What’s the point of beautiful books?

Beautiful books — IMHO — are more likely to be read. Which could well be a brill thing if the book is a good’un.

I’ve long appreciated the Penguin series, Clothbound Classics. The Snufferjog bought us Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray which was beautifully produced, and the footnotes added interest. That whetted the appetite.

A few years down the line, my Father-in-Law generously gave me a bit of dosh for Xmas, so I decided to treat myself to another.

But which one to buy!?

I’d noticed that this series were numbered, (our Dorian was number ten, por ejemplo). So I began my internet hunt for which book was number one in the series, a task you might think was very easy, but oh no. No reference on any Penguin affiliated website of any sort of enumeration.

Hope came in the form of Google Image Search which showed me a wealthy woman’s full collection. In numerical order. And the first in the series is… Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert.

 

“Didn’t do it in school so ‘aven’t ‘eard of it.”

Well, uninitiated. It’s French. That’s all you need to know.

I bought it and I read it. That’s an achievement. (This was an English translation, so not that much of an achievement).

One minor issue though, the edition I bought was not numbered, so there was no real reason to buy that particular book. Oh well.

But I’m hooked anyway. So what to buy next is the question?

Well, let’s stick with the French theme he says, buy a book written around the same period he says. And by the following Thursday Les Miserables is on my doormat.

Wow. 1,231 pages… ABRIDGED.

So that’s that phase over. Although I did see that next month, Augustine’s Confessions is being released in the series. A two birds one stone killing asking to be made if ever I saw one, I’m only studying ruddy theology. So that’s getting pre-ordered. Maybe.

9780141396897

One more thing. I feel I need to explain to the ethereal head-shrinker why I have a desire in the first place to buy the number one in a series of somethings.

It all began in Brent Cross Shopping Centre, Disney Store, 1994. I’ve got some Christmas money to spend (sounds familiar) and I’m keen to get me a VHS of Sing-Along-Songs, fronted by the inimitable Jiminy Cricket. The one I wanted to get was the one with Peter Pan on the front because I liked the one with Peter Pan on the front. But Dad jumps in.

“Heyheyheyheyheyhey, don’t be so rash there son. Think about it. What you’re gonna wanna do is get Volume One and work your way up to Peter Pan which is Volume Seven. Think about it.”

“But Volume One has Bagheera on the front and he’s got more tough love than my four year old brain can handle”

“You’re getting volume one.”

“Um… okay.”

$_57

And from that day forth, I was PROGRAMMED to seek-out the first in the series of stuff.

Right, I’m off back to my Hugo. Only 1,147 pages to go!

“I didn’t ask for your life story.” #4 – Foil

(BTW I know I haven’t blogged for at least a week which is never a good thing. I have been keeping myself busy with an interview or two, an 80th birthday party, a concert and other things.)

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Today I’m going to write shortly about foil. Why? Because I can.

  • Often, but not always, school packed lunch sandwiches were wrapped in foil. I always had ham and ketchup in my sarnies, if you’re interested. I liked it when they were wrapped in that beautiful thin sheet of aluminium, because that meant after eating I could fashion a sword/dagger out of it. I would pretend I was Robin Hood or Peter Pan or just a cool guy with a shiny knife.

  • Foil is also good when you’re bored, especially if you’ve got a Kit Kat handy. Firstly take off the bright red paper cover, then you are left with a foil covered block of chocolate. I would press down the foil on the top so you can see the imprint of where it says “Have a break / Have a Kit Kat”. Sometimes I would press my fingernail into the middle groove and rip the foil down the middle and snap at this point, but that wasn’t really my scene. I usually tried not to rip the foil as I slowly undressed my chocolate, then laid the foil out flat. Now obviously the joy of a Kit Kat is in the eating:
  1. Snap it in half.
  2. Bite the chocolate off each end.
  3. Now the hard & messy bit. Nibble off the chocolate from the sides and the top, until you are left with two bits of wafer.
  4. Go round everyone in your class shouting “Look! Look what I done!”

  • Running your fingernail across the foil, until it becomes all flat and creaseless, is also very satisfying.
  • I remember the 1998 Blue Peter ‘New Future Appeal’ for Schools in Mozambique. One had to collect all sorts of aluminium, cans and foil and stuff; that was cool.

Talking of Blue Peter appeals, I remember back in 1996 when they did the ‘LEPRA Leprosy: Brazil & India Appeal’, I had a Bring & Buy Sale in my garden. I felt really important.

Check out that totaliser!

I really liked Stuart Miles, he was cool.

  • Has anyone had that thing when you put some foil in your mouth (for some stupid reason) and if you have fillings (for some stupid reason) you get the strangest tingling sensation in your jaw. Very strange.
  • Foil was introduced to Chocolate Advent Calenders about halfway through my childhood, it used to be a thing only the expensive ones had, like an extra gimmick which meant you had to pay an extra quid for it. They all have it now.

That’s about all I got. This is quite interesting: