Penguin Books’ Great Ideas Series: VanderMeer Versus the Classics, 60 Books in 60 Days, Starting in December

(The Predator: outgunned and overmatched but still fighting…)

Many thanks to Penguin Books and in particular Colin Brush for sending me the entire 60-book set of Penguin’s Great Ideas series. Not only are these classics, they’re presented in gorgeous designs.

So here’s the skinny: I’ve set myself the daunting challenge of reviewing all 60 books in the Great Ideas series, one a day, every day from December 13th until I’m done. I’ll read one book each night before bed and then blog about it the next day. (Granted, some of these I’ve encountered before.) A short review, a quote from the book, and a question posed to readers based on my reading of the book. 60 books. 60 days. Will I go mad from the weight of this? Will my reviews more resemble the ravings of the obsessed by book thirty or forty? Tune in to find out. And…Bring it on!

Brush also sent the first ten in their new line of horror novels, published as part of the Red Classics series. (More on them in a separate post before December.) These are beautiful books, some of which I haven’t read before.

A few more photos below the cut (whole set here.)


  1. says

    I’m scared to even read the reviews…

    “O, that way madness lies; let me shun that;
    No more of that.”

    … well, actually, I want the books. Damn it. I’m going to have to buy the whole damn series.

  2. says

    Your head will explode! (I’m stocking up on bandages to send now…)

    I’ve got the first 12 or so of the blue-spined Penguins and like them a lot for their aesthetics, though I haven’t yet gotten around to reading any of the ones I wasn’t already familiar with.

  3. Bryan Russell says

    Oh boy. If I actually had any money the fact that you posted that horror series would be getting me in some serious trouble…

  4. says

    I predict this will go the way of ‘Super Size Me’. You will be throwing up inside the first few days, then gain a massive amount of weight. From now on all your fiction will feature scenes where Adam Smith and Ralph Waldo Emerson engage in knife fights with Nietzsche spurring them on.

  5. Jeff VanderMeer says

    Grant: I wouldn’t be surprised.

    Larry: I have extras of two of them. Happy to send them to you.


  6. Jeff VanderMeer says

    Will do, Larry.

    Timblynod–ha! It might be. But I really feel that it’ll be kind of refreshing. And rejuvenating.

  7. says

    Sounds like something I’d be crazy enough to do.

    And who knows what ideas you might come up with while you’re doing it?

    Best of luck, and I hope it works out for the best!