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95. Penguins & Puffins…

95. Penguins & Puffins…

One of my proudest moments in life was when a friend asked me what she could do to get her baby to read as much as me. From what I have experienced, and have read on the topic, the only answer I could give was: read to him growing up, and hopefully he will stay interested and start reading on his own. If this was true for me, it was down to two things: my parents reading to me and buying me books, and Puffin Books.

For those of you who don’t know, Puffin is the children’s branch of Penguin Books, founded in 1940 and still going strong. Probably the strongest memory I have of junior school, (ages 8-11), was the day when, once a term, the Puffin Book Club magazine would arrive. This was a catalogue of the best of books for kids, and students (at least, those who loved reading), would take it home, peruse it, and pester their parents into writing them out a cheque or money order, (for any readers under the age of about 30, click here for details).

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Puffin Club badge and certificate photo, courtesy of Thin Puffin

This was the second most exciting day of the term, but it didn’t even come close to the day, maybe a month later, (actually, it could have been three days, I don’t think my temporal perception was so hot when I was an eight-year-old), when the often grey-haired teacher would struggle into the classroom under several shrink-wrapped bundles of those Puffin-logo’d books from a range of genres and authors, the only one of whom I remember clearly being the ubiquitous and incredible Roald Dahl.

(Heartbreakingly, I learned in my research for this blog entry that the Puffin Book Club recently closed down. Sniff).

I grew up knowing that I was going to enjoy pretty much anything printed by Puffin, and it proved to be genius advertising and branding, since as an ‘adult’ I smoothly transferred my loyalty to the slightly more grown up sibling bird, Penguin. I recently bought and devoured two gorgeous, illustrated histories of the two companies, ‘Penguin By Design: a cover story 1935-2005′ and ‘Puffin By Design: 70 years of imagination 1940-2010,’ both by Phil Baines, and learned an awful lot about design and imagination.

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From Penguin’s innovative use of colour-coordination on covers to inform the reader of the genre contained therein, to the evolution of the instantly recognisable Penguin and Puffin logos over the years, I was most excited to get to my era and recognise so many of the books which constituted my most formative years.

There were also sections on the different offshoots and box sets which, as a completist collector, I have become so addicted to. My favourite is the recent Penguin Great Ideas series, which has grown to feature 100 beautifully designed ‘best of’ works from some of the greatest and most influential authors of all time, and which I hope to eventually own all of. Those of you who have been with me since the start of this blog may remember my excitement at finding the first box set of twenty books way back in entry 12, and the photos I took of them.

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If you were to create a personal ‘Brand Awareness’ survey just for me, my number one wouldn’t be Coca-Cola, McDonald’s or Marlboro, (none of which I partake in), but the book logos which surround me. No prizes for guessing which the most prevalent would be.

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Posted by on December 24, 2013 in BOOKS

 

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82. Books Bought & Read, August 2013…

82. Books Bought & Read, August 2013…

Books Bought, August 2013

Bambi vs Godzilla,’ David Mamet

Just My Type,’ Simon Garfield

Created In Darkness By Troubled Americans: the best of mcsweeney’s humor category,’ ed.Dave Eggers

The Areas Of My Expertise,’ John Hodgman

The Mind: leading scientists explore the brain, memory, personality, and happiness,’ ed.John Brockman

The Little Black Book Of Books: a century of the greatest books, writers, characters, passages and events that rocked the literary world,’ ed.Lucy Daniels

Minipops: famous people drawn really small,’ Craig Robinson

50 Economics Ideas You Really Need To Know,’ Edmund Conway

In His Own Write,’ John Lennon

Penguin By Design: A Cover Story 1935-2005,’ Phil Baines

Puffin By Design: 70 years of imagination, 1940-2010,’ Phil Baines

A Death In Brazil: a book of omissions,’ Peter Robb

Northern Lights,’ Philip Pullman

This Is Not The End Of The Book: two great men discuss our digital future,’ Umberto Eco & Jean-Paul Carrière

The Essential Daivd Shrigley,’ David Shrigley

The Butcher Boy,’ Patrick McCabe

Quiet,’ Susan Cain

Those Feet: a sensual history of english football,’ David Winner

Hellraisers: the life and inebriated times of Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O’Toole and Oliver Reed,’ Robert Sellers

Grimm Tales For Young And Old,’ Philip Pullman

The Amber Spyglass,’ Philip Pullman

Death: the deluxe edition,’ Neil Gaiman

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane,’ Neil Gaiman

The 32 Stops,’ Danny Dorling

Once In A Lifetime: the extraordinary story of the new york cosmos,’ Gavin Newsham

