They're here! Talk about hitting the jackpot when it comes to really really really good book mail. My Penguin Little Black Classics arrived and they are little beauties. Books make me happy in general, but eighty lovely little classics make me almost euphoric. I have at my fingertips eighty bite-size little classics to read and enjoy and dip into and be tempted by. There is a little bit of everything here (you can see the whole [interactive] list here). There are novellas, short stories, books of poetry, excerpts from longer works, some nonfiction, and even a play or two. I think this set was released a few years ago as a celebration of Penguin's 80th Birthday (Happy Belated Birthday Penguin), and since there have been an additional 46 titles added to the collection (though I don't see a boxed set for those extra titles?).
I think my first 2017 reading resolution will be to read my way through these books. I don't imagine I can get them all read by the end of next year (though I can certainly try), but they are rather small and compact. I don't think there are any that are more than about sixty pages or so, so easily read in a day or so each. I think I will be well read when I finish this and will finally get a taste of some authors who I have long wanted to read but who have intimidated me in the past--like Ovid or Virgil or Herodotus. I can get a taste and teaser and see if maybe I want to read a full length work.
Should I read my way through starting with book one and just read each one consecutively by number? I don't think there is a special order to the set (at least I am not sure how Penguin ordered the books, though they do have numbers on their spines) since there is a Plato that comes before Tolstoy. However, to just jump right in, I have pulled out book No. 1 and am reading Mrs. Rosie and the Priest which is an excerpt from Boccacio's Decameron. The book description reads: "Bawdy tales of pimps, cuckolds, lovers and clever women from the fourteenth-century Florentine masterpiece The Decameron." There are four tales by Boccaccio in this book and I am reading the first right now, "Andreuccio da Perugia's Neapolitan Adventures" in which a young man is soon to be parted from his money by a very pretty Sicilian! I think after this first little book I will just choose randomly and see where each story takes me.
If I was fretting about not reading so many classics in the last few years, this should help solve the problem nicely. Even if they are quite short, I think they will lead me to longer works. 'Tis the season it seems, for bookish splurges. I will have to share the books I am contemplating buying at my library's book sale (I have a stack for consideration on my desk at work, but they are so inexpensive, and the proceeds go to a good cause--the Friends of the Library--I feel like I must do my duty and buy a book or three).
Did I already mention that books make me really happy?