In celebration of Penguin’s 80th birthday, the publishing house has released 80 little black books; each one by a different author, but all miniature masterpieces in their own right.
As part of the 24in48 Readathon, I decided to read the Penguin Little Black Classics I’d bought a while ago. Unfortunately I only own four of them at the moment, but I hope to own all of them soonish.
As the books are so small, I thought small reviews of them would be appropriate. So here they are; four little reviews of four little books.
This is a collection of four short stories about the dangers that women present to men. However I think the stories say more about the men than they do about the women. They were pretty funny actually; I especially liked the last one, ‘Laid to Rest’.
FAVE QUOTE: “The other reason I like cemeteries is because they’re like cities in themselves, densely populated at that.” (From ‘Laid to Rest’)
This is a literally Goethe’s random ‘jottings’ on a variety of topics. It’s the first of Goethe’s work I’ve read, and I really enjoyed it. Some (if not all) of his thoughts are still relevant today, and I got the impression that if he were alive today he would not be impressed with society.
FAVE QUOTE: (So hard to pick just one) “If one had to study all laws, one would have no time at all to transgress them.”
I wasn’t that big a fan of this one. I didn’t hate it by any means, but I found it a little bit hard to follow and quite ranty; but I think that was sort of the point. I will say that it was written well enough for me to dislike the two main characters – the Man and his Wife.
FAVE QUOTE: (I like this one as it made me laugh) “Come now, sirs: I knew that a woman, especially one who was sixteen years old, couldn’t help but submit completely to a man. Women have no originality, that’s – that’s an axiom, even now it’s an axiom for me!”
This was my absolute favourite of the four. Wilde’s tale of a man who commits a crime because he is told by a fortune teller that he will commit one in the future, when prior to that he had no thoughts of committing a crime (did you get all that?), illustrates perfectly the quite often ridiculous thinking of the human brain. Incredibly witty and funny, I wish it had been longer than fifty pages.
FAVE QUOTE: “His excellent common sense, however, soon asserted itself, and his sound, practical mind did not leave him long in doubt about what to do. Poison having proved a complete failure, dynamite, or some other form of explosive, was obviously the proper thing to try.”