Collect All 1,082!

Title: “The Penguin Classics Library Complete Collection”

Authors: All of them

Rank: 3,251,794

Price: $13,413.30

Blurb: “Please note: Cup of Gold by John Steinbeck is no longer available. This title has been replaced in the collection by a new edition of The Portable Edgar Allen Poe.”

Review: “They arrived in 25 boxes shrink-wrapped on a wooden pallet, over 750 lbs. of books. It took about twelve hours to unpack them, check them off the packing list (one for each box), and then check them off the list we downloaded from They take up about 77 linear feet.”

Customers Also Viewed: “Harry Potter Paperback Box Set”

Footnote: Let’s see, at a 6% kickback, that comes to…

The Penguin Classics Library Complete Collection [Amazon]

Buy or Die [Stinque@Amazon kickback link]


Special Shipping Information: This item is not eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping.


That’s quite the bargain. Less than one would pay for the complete OED which I have lusted after for years. One of the lesser known titles published by Penguin Classics is The Manuscript Found at Sargossa which is a fairly astonishing novel prefiguring newer methods of story telling. I suspect it was an influence on Kundera. But they publish all kinds of good stuff.

And on this subject, for those of you who like to watch well-dressed Limeys poncing about in stately houses, Downton Abbey is worth a look-see. You need to give it some time to get involved but it seems to be developing into a murder mystery cum soap. Fun. By the same author responsible for Gosford Park which I did not like much, this longer form suits the story better. We’re all very worried about Lady Mary’s reputation.

@Benedick: Well, Lady Mary did put her virtue at risk at the hands, so to speak, of that oleaginous Turk. And all of London apparently knows it.

On another topic, may the record show that I just beat Baked and Lefty at Scrabble. For this rare event, drinks are on me!

@Dodgerblue: Lady Mary is a headstrong gal and it is not going to end well. I fear her actions will bring shame upon the family. Though I suspect we will learn something of great grand-mama’s youth in the process. There’s more in her closet than hats, as it were. Of course we all know whom it seems Lady Mary must marry in the end but the war is on its way and will all the men be killed or only the unattractive ones? Will she end up nursing Tommies invalided out? And what will become of the Abbey? Is a military hospital in its future? And will Thomas move to Chelsea and find true love in the arms of Basil Dasher, Bart.? I fear His Lordship will live to see the entail smashed not by some mere lawyer but by history itself. In the meantime I wish I didn’t have such an overpowering desire to bomb the fucking house and kick everybody in the nuts.

As to the Turk. Yowza.

It all keeps making me think of this superb series I’ve posted of before.

@Serolf Divad: I also laughed at “2 new from $13,000” link.

On a related note, GO BEARS!!!!!!!!!!!

My dad bought “The Great Books of the Western World” when I was 15.

It cost about $2K back then.

I think I’m the only one in the family who’s actually read any of them. I was disappointed that there wasn’t much fiction (hoping for HG Wells, Jules Verne, Mary Shelley, etc.)

Read Plato, Aristotle, Freud, The Federalist Papers (holy shit what a fucking snore), Shakespeare, Machiavelli, Dante, Jung, Darwin, “Moby Dick” Melville. and Copernicus. That’s not even a quarter of them. They are nice books, but damn were they tough reads.

There are these great things called “public libraries” that allow you to read these books for a whole lot less money. That way you don’t have to actually buy them yourself as well as dedicate a space for keeping them. You don’t even have to dust them. It’s all pure socialism, I know, but what the hell.

Of course now Project Gutenberg provides an even better deal.

@homfascist: Bears look like crap early. GB 14:0 CHI.

I like this:

I bought The Penguin Classics Library collection late last year and was as excited as a schoolboy when the pallet arrived at my doorstep. You can imagine my disappointment therefore when, after I had laid the books end to end, the length of all the titles combined nary reached 51 miles, and I found out I had ended up in a rather poor neighborhood with many, many ugly (and I assume illiterate) people. Also, when I attempted to repack to books and return the item to Amazon, I found most of them had been stolen along the route, and a dog had defecated on Tale of Two Cities near the McDonalds near Arrigo Park.

And this:

To sum up, this collection is for rich idiots who desire the appearance of being well-read to their rich idiot friends when they come over for a visit. Anyone who is serious about reading the classics and has any taste can build a far more complete and relevant collection on their own for far cheaper (or for free if you don’t mind reading from a computer screen).

And this:

Does the collection really need two different copies of the Oresteia, the Epic of Gilgamesh, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, The Song of Roland, Capital, The Divine Comedy (2 copies each of all 3 volumes), Medea, Siddhartha, Faust, The Odyssey, Swann’s Way The Way We Live Now, Troilus and Criseyde, and Twenty Loves Poems and a Song of Despair? Not to mention three copies of the Aeneid and Beowulf and four of the Illiad.

