I love reading. And I love a nicely-made book. The actual physical book itself - a high quality cloth binding, nice creamy paper, crispy beautifully shaped fonts - a well-made book is an experience in the physical world which richly complements the abstraction of the written word.
Just this past week I was looking for a copy of Great Expectations to replace our old paperback Signet classic which has sadly deteriorated over the years and finally vanished down the wormhole. On Amazon I found this copy of Great Expectations, in hard cover.
Published by Penguin Classics, it seemed like just the thing. An interesting cover design, cloth-bound, good paper, and some nice quality touches about it like the built-in bookmark thingie. The price was reasonable as well. It appears that Penguin is republishing some classics in this new hardcover format, there are several other books under the imprint which have been released over the past year or two, with others due out this year.
This edition was published in 2008. Based on the copyright information it appears this copy may have replaced an earlier edition. These books remind me of the Modern Library series, nice books that feel good in the hand, built to last (although not quite as nice as the Library of America series). This will undoubtedly be the last copy of Great Expectations I will buy. It will be good to re-read it in the future.
To meet the $25 free shipping minimum I also bought a copy of Jane Eyre. It has an attractive cover and is a part of the same series, it was also published in 2008 and printed in the UK. There is something nice about having a English book published in England, even if it is a far cry from the England of 1846.
A quick Google of Penguin Classics turns up some interesting posts here and here. And here too. The entire collection can be browsed on Amazon, where they can be bought at a fair price.
I would like to borrow these words to express my excitement in finding this series of books:
"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!
He chortled in his joy."
Substitute cheap paperback for Jabberwock and you get the drift.