

savidgereads said...

Another fabulous insight, I am now left wondering what all your shelves look like together. You should chat with Polly at next book group or online about Anais Nin she is a huge fan and has bought me a few copies of her works which I haven't dared to try yet.

Paperback Reader said...

Simon, they're not all colour-themed so they look relatively normal together although the shape of them (they go around a corner) is quite impressive; I never tire of looking at them! I will post a photograph of the whole ensemble at some point.

I must discuss Nin with Polly; we seem to have a lot of favourite authors in common.

Rachel said...

I've often thought about shelving my books by colour but I like to collect old hardbacks rather than new books so I don't really have any matching 'sets' apart from Persephones, Viragos and a few old orange Penguins. I would also find it a bit frustrating to have books by the same author all over the shop in my bookcase I think!

I'd love to see a photo of your entire collection, I bet it looks gorgeous.

I also love Elmer above your books. That little patchwork elephant has a special place in my heart!

Paperback Reader said...

Rachel, because of my love of matching sets I don't many works by the same author separated (except for Virginia Woolf, which frankly baffles me and my green and newer Viragoes). If I were to colour-theme all of my books then it would become an issue, so I won't for that reason.

I love Elmer and this one is particularly special because I bought it in a children's shop in the Louvre (along with a bookmark of The Little Prince that I love) whilst in Paris a number of years ago.

Darlene said...

My OCD heart loves you!

Paperback Reader said...

Hee, it manifests itself in weird and wonderful ways and isn't always consistent!

Carl V. said...

No reason to feel guilty, you're in good company. Any time I've photographed my bookshelves the number of unread books vs. read ones is very disproportionate. Someday....

I don't think the silver shelf is boring at all. That kind of uniformity makes for a really cool design in my opinion. I have a handful of Penguin paperbacks with black spines and Modern Library Classics with bronze-ish spines and I love having them all grouped together, it looks really nice on the shelf.

I'm not surprised to find that I've only read two of the books you have pictured, Go Tell it on the Mountain and Of Mice and Men.

Paperback Reader said...

Carl, glad to know that I'm not alone! Someday, indeed.

I like its uniformity too and it's similar to another shelf still to come...

I haven't read Go Tell it on the Mountain yet but have read Of Mice and Men, albeit many years ago and not the edition photographed. In fact, that entire boxset of twelve, although some titles have previously been read none of those books have been and are in perfect condition.

Thomas said...

I have the Penguin By Design book which I very much enjoyed, but I found myself wanting more information--and more pictures even though it has lots of photos in it already. The binding isn't very good on the book and it is kind of coming apart. I have never seen the other one that you covet. Now I covet that one too.

Paperback Reader said...

Thomas, I'm glad I have company in my love for Penguin design! I think the 700 Penguins book may sate me so that'll probably be the one I go for at some point. I find myself recently becoming more and more interested in book cover design; blogging has opened me up to really examining my love for books in all their forms.

Rachel said...

Just noticed something - why are the two Russian novels (Nabokov and Bulgakov) 'Modern' classics on the spine and the others 'Penguin' classics? Interesting!

Paperback Reader said...

Rachel, well observed! It's not just those two but the Orwell and Achebe too. That completely escaped my notice.

claire said...

Claire.. that isn't less exciting at all! It's very very cool. I love the silver Penguins, too, but unfortunately those were not available where I came from, so I just had cover envy. Now that I'm in the West, I chance upon them only once in a while as they're replaced by the white ones. I only have one silver (Women in Love). I might have to just collect the whites then. I'm planning to get all the Woolfs in the white.

YOu could put your Persephones beside these!!

Bloomsbury Bell said...

I love your silver shelf! Wide Sargasso Sea is such a brilliant book as is The Great Gatsby. You are inspiring me to colour theme my books - your shelves must look very pretty!

anothercookiecrumbles said...

That is gorgeous! Most of my Penguins are white, but I do have Lolita in silver.

I haven't actually read any Virginia Woolf, and that's something I want to change in the near future.

