Or: That year my TBR took a serious turn for the worse.
Recently I finished the last of the aforementioned 127 books, which were all part of Penguin’s Little Black Classics. Small bites of Classics, to try them out and discover new authors. Or that was what I thought. In a couple of posts I will be looking back at the multi-year reading project, sharing with you the ups and downs and also some recommendations. Today: Part 1 – Before one can read the entire collection, one needs to get the books. As you will see, this was a project on itself.
Let’s start at the beginning.
It was spring 2015. In my local book store I found a couple of small books from Penguin Classics, introductions to classics I had been meaning to read. They were part of Penguin’s 80th anniversary celebration and irresistibly cute. I brought home some, then next time some more, and before I really knew what I was doing, I had collected enough that it would be silly not to continue and collect them all – they are not unlike Pokemon in that way.
“Gotta collect them all”Url Phantomhive (2015)
And so started Part 1 of the Little Black Classics (LBC) Project which was to collect them all. It was too late to get the box set (I already owned some 15 of them) but the local book stores, in some kind of wisdom that probably made perfect sense to them, only sold some of the books in the collection. Besides, I like to collect my series from multiple bookstores and think back on where I bought each book (no two books from A Song of Ice and Fire have come from the same book store – and with the speed these books have been progressing I suspect all book stores will be out of business before I can buy the next one).
Fast forward a couple of months, I had already collected books in The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany and I was still missing a substantial number of the eighty books but I was running out of options to get them (ordering online did feel like cheating). Luckily I had a trip planned to London that summer so I dragged my friend – who has resigned to the fact that holidays with me will contain a disproportional number of book stores – from Foyles and Daunt’s, to Waterstones and The River Side book store to that place in Kensington I have no clue what it was called. And I completed my set during that trip (I had a grocery list of which books I still needed – hardly the most surprising utensil I have brought to the book store (more of that at a later point). Them being so small, they all fit nicely in my suitcase – without the need to leave clothes behind!
“No, nothing to declare, just some fifty-odd books in my suitcase.”Url Phantomhive (2015)
on bringing home over 50 books from a single London Book Haul
I really thought I was settled at that point, looking at my eighty Little Black Classics, but publishing can be a cruel thing. Next spring, I find myself once more in a book store and walk past the LBC shelf, only to find one that looks unfamiliar. I take a look at the number, and it is way past 80. Some internet search learns me another 46 have been released (to commemorate the start of the Penguin Classics imprint). Needless to say, I had to have them. Same strategy as before. I got some at home, and on a later London trip, I completed the haul.
For someone supposedly trying to curb Mt.TBR, I was doing a pretty bad job, considering I had just added 126 books that I had to find time to read. Also, I bought an extra book case to shelf them (since they are so small, I went with an IKEA Benno – the ones they used to make for CDs – fits perfectly).
They have since actually released one more LBC (#127) – the Constitution of the United States. Of course, that one has also found its way to my shelves. And more recently (around 2018) there was also a collection of Little Mint Classics (which covers the modern classics) which I could not resist either but these will be the topic of another project.
Bonus: Tips on unsuspiciously bringing 127 books into your home
From an experienced bookaholic
- First off, this is certainly possibly, but you will have to commit. It might not be easy.
- Collecting 127 books from the same collection certainly helps. The more uniform the covers, the better. This will possibly require denying that this was in fact a different book from the one you were holding earlier; and you might have to suggest they are seeing double at a certain moment.
- Hide in plain sight. I got a book case solely for the purpose, and it works. I haven’t been asked about that aspect of my book buying.
- Play the sympathy card – you are saving these books from a cold and cruel existence in the bookstore/orphanage.
- If nothing works , try bribing your friends into randomly gifting you books.
- If everything fails – deny they are yours. ‘Oh, this book? No, it was just lying around, I thought it was yours’.
So far for today. Check back next week when we will be moving onto the actual books. Have you read some/all Little Black Classics? Or have you ever set out on a large reading project? Let me know in the comments!