Penguin Mini Modern Classics


Every once in a while you chance upon something that meets your needs and your wants. I found this in the Penguin Mini Modern Classics series. It all started with Eileen Chang’s Red Rose, White Rose. Some of you may already know my love affair with Penguin, but when I saw that small little book, I fell irrevocably in love. Small enough to carry around to read, short enough to finish in a day (or less) and fifty of the best short fiction to pick from. There’s nothing to not like about this series. And so I’ve embarked to search for all of them (in the trusty library) and  to widen my reading horizons book by book. Reviews of each book will be linked back here when I get around to reviewing them. In the mean time, here’s a short history about this series as well as the list of books.

Penguin Modern Classics were launched in 1961, and have been shaping the reading habits of generations ever since.

The list began with distinctive grey spines and evocative pictorial covers – a look that, after various incarnations, continues to influence their current design – and with books that are still considered landmark classics today.

Penguin Modern Classics have caused scandal and political change, inspired great films and broken down barriers, whether social, sexual of the boundaries of language itself. They remain the most provocative, groundbreaking, exciting and revolutionary works of the last 100 years (or so).

In 2011, on the fiftieth anniversary of the Modern Classics, we’re publishing fifty Mini Modern Classics: the very best short fiction by writers ranging from Beckett to C0nrad, Nabokov to Saki, Updike to Wodehouse. Though they don’t take long to read, they’ll stay with you long after you turn the final page.

– Excerpt taking from the last page of the Mini Modern Classics

List of books can be seen at: the official Penguin website as well as The Telegraph which includes a short write-up on the authors.

And to see which books I’ve read and reviewed, I’ve included the list of books here, just click on the book to see the review.

Ryunosuke Akutagawa Hell Screen

Kingsley Amis Dear Illusion

Saul Bellow Him with His Foot in His Mouth

Donald Barthelme Some of Us Had Been Threatening Our Friend Colby

Samuel Beckett  The Expelled

Jorge Luis Borges  The Window Ching – Pirate

Paul Bowles The Delicate Prey

Italo Calvino  The Queen’s Necklace

Albert Camus The Adulterous Woman

Truman Capote Children on Their Birthdays

Angela Carter  Bluebeard

Raymond Chandler Killer in the Rain

Eileen Chang Red Rose, White Rose

G.K. Chesterton  The Strange Crime of John Boulnois

Joseph Conrad Youth

Robert Coover Romance of the Thin Man and the Fat Lady

Isak Dinesen Babette’s Feast

Margaret Drabble The Gifts of War

Han Fallada Short Treatise on the Joys of Morphinism

F. Scott Fitzgerald Babylon Revisited

Ian Fleming The Living Daylights

E.M. Forster The Machine Stops

Shirley Jackson The Tooth

Henry James  The Beast in the Jungle

M.R. James Canon Alberic’s Scrap-Book

James Joyce Two Gallants

Franz Kafka In the Penal Colony

Rudyard Kipling ‘They’

D.H. Lawrence Odour of Chrysanthemums 

Primo Levi The Magic Paint

H.P Lovecraft The Colour Out of Space

Malcolm Lowry Lunar Caustic

Carson Mccullers Wunderkind

Katherine Mansfield Bliss

Robert Musil Flypaper

Vladimir Nabokov Terra Incognita

R.K. Narayan A Breath of Lucifer

Frank O’Connor The Cornet-Player Who Betrayed Ireland

Dorothy Parker The Sexes

Ludmilla Petrushevskaya Through the Wall

Jean Rhys La Grosse Fifi

Saki Filboid Studge, the Story of a Mouse That Helped

Issac Bashevis Singer The Last Demon

William Trevor The Mark-2 Wife

John Updike Rich in Russia

H.G. Wells The Door in the Wall

Eudora Welty Moon Lake

P.G. Wodehouse The Crime Wave at Blandings

Virginia Woolf  The Lady in the Looking-Glass

Stefan Zweig Chess

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