Look forward to seeing your entire book collection in one go. Do you have it sorted in the colors of the rainbow or something? I can imagine that - I'd quite like that, albeit that would mean no place for the black books! Or, white. And I love black books with a matte finish.

Jodie said...

Look it's Elmer! And once again he's the only thing that isn't elephant coloured :)

farmlanebooks said...

That is an impressive number of silver penguins! I think I only have about 3 of them!

Book Psmith said...

This is my first time seeing a silver Penguin. Very pleasing. You have the perfect combination going...you aim for uniformity yet are flexible:) Don't feel guilty...it is nice to know they are there waiting for you.

Paperback Reader said...

Claire, the whites would be easier to collect and they are soooo lovely - if I didn't have so many silvers I would replace them all with white! As it is I have one, I think.

The Persephones are a few shelves along and one down! I thought putting them together would make it too dull.

Bloomsbury Bell, I love Wide Sargasso Sea. Not all my shelves are colour-coded but overall they are pretty :).

anothercookie, I love Virginia Woolf (I've read more than half of her work but still have novels to look forward to).

Not all my books are themed by colour so together the bookcases look like a normal personal library.

Jodie, I love that! I'd never thought of him sitting there that way.

Jackie, these aren't all of the silver ones I have! I went through a silver Penguin phase!

BookPSmith, Penguins in general are lovely but I like the classic look of the silver and some of them have such great artwork and photographs.
It's exciting to know that I have such great books awaiting me my problem is that I am so impatient and yet also easily distracted by other pretty books!

claire said...

Claire, the whites are really gorgeous indeed. I'm trying to do the same as you and collect the same set for every author, ha ha. My first goal is Woolf, then probably Fitzgerald.

Karen said...

Claire this shelf looks gorgeous and neat (two of my favourite things!). Your book shelf posts have inspired me to get my shelves in order as soon as we get back from our overseas trip. I am thinking more shelves might need to be bought...

Green Road said...

That is sooo lovely. I love Penguin spines anyway, but I've never stacked them together like that. It looks amazing, it really does. It makes me want to go out and buy a couple. Or a couple dozen

(drool)

Paperback Reader said...

Claire, I remember seeing the white Woolfs on your blog; they are gorgeous. I'm not much of a Fitzgerald fan but do have another silver or perhaps two with his name on them at home in Glasgow.

Karen, I'm not the neatest of people and sometimes the books tend to sprawl in piles elsewhere but I do like neat shelves! I also need to purchase some more... I hope to see your photos once you have reorganised yours.

Swati, thank you! I would like some more at some point too... so don't go buying them all!

kimbofo said...

I love your silver shelf!!

Do you remember the pale green penguin classics? I went through a phase of collecting those, and then, via various house moves etc, they got sold off or donated to charity shops and I've not bothered collecting them again.

I have a few silver penguins, but have only starting collecting the new white modern classic editions. They look lovely all together on my dark-wood bookshelf.

Paperback Reader said...

Thanks, Kim!

I have a few of the pale green Penguins but not many as they were being phased out as I began buying more and more books as a student.

The white ones are lovely and would look fabulous against dark wood!

Something's Dishy said...

Lovely photos! What a great idea! I must try to do the same thing with my books.

Paperback Reader said...

Thank you, Astrid! The more I post about the colour-themed shelves I do have the more I am inspired to make more!

Mark David said...

this looks pretty sleek! and they're all from penguin? :)

Paperback Reader said...

Yup, all Penguin :).

gnoegnoe said...

Heehee, I can only think of one silver Penguin Classic I have! I just read it: In Cold Blood (Truman Capote).

Brideshead Revisited (Evelyn Waugh) is white. Now why am I not at home so I can look at my book shelves???

Paperback Reader said...

gnoegnoe, both of my copies of In Cold Blood and Brideshead Revisited are Penguins but they are the smaller (almost pocket-size) ones from the turn of the century (this century!) with the funky covers.