(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘paperback

“Oh, I am fortune’s fool!”*…


Something on your mind?  Ask the (interactive version of) xkcd’s oracle

* Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet


As we plan accordingly, we might recall, with gratitude, that it was on this date in 1935 that Alan Lane released the first ten titles in the Penguin paperback book series.  At the time a junior player at a publisher called Bodley Head, he was frustrated by the lack of affordable contemporary literature.  He wanted to offer cheap, quality books through outlets like railway stations and newsagents as well as traditional bookshops– to make good books accessible.  So his volumes were priced at 6 pence each, while the typical hardcover book sold for 7 and 8 shillings.  The experiment was a huge success: within a year, Penguin had sold 3 million paperbacks; skeptics– there were many (an earlier experiments in paperbacks in Germany had fizzled)– had been proved wrong; and Lane launched Penguin as a standalone publisher.

The original Penguins are an eclectic mix – a biography of Shelley, a Hemingway classic, a novel set in a pub, a novel about an old lady, two mysteries, an autobiography, and three more rather romantic novels– by authors both still widely read (Hemingway, Dorothy Sayers, Agatha Christie) and not so well remembered (e.g., Mary Webb, E.H. Young, Susan Ertz).

Today, 80 years later, more than 600 million paperbacks are sold annually worldwide.

The First Ten Penguins, 1985 reprint box set




Written by (Roughly) Daily

July 30, 2015 at 1:01 am

Lurid is as lurid does…


Readers can craft their own sensational pulp novel covers (your correspondent’s first essay, above) at Pulp-O-Mizer.

[TotH to Richard Kadrey, whose example your correspondent follows in this, as in so many things…]

For inspiration, readers can browse Steven Brower’s wondrous Breathless Homicidal Slime Mutants- the Art of the Paperback.


As we prepare to turn the page, we might send glamorous birthday greetings to Sári Gábor, better known in the U.S. as Zsa Zsa Gabor; she was born on this date in 1917… or so the preponderance of sources suggest.  While the month and day of her birth are agreed, other sources suggest the year was 1918, 1919, or 1920.  Ms. Gabor has not been forthcoming on the question.

Crowned Miss Hungary in 1936, Gabor emigrated to the U.S. five years later, and began a career as an actress.  But while she had some success in supporting roles on stage and in films, her celebrity was as a socialite and as a frequent visitor to the altar.  She has been married nine times.  She is the second of three sisters:  her elder sister, Magda was a socialite; her younger sister, Eva, an actress and businesswoman.  Together, they were known as “The Gabor Girls”– in the words of Merv Griffin, “glamor personified… All these years later, it’s hard to describe the phenomenon of the three glamorous Gabor girls and their ubiquitous mother. They burst onto the society pages and into the gossip columns so suddenly, and with such force, it was as if they’d been dropped out of the sky.”

A man in love is incomplete until he is married. Then he is finished.

I am a marvellous housekeeper. Every time I leave a man I keep his house.

A girl must marry for love, and keep on marrying until she finds it.



Written by (Roughly) Daily

February 6, 2013 at 1:01 am

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