Religion For Atheists,’ Alain de Botton

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Books Read, August 2013

The Jungle,’ Upton Sinclar

God Probably Doesn’t Exist,’ Patrik Lindenfors

I Will Not Never Ever Eat A Tomato: featuring charlie and lola,’ Lauren Child

I Am Too Absolutely Small For School: featuring charlie and lola,’ Lauren Child

Fox In Socks,’ Dr.Seuss

Darth Vader And Son,’ Jeffrey Brown

Corduroy,’ Don Freeman

A Pocket For Corduroy,’ Don Freeman

If You Give A Dog A Donut,’ Laura Numeroff & Felicia Bond

The Watermelon Seed,’ Greg Pizzoli

Bambi vs Godzilla,’ David Mamet

And Tango Makes Three,’ Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell & Henry Cole

When I Grow Up,’ Al Yankovic & Wes Hargis

My New Teacher And Me,’ Al Yankovic & Wes Hargis

Just My Type,’ Simon Garfield

The Mind: leading scientists explore the brain, memory, personality, and happiness,’ ed.John Brockman

The Areas Of My Expertise,’ John Hodgman

A Spy In The House Of Love,’ Anaïs Nin

The Believer magazine, no.96

Bring Up The Bodies,’ Hilary Mantel

In His Own Write,’ John Lennon

The Butcher Boy,’ Patrick McCabe

Quiet,’ Susan Cain

The 32 Stops,’ Danny Dorling

Religion For Atheists,’ Alain de Botton

This Is Not The End Of The Book: two great men discuss our digital future,’ Umberto Eco & Jean-Paul Carrière

The Essential Daivd Shrigley,’ David Shrigley

Penguin By Design: A Cover Story 1935-2005,’ Phil Baines

Puffin By Design: 70 years of imagination, 1940-2010,’ Phil Baines

The Believer magazine, no.95

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My one-man attempt to read (and, indeed, buy), every book in written history continued this month: the total has been chipped away, with thirty books read and ‘only’ twenty-six bought, (although a fair number of those read featured around a dozen pages and a disproportionate amount of pictures). Chalk me up as ‘plus four’ for the month.

Kids’ books featured heavily, as I was co-opted into my niece’s night-time reading sessions in Brooklyn, NY: the ‘Charlie and Lola‘ series are fantastic with their quirky, kid-inspired grammatical structures, (“I will not ever never…”, “I am too absolutely…”), and it was fun to read the semi-sane rhyming thoughts of parodic songster ‘Weird’ Al Yankovic, but nothing beats a good Dr.Seuss, (although hearing a 4-year-old recite ‘The Watermelon Seed‘ by heart is something special).

Cartoons also helped me boost my numbers this month, and not solely kids’ cartoons: John Lennon‘s surreal little collection, ‘In His Own Write,’ featured a number of bizarre scribblings, but I was thrilled to pick up a copy of drawings and art by one of my favourite, twisted artists, David Shrigley, the man behind this wonderful piece of silliness:

220px-PetSoundsCoverOne last major feature of this month’s reading was design. Firstly, I had easyjet-logomore fun than anyone has a right to reading a book on the history and use of fonts. Yes, the shape of letters. ‘Just My Type‘ was informative, eye-opening, and amusing: did you know Coldplay use the same font on their CDs as London street signs? Or that easyJet revived a font made famous by The Beach Boys’ ‘Pet Sounds’?

Puffin+logo1231886_300Most fun of all was reminiscing about my childhood, reading the story behind the design of Penguin and Puffin book covers in Pshil Baines‘ gorgeous, over-sized histories of the two companies which played such an important part in my book-reading childhood. I have a strong feeling that could be a topic for another blog…

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9780143039587h 6872377-MGudFinnsNogInteFramsida Tomato_1_305_333_80 i-am-too-absolutely-small-for-school-charlie-and-lola_3  images-1 9780140503524dogdonut ContentImage-1823-239502-Picture1 fox-in-socks  just+my+type 400000000000000456432_s4 The-Areas-of-My-Expertise-by-John-Hodgman a-spy-in-the-house-of-love-penguin-modern-classics 27mantel "Bringing Up the Bodies" by Hilary Mantel THE-BELIEVER_96 John-Lennon-In-His-Own-Write-158157 quietcover1 danny-dorling-the-32-stops images Screen-shot-2012-10-01-at-10.29.47-AM puffin-by-design penguin_by_design.large 201301 cover1 9780061926914 9781847679604_37 300px-Tangopenguinthe-butcher-boy-978033032874607 Darth_Vader_and_Son

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2013 in BOOKS

 

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