For the most part these are variations of translation, but their also two copies each of Oroonoko and Don Juan, which were written in English. The worst offender is Shakespeare, where the collection includes the complete works as a volume, two editions of the sonnets, four omnibus volumes, plus 39 individual plays, which means you get four copies each of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It, King Lear, and the sonnets, plus two or three copies each of thirty some-odd other plays.

It seems if they could have limited themselves to only 1 translation or 1 copy of each work, there are 50 more works that could be included. Besides, if you take out the duplicates, my reading of 4% of the list jumps to 5%.

Oh, yeah. And this:

Do not buy this collection, it would be a monumental waste of money. Penguin has serious problems with binding quality. First off, the books are printed on acid-pulp. The stuff is of such low quality that if you get three years use out of a book you should count yourself lucky. I have a three-year-old Penguin copy of _Moby Dick_ that is just about unreadable. If you consider that it will probably take you 25 years to get through this collection, you might as well just be flushing away your money. Second, the spine binding is nothing but glue–and low quality glue at that. After the paper gives way in 5 years, the glue is not far behind. Finally, a great many of these books (perhaps all) are in the public domain and should cost substantially less than Penguin is charging, especially for such cheaply made books.

Okay, I’m loving the e*trade baby right now.

congrats dodge! that was a very tight exciting game too.well played, sir!
but i must confess, there was a point at the very end of the game where you had been trailing and i was point for point with Lefty and didn’t see you had jumped ahead. i thought i was just battling her for a half an hour before i saw your score. the battle was for place and Lefty and i were still point for point with 2 tiles left! it was exciting! i am such a nerd!

as a dedicated book hoarder collector, all i have to say about this books-on-a-pallet concept is.. ewww.

@SanFranLefty: @Dodgerblue:
our game has been going on for over 2 years with only short travel delays. i start my day with scrabble and coffee–everyday.
thanks you two for all the pleasure i’ve had playing with you.
dodger…rack ’em!

@JNOV: I have P Classics I took with me when I fled the draft 2 hours ahead of the Fed returned to the land of my birth and then brought back here and have them on my shelves still.

I loved the idea of the series and collected them. I also loved P Modern Classics (A High Wind in Jamaica, people! Larkrise to Candleford!) But I mostly adored and hunted down the Virago imprint when they were being put out. Neglected books by women, mostly English, some American. I would drive 30 miles to a bookstore I knew to get the latest. Then Penguin bought them out and it all stopped. But some magnificent books.

And the P Classics publish books you cannot get anywhere else. Fuck reading Ovid off a puter screen. They set a standard we could aspire to. You have to understand the context: Penguin launched after the war in a devastated country, gradually edging up what they put out, moving from Ngaio Marsh to Somerset Maugham to Angus Wilson. They brought the country along with them. Books you could buy and read under the sheets after you were supposed to be asleep. And then the wonder of Conrad and Trollope and Elliot and the Mabinogion and Chaucer and the world. Let’s not mock this mighty publishing endeavour. They put the lam in Sham-a-lam-a-ding-dong.

Oh. And srsly. The Manuscript Found at Sargossa by Jan Potok. Polack. Only thing he wrote in his life. Like Laclos and Les Liasons Dangereuses, the most fab story ever told. Thunderingly wonderful and strange. When you start to comprehend the pattern of the book you will run outside in the spring rain and throw sunflower seed to the birds. You will find a fountain in which to romp. You will become happy. And you will not find it anywhere else. Your library does not stock it.

@Benedick: I checked and my library doesn’t have The Manuscript Found at Sargossa. No library in the entire system has it. I cannot even buy a hardcover copy to donate, because they cost $163.

It is available in paperback, so that will have to do.

I’m really surprised I never heard of it before . It sounds wonderful.

@Benedick: I just bought The Manuscript Found In Saragossa from and downloaded it to my iPad, all in about 3 minutes. I have to go from DC to Newark and back by train tomorrow, which should give me some time to dig into it.

@baked: They be racked. Hit me with your best shot.

@karen marie has her eyes tight shut: We should start the Benedick book, movie and theater club. Imagine the money we can make off of his talents.

@Dodgerblue: Newark? Good lord, I’m sorry, nobody deserves that unless you’re going to EWR to fly away.
@baked: I figure between our neverending Scrabble games and the Sudoko I do on the way to work, I’ll stave off the Alzheimer’s for a while… xoxo
@Benedick: Woot! Two copies of The Manuscript Found In Saragossa in the San Francisco Public Library System. I have some Penguins, I like them. Can find them for a couple bucks each at Half Price Books.

@SanFranLefty: Gah! One copy is missing, the other is due in a month. /Off to give Nojo a kickback…

@nojo: Christmas kickbacks? How long does it take for the referral $$ to make it to the Stinque accounts?

@nojo and Dodgerblue: Or Dodger is testing out the iPad and going nuts downloading books?

I bought a couple other used books while I was there, so you’ll be getting 6% of 15 bucks courtesy of me.

@Dodgerblue: I don’t remember precisely, but there’s some lag. 45 days?

ADD: Ah. 60 days.

@karen marie has her eyes tight shut:

This article is about the 1903 adventure novel. For the 1984 Jimmy Buffett album, see Riddles in the Sand.

Wikipedia at its finest.

@karen marie has her eyes tight shut: Oh good Lord, yes. In between spankings from prefects. It was also filmed with Michael York.

You all make me blush. The Potok novel is an entirely fantastical construction. A dream book of interlocking stories that only reveal their pattern as one reads into it.

@Benedick: We have it in Philly but not in Delco. Better see how much I owe the library…

@karen marie has her eyes tight shut: Yes, not too long ago I found a copy of Riddle of the Sands at our local library’s book sale. I love it!

@Benedick: Your link to “this superb series I’ve posted of before” took me to Netflix’s log-in page. Do tell, what series did you mean? And thanks for the Potok tip, I’ll go looking for it.

also to Benedick: Yes to Downton Abbey also, and such as, too. You’ve had some cruel words lately for Masterpiece and PBS’s British offerings, but I really miss the halcyon days of the late 80’s and early 90’s (before the conservative ignoramuses began trying to destroy PBS) when there was Mystery every Thursday evening and Masterpiece every Sunday evening (with repeats of each at times other than the middle of the night) and A&E also had many PBS-like offerings of British murder mysteries and was competing with PBS for things like the Colin Firth rendition of Mr. Darcy. I was living in Boston when WGBH began showing Masterpiece all those years ago, and I haven’t missed many of its offerings since then. (The Forsyte Saga, The Pallisers, Brideshead Revisited, etc., etc.) Nowadays the pickings on PBS are comparatively slim, A&E (whose name used not to be a misnomer) has apparently been taken over by isolationist thugs, and I’d be pretty disconsolate about television generally if I hadn’t recently developed an addiction to reruns of NCIS on USA.

@lynnlightfoot: Lynn, dear, that serialized stuff represents the kind of acting that drove me from the sceptered aisle. (joke, OK?) But they did do it very well. And still do. I’m not a fan of murder mysteries. The reveal is almost inevitably a disappointment and I can’t stand the class snobbery that seems to be built into the genre – though having written that I do acknowledge that great strides have been made. I will watch anything with Michael Kitchen. I will even watch Miss Marple if it means seeing the great Joan Hickson or Gerry McKewen. Those series are not being made in the UK any more and everyone over there complains about the lack of work. But they still can mount those period extravaganzas with great flair though the wigs in Downton seem to have gotten a bit out of hand. Fun fact: Why the cozzies are so good. To make them look right the designers have to fabricate – what are those things called you build clothes on? tailors’ forms? – anyhow, them. Because with modern men’s forms the shoulders are too wide and the cut won’t look right. We were watching Young Victoria the other day (good first 45 mins then off the cliff) which sports some amazing clothes, in particular the men’s. Cheers to Sandy Powell (not to be confused with the great and revered Anthony Powell). What about those corsets! Very hard to make them fit properly these days. Anyhow, those damn Brits have all that stuff in storage and just yank it all out. Isn’t Penny Wilton lovely in Downton? A superb actress with great poise and wit. I remember her from C. Hampton’s The Philanthropist.

Best Great Classic Book Televisisual Feasts I’ve Seen? The Mill on the Floss. Wasn’t shown much but was sensational. And also the wondrous (you all might have noticed by now I have a habit of somewhat overemphasizing opinions) Bleak House. And Little Dorrit weren’t half bad either.

The series I mentioned is Manor House. One of those reality shows in which they recreate the life of a past house. This one is bliss (see above parenthetical note). And it moves from a jolly romp into a very surprising revelation of how class functions in British society. It’s also fascinating about the role of women and what kind of knickers milady has on. It’s also enormously entertaining. Particularly the mad French chef sending baked pig head to table. It’s on DVD. I have it. So does Netflix.

@Benedick: Which Bleak House did you like? The recentish one with Scully?

@JNOV: Yes. She looks wonderful and comes wrapped as a mystery inside an enigma – which is great for the part. And somehow they manage to wrangle that extraordinary labyrinth of a plot into some pretty great TV.

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