In my spotlight series, I like to share the love for some fantastic bookish things, and today it’s the turn of one of my favourite book editions to collect, the Little Black Classics from Penguin. These pocket-sized classics were first released to mark the 80th anniversary of the publisher: 80 books to celebrate their 80th birthday, each one costing just 80p. Clever, huh? The series proved so popular that they’ve since expanded the collection considerably, meaning there’s all the more to hunt out and collect.
There are lots of reasons why I love them. Firstly, there’s the simple but effective design, and how well they complement each other when lined up on a shelf. We’re all suckers for a pretty bookshelf, after all. Secondly, there’s the great value for money, with each of the books costing either 80p, £1 or £2, depending on its length, meaning they offer a great little bang for your buck (and that they would make perfect stocking stuffers for the festive season).
Thirdly, there’s the fact that their compact nature makes them an excellent way to try out a classic author’s style before you dive into one of their epic, 500-page tomes, with a fantastic mix of both iconic writers (Austen, Wells, Brontë, Dickens, etc.) and lesser-known, hidden gems featured. Last but not least, there’s the wonderfully eclectic mix of forms and genres that can be found, including short stories, novellas, letters, diary extracts, essays and poetry, amongst others, meaning there’s hopefully something for everyone.
So far, I have 31 Little Black Classics in my collection, which I’ve listed below, but I certainly plan to keep adding to it over time.
The Lifted Veil by George Eliot
Matilda by Mary Shelley
Daphnis and Chloe by Longus
The Sandman by E.T.A. Hoffmann
The Suffragettes by Various
The Sea Raiders by H.G. Wells
The World is Full of Foolish Men by Jean de la Fontaine
A Slip Under the Microscope by H.G. Wells
Come Close by Sappho
The Fall of Icarus by Ovid
Miss Brill by Katherine Mansfield
The Robber Bridegroom by Brothers Grimm
A Pair of Silk Stockings by Kate Chopin
The Night is Darkening Round Me by Emily Brontë
Lips Too Chilled by Matsuo Bashō
How Much Land Does a Man Need by Leo Tolstoy
Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti
The Figure in the Carpet by Henry James
The Reckoning by Edith Wharton
The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
The Beautiful Cassandra by Jane Austen
A Hippo Banquet by Mary Kingsley
The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe
The Terrors of the Night by Thomas Nashe
The Tinder Box by Hans Christian Anderson
Olalla by Robert Louis Stevenson
Woman Much Missed by Thomas Hardy
How to Use Your Enemies by Baltasar Gracián
A Cup of Sake Beneath the Cherry Trees by Kenkō
Wailing Ghosts by Pu Songling
The Saga of Gunnlaug Serpent-tongue by Anonymous
Do you have any Little Black Classics? Which have been your favourites